Timeline: The Politics & Marketing Behind The Autism Epidemic

A timeline that looks at the politics and marketing behind the ‘autism epidemic’ that created the booming autism market we know today.

Included in the timeline are press releases, media interviews, newsletters, articles, videos, podcasts and more. The entries are color-coded to show their category whether politics, legislation, marketing, and so on.

The autism community and the Autistic community are included. You can see Autistic activists work, organizations and initiatives in gold.

This timeline is a companion to the Inventing & Then Cashing In On The Autism Epidemic series.

Timeline: Early Years | 80s | 90s | 00s | 10s | 20s

Autism Politics & Initiatives

The Autism Market

Grants , Funded Projects & Money Raised


Marketing & Media Attention

Organizations & Companies

Autistic Community & Allies

3 responses to “Timeline: The Politics & Marketing Behind The Autism Epidemic”

  1. When does the EARLY YEARS timeline begin?

    Probably well before 1943/1944 [and 1938 is when Kanner began *his* research – and Sukhareva in the 1920s at least/at earliest].

    Then I think there was Samuel Gridley Howe [and my time machine is going backwards]. It is going to the 1860s-1890s.

    Then I think of Langdon Down – he also seemed to know autistic people well and to respect some of them. [Savants – but not only].

    I love all the colours!

    It’s a well-equipped history chart.

    Also I think of the Minnesota Developmental Disabilities Council – and the University of Oregon has lots of well-focused essays on Autistic History and autism history – the UoO has one of my favourites which is about Jessy Park.

    [Jessy Park and her golf counter – there was a really good book and/or reference – INTELLIGENT LOVE – I would tell people to read that book or listen to a radio programme which was broadcast on an Australian public broadcaster].

    Right now I am wanting to follow the plum and the forest green sections of the chart.

    As well as PIVOTAL of course which would be a good start for others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m still adding to the timeline, and learning lots I hadn’t known before. I really appreciate your comments. I still have so much to learn.

      I’m glad the colors are working then. I wasn’t sure if it would help others – I don’t have a formal education so I wasn’t sure if I wasn’t perhaps missing a better way I didn’t know about yet on a chart like this. Glad the colors are working out. (And I love color collections so might be a bit of that involved too.)

      I will seek that book and read 🙂 plus add more to the timeline – I will follow up on these early years and add them. Thank you for sharing. 🙂 ❤

      🙂 🙂


      • There is a lot to learn and, believe me, I am doing it too!

        As I hope are a lot of the readers [and Facebookers and Tweeters and those who encounter INTERNATIONAL BADASS ACTIVISTS – which I still remember when it was “only” American Badass Activists].

        Other good chart-y ways include GANTT charts.

        [and HERE I go and defer to people who know how to present and make this type of thing accessible for Web use and mobile phone responsiveness!]

        And Ashia Ray of BOOKS FOR LITTLES fame promotes this app which is good for organisation charts and for timelines.

        [I learnt this sort of working from Microsoft Project and indeed more generally through spreadsheets and databases especially through IT applications].

        It has been a while since they have written about it and it did not touch something in my memory hole.

        And then there are all those articles for the Luminary Brain Trust which so far I am not part of.

        But I do remember seeing lots of March Madness-type charts [sporting pools more generally – and also the medicine recruitment].

        Ray’s current work is on the Raising Luminaries podcast and also some workshops in the northern summer and autumn for parents and families.

        Also she has kyriarchy-smashing resources for 6 to 9 year olds – and if you have grandchildren in that rough age range – or anyone of any age who is interested in Smashing the Kyriarchy through books.

        FIERCE AUTIE covers a lot of this material – thank you Aviva Seigler.


        That beginning with the Wikipedia article for Applied Behavioural Analysis in the Early Years section.

        Neurodiversity.com had so many primary sources [thanks Kathleen Seidel and people associated with that website] around that time and that period. They now live in the Web Archive and probably in libraries the world over.

        I find the darker gem colours don’t jump around so much as some of the lighter pastel ones might.

        That is a point of design.

        I recall, too, that GANTT is for the future rather than the past very often and it is quite a military use

        [like plotters in the Seventies and Eighties when they would make these super-big graphs – the sort which were printed on computer paper].


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