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Caroline Noone – Autism and Psychoanalysis – Uneasy Bedfellows

 

THE LETTER 28 (Summer 2003) pages 47-79

 

Autism and autistic spectrum disorders are characterised, within the psychiatric framework, by a triad of deficits in the area of communication, social development and restricted and repetitive behaviours and interests. Currently, autism is classified as a pervasive developmental disorder, a term that is intended to cover children and adults who have severe lifelong difficulties in social and communicative skills beyond those accounted for by general intellectual delay. In the psychoanalytical field autism is classified as a childhood psychosis. Those who treat autistic children psychoanalytically, speak of psychogenic, (that is, predominantly psychological causes) and of organic, (that is, predominantly biological causes) autism. They differentiate between the Kanner-type of childhood psychosis and the childhood psychosis that most resembles adult schizophrenia.

Autism and Psychoanalysis – Uneasy Bedfellows

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