Originally Posted by chickabiddy
I have several sources that cite 1908, but I am not going to bicker over two years, since the point is that it predates vaccines. Even the 1938 date you pulled from Wikipedia predates the MMR commonly cited as a cause of autism.
Looks like you missed what Wikipedia actually said about the use of the word "autism" in 1910:
"The New Latin word autismus (English translation autism) was coined by the Swisspsychiatrist Eugen Bleuler in 1910 as he was defining symptoms of schizophrenia. He derived it from the Greek word autós (αὐτός, meaning self), and used it to mean morbid self-admiration, referring to "autistic withdrawal of the patient to his fantasies, against which any influence from outside becomes an intolerable disturbance".
The word autism first took its modern sense in 1938 when Hans Asperger of the Vienna University Hospital adopted Bleuler's terminology autistic psychopaths in a lecture in German about child psychology. Asperger was investigating an ASD now known asAsperger syndrome, though for various reasons it was not widely recognized as a separate diagnosis until 1981."
You can keep insisting that the existence of the word (even if it originally meant something else) in 1910 (or 1908, if you prefer) proves that autistic people (as we understand autism today) were prevalent then, and that people used the word to describe them thus. But unless you provide a source, there is no reason to believe you, especially since there is evidence to the contrary.
And certainly nobody is denying that cases of mercury poisoning, which cause symptoms overlapping those of autism, happened in 1908 and earlier. Perhaps you should familiarize yourself with acrodynia and "Mad Hatter's Disease."