Autism is now considered to be one of the most common developmental disorders today, yet 100 years ago the term did not exist. This book examines the historical and social events that enabled autism to be identified as a distinct disorder in the early twentieth century. The author, herself the mother of an autistic child, argues that although there is without doubt a biogenetic component to the condition, it is the social factors involved in its identification, interpretation and remediation that determine what it means to be autistic. Constructing Autism explores the social practices and institutions that reflect and shape the way we think about autism and what effects this has on autistic people and their families. Unravelling what appears to be the ‘truth’ about autism, this informative book steps behind the history of its emergence as a modern disorder to see how it has become a crisis of twenty-first century child development.