Sunday, October 24, 2010

Was Louis XVI Autistic?

The claim that Louis XVI may have had Asperger's Syndrome is based solely upon how he was portrayed in the Coppola film. I do not know enough about Asperger's to say. I think that Louis' shyness was due mostly to his upbringing and the events of his childhood rather than to a neurological problem. However, it is interesting to reflect upon. Share


Alexandra said...

I agree. I think Autism is the new diagnosis de jour, just as ADD was in the 70's and 80's.

Matterhorn said...

His early experiences doubtless played a role, but it must also have been something in his temperament (though not necessarily autism). A different personality might have reacted differently to the same circumstances. His daughter was reserved, too, and I doubt that this was solely a result of her traumas. I suspect it was partly her natural disposition, which may have been inherited from her father.

Perhaps there is also a problem of standards? The King was not the perfect, suave Versailles courtier, but how awkward would he seem to us? It is hard to say.

elena maria vidal said...

Alexandra, so true.

Yes, Matterhorn, I think we clumsy folk of the 21st century have little or no idea of the level of refinement demanded by court life. To us, Louis XVI would seem a perfect gentleman, I am sure.

boinky said...

I agree with Alexandra. It's more "pop psychology".

I saw it in my practice, when obviously retarded children came to be treated, and the parents insisted they were merely "autistic".

Now they insist being shy is autistic, or being good at math and computers but shunning parties means you're autistic, or being socially inept is autistic. By mixing the brain damaged with the rich and successful geeks, it allows parent who have to cope some hope, which alas is probably wrong.

As for "treatment", that's bull. True brain damage behavior can be helped by various medicines (e.g. explosive syndrome with anticonvulsants, true ADD with stimulants) but by putting all these various problems into the same "pot", you get more confusion than help. It's like the old days, when post partum depression, bipolar disease, frontal lobe syndrome and schizophrenia were called "schizophrenia" and treated with (of all things) either lobotomy or psychotherapy (neither of which don't work).

You need to diagnose the real problem, not make up a disease, dilute the symptoms to include half the population (to raise money) and then say X is the treatment.

But the "good news" is that unlike the 1950's, we don't blame autism on "cold mothers". So there is some progress.

Mistress said...

Very interesting!