Professor Marga Vicedo (IHPST) has published a new book entitled Intelligent love: the story of Clara Park, her autistic daughter and the myth of the refrigerator mother (Beacon Press).
Intelligent Love examines the history of autism in the US through the story of Clara Park and her daughter Jessica. Clara Park was the first layperson who challenged the widespread view among psychiatrists and psychologists that cold, intellectual mothers pushed their children into autism. Park contested that view and called for parents’ experiences to be recognized as legitimate source of expertise. She also became an activist fighting for education and support for autistic people. In her writings, Park addressed issues of long standing interest to historians of science such as the nature of evidence, the separation of the emotions and the intellect, the value of narrative accounts and experiential knowledge in medicine, and the importance of collaboration between medical experts and disabled people and their families.