POV - Season 15, Episode 4 - Rotten Tomatoes

Refrigerator Mothers

EPISODE:

Episode Info

In "Refrigerator Mothers," seven mothers of autistic children born in the 1950s and '60s describe the burdens caused by their being blamed for their offsprings' autism at a time when it was believed that the neurological disorder was caused by maternal coldness (hence the term "refrigerator mother"). The hour also explores how the blame-the-mother theory took hold (its major proponent was legendary developmental psychologist Bruno Bettelheim), and how it was gradually disproved.

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