Our story so far

To celebrate our 50th birthday, we've put together a timeline of key events in the history of The National Autistic Society.

From our first meeting of parents and Helen Allison's appearance on the BBC's Women's Hour, to the opening of our first school and the passing of the Autism Act, we're excited to have been making a difference for 50 years.;xNLx;;xNLx;Find out more at ;xSTx;a href="http://www.autism.org.uk/50";xETx;www.autism.org.uk/50;xSTx;/a;xETx;

1943. Autism first described as a condition

Leo Kanner describes autism as a distinct condition in his paper 'Autistic disturbances of affective contact'.

1944. Asperger syndrome recognised

Austrian paediatrician Hans Asperger describes a condition later known as 'Asperger syndrome'.

1961. Women's Hour talk on autism

Helen Allison appears on the BBC’s Women’s Hour to talk about how autism affects her son, Joe.

1962. First meeting of founding parents

A group of parents come together to start what will later be called The National Autistic Society.

1963. First NAS logo developed

The first NAS logo was designed by a parent member of the Executive Committee, Gerald Gasson, and used the symbol of a puzzle piece.

1962. First Parliamentary question on autism

The first Parliamentary question about autism was asked by Mr William Compton Carr to Education Minister Sir Edward Boyle.

1964. First professional publicity campaign

The first publicity campaign organised by a team of professional experts for the society launched at the end of 1964.

1965. Sybil Elgar School opens

We open our first school called The Society School for Autistic Children, later renamed Sybil Elgar School.

1972. First autism conference

The first ever three-day conference took place in Pontins Wick Ferry Holiday in Christchurch, Dorset.

1977. Genetic link to autism established

The first systematic study of twins with autism is published by Dr Susan Folstein and Professor Michael Rutter.

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