An Alternative View of Autism Publication date : November 2, 2012
Laurent Danon-Boileau is a therapist working at the Alfred Binet Centre, a linguistics professor at the University of Paris-V and a research fellow at the Laboratory for the Study of Childhood Language Acquisition and Pathologies, at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CRNS).
Autism is the cause of great suffering for the children afflicted with the disorder as well as for their families. Unfortunately, there is no universal, miracle cure. One can, however, try to evaluate the various conflicting theories and therapies. Whatever method is chosen, the autistic child requires treatment urgently.
Drawing on his long experience with autistic patients, both as a psychologist and a linguist, the author untangles language difficulties from autism’s more profound disorders. What can be done to incite the child to exchange and share with others, if he does not enjoy expressing himself and if he hasn’t mastered language? There are no training programmes or drills that will suffice: the child must want to communicate and enjoy doing so. Psychoanalysis, backed by re-education techniques, can be of help.
Besides discussing the various rival theories concerning autism and its causes, the book focuses on the different ways of treating autism depending on the severity of the disorder. He urges the various professional caregivers — speech and psychomotor therapists, ergo-therapists, educators, child psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, etc. — to work together in close association and to forget their petty quarrels.
• Overcome clannish squabbles and concentrate on the children and on how to help them. That is the message of this non-doctrinaire work.
• Understanding autism means unravelling linguistic difficulties from psychic disorders.