Saturday, June 10, 2017

Isabelle Rapin

Autism Light #456 is Dr. Isabelle Rapin.

Isabelle Rapin was a child neurologist and leading authority on autism. She served as a distinguished professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine for over half a century. She was an autism pioneer credited with developing the understanding of autism being a spectrum disorder. Isabelle Rapin was born on December 4, 1927, in Lausanne, Switzerland. Isabelle Rapin passed away from pneumonia on May 24, 2017, in Rhinebeck, New York, at the age of 89. She is survived by her husband Harold Oaklander and four children. She will be placed on the Autism Light Memorial Roll today.

Autism Pioneer: Dr. Thomas Frazier II, the chief science officer of Autism Speaks, said about Isabelle Rapin, "Calling her one of the founding mothers of autism is very appropriate. With the gravity she carried, she moved us into a modern understanding of autism (As quoted in New York Times: June 9, 2017)."

Multiple Causes of Autism: Dr. Mark Mehler, chairman of the department of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said of Isabelle Rapin that, "She would never let us say that autism is a single disorder. She always said there was a thousand different causes (As quoted in New York Times: June 9, 2017)."

Bellevue Hospital Center: In 1953, Isabelle Rapin immigrated to the United States, and began her career working at the Bellevue Hospital Center, now known as NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine: Dr. Isabelle Rapin served as a professor of both Neurology and Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine n New York City from 1958 until her retirement in 2012. On December 19, 2006, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine held an international symposium called "Putting Perspective on Autism" that was held in honor of the life's work of Isabelle Rapin (Medical News Today, December 13, 2006).

Writings: Isabelle Rapin wrote several articles related to autism over her illustrious career that can be found online:

Awards: Isabelle Rapin received the following special awards during her lifetime.

Special Tributes with more Information on Isabelle Rapin: 

Wikipedia: For more information about Isabelle Rapin read her Wikipedia Page.

Special thanks to Isabelle Rapin for her lifelong work with autism. Her promotion of autism as a spectrum disorder is today widely accepted as the norm in discussion of the variety of individuals with autism. The autism community owes a debt of gratitude to Isabelle Rapin for being a pioneer in understanding autism at a time in the last century when less was understood about autism. May others continue on in the work toward understanding autism in memory of Isabelle Rapin.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

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