Establishing communication with people on the autistic spectrum or those with profound learning disabilities and sometimes distressed behaviour
Phoebe Caldwell Pavilion, 2012
In the 1970’s, Carl Delecato wrote a book about autism called The Ultimate Stranger. I still like that title. In what is a very personal book, Delecato comes to the conclusion that autism far from being the result of austere and damaging parenting is of neurological origin. Following on from this (at the time) revolution in thinking, he also concluded that the unusual mannerisms and behaviours in autism had a physiological basis - they were ways to instigate, modulate or control experience.
Much in the same way the work of Phoebe Caldwell (this current offering is kind of three books in one) has given us a simple, revolutionary way to understand and engage with the inner world of the person with autism. More - she has given us a simple but amazing ‘hyperdrive’ which allows us to teleport into autistic experience and make ‘emotional connections’. Caldwell uses Intensive Interaction and innovative communication techniques to ‘tune in to people on the spectrum’. It’s a technique that’s easy for parents and practitioners to learn - you certainly don’t have to be an expert. It starts with listening.
Caldwell’s new book makes use of very ‘everyday’ case studies to illustrate and stimulate our thinking and approach to autism. It’s a very practical handbook of ideas and strategies covering topics like sensory overload, emotional overload, the ‘time’ problem, the choices ‘problem’ - but all are covered in an insightful and empathic way that really gets you thinking. Understanding autism from the inside. That’s my kind of revolution.
This review also appears in Learning Disability Today