Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Herbert A. Kahn

Autism Light #276 is Herbert A. Kahn.

Herbert A. Kahn passed away at age 80 on September 29, 2005. He was from both Boynton Beach, Florida and Mahwah, New Jersey. Herbert A. Kahn is an Autism Light for being a founder of autism organizations that were important in the early history of autism diagnosis. He was part of a small group who along with Bernard Rimland and Ruth Sullivan founded the National Society for Autistic Children (now the Autism Society of America). He was also a founder of the New Jersey Center for Outreach and Services for the Autism Community (now Autism New Jersey). You can read Herbert A. Kahn's family placed obituary online at Legacy.com. Herbert Kahn will be added to the Autism Light Memorial Roll today and join other autism heroes who are at rest.

The Six Letter Word blog paints a picture of the founding of the National Society for Autistic Children (now the Autism Society of America) in an Autism Profile on Herbert Kahn.
He promoted autism awareness starting in 1965, when little was known about autism and families affected by autism had scant hope for happiness or understanding.  During that time, it was believed that autism was a severe emotional disturbance caused by poor parenting, not the neurological disorder we know it is today. It’s difficult enough to learn for the first time that your child will be challenged his or her whole life by autism. But the belief of that era – that you as a parent caused your child’s autism – must have been devastating.  I’m impressed that Mr. Kahn and his wife Rosalyn were one of the many families who read Dr. Bernard Rimland’s book INFANTILE AUTISM, which refuted this parenting theory and instead advanced the theory that autism was an organic disability. Dr. Rimland and Ruth Sullivan organized the first meeting of the NSAC, which was held in Herbert and Rosalyn Kahn’s home. That meeting gave the founding parents hope for a better future for their children and spread that hope to countless other families over many years (Source).
Education: Herbert Kahn earned his bachelor's degree from Indiana University.

Military Service: Herbert Kahn served in the Navy during World War II.

Career: For 50 years, Herbert Kahn was the owner and principal of J.L. Kahn & Sons, Inc. and was a manufacturers representative in the food service industry.

Autism Work: Herbert A. Kahn was a leader for autism and improved the lives of children with autism in New Jersey and beyond through his work in three important bodies.
  • In 1965 he was one of the founders of the National Society for Autistic Children (now the Autism Society of America).
  • He was a founder and Board member of the New Jersey Center for Outreach and Services for the Autism Community (now Autism New Jersey)
  • He was a member of the Bergen County Board of Special Services of Bergen County, New Jersey.
Herbert A. Kahn was survived by his daughters "Ellen Kahn Rampell and Laura Kahn; a son, Jerry; a brother, Richard; and three grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife of 44 years, Roslyn T. Kahn. A funeral service was held at Beth-El Cemetery in Westwood, NJ on October 2, 2005 (Source)."

We remember Herbert A. Kahn today and all his work for autism. May his legacy continue to inspire others to give of themselves for the cause of autism.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

Note: If you liked this article you may wish to read an earlier post on Dr. Bernard Rimland who was Autism Light #90.

1 comment:

  1. Herbert and Roslyn Kahn were wonderful parents. I had the privilege of watching them interact with their severely autistic son, Jerry, when I worked for Herb from 1978 through 1980, and again from 1983 through 1987. I learned a lot about thoroughness, persistence, and dedication from Mr. Kahn, not only by listening to his instructions at work, but by listening to the love in his voice when he described their family's journey from Jerry's diagnosis through his young adulthood. I didn't always appreciate my boss back then, but I feel such pride anytime I see him honored now.