POV 1988 | TV Show Watchlist

Season 15, Episode 4 Refrigerator Mothers

First Aired: July 16, 2002

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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  • Premiered: July 5, 1988
  • Rating: None
  • Premise: This acclaimed, long-running documentary series is a showcase for independent films on a wide variety of subjects, from the heartwarming (`Sweet Old Song,' about a 91-year-old musician) to the whimsical (`The Sweetest Sound,' a study of names) to the contr… (more)

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