Timeline: The Politics & Marketing Behind The Autism Epidemic | The 80s

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

Note: The timeline is still in the process of being updated.

[Last updated January 25, 2023]

Autism Politics & Initiatives

The Autism Market

Grants , Funded Projects & Money Raised


Marketing & Media Attention

Organizations & Companies

Autistic Community & Allies



  • 1987

    Study on Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is published.

    It was suggested that with a comprehensive ABA program of 40 hours a week, about half of Autistic kids were indistinguishable from non-Autistic kids at age 7. — But even within the field, the research has been questioned.

  • 1987

    Bruno Bettelheim was featured in a BBC Horizon documentary in 1987.


  • also included: Ely Center for Adult Learning

  • 1988

    “Rain Man”

    The makers of the movie made a donation of $75,000, intended to go to Rimland’s Autism Research Institute. However, the check was made out to the Autism Society of America in error. Rimland sued to get the money returned, but lost in court because he failed to file the lawsuit in time.


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