Wednesday, October 04, 2006

From the Inside Out

Did I mention that Judith Bluestone has autism? I think that is why I have been so drawn to her book. She has the emic and the etic of autism; not only does she understand the experience of autism from the inside out, but she can also explain it within the context of the central nervous system because of her understanding of the subjects of neuropsychology, neurophysiology and neurorehabilitation. She is a neurological translator.

MOM-NOS asked after my last post about Bluestone's take on the Theory of Mind. Rather than paraphrase I copy here a few key sentences:

"I believe that those of us whose sensory-motor experiences are unusual, who cannot sustain our attention as others might on continuous shifts in the nuances of facial and bodily expression of someone in our immediate environment, who cannot allow ourselves the sensations of discomfort or pain to move in ways similar to those of the people around us, and who therefore cannot fathom what other people are feeling beacuse we cannot allow ourselves to feel what we are feeling -- we may not understand what drives another person's behaviors, and therefore we may be deemed to have no Theory of Mind.

However, the other person, in turn, does not understand what drives our behaviors. Is it only because the other is in the majority that we are deemed to be lacking this quality?. ...Why cannot the other -- the adult or child who does not have these abnormal neural messages interfering with his ability to communicate -- why can he not understand my intent?"

I also particularly like what she wrote about what some might call "stimming", especially because it has helped me put into better context some of Oliver's behaviors. She writes: "As a child, I spun the wheel of the tricycle around and around, feeling and seeing how the movement of my arms and the resisance of the pedals affect the rhythmic or dysrhythmic movement of the wheel. I began to build a unity of sensory experience. If I was interrupted before this unity occurred, I needed to revisit the experience. sometimes, just because so many other things in my day had jumbled my senses, I needed to return to the activity that unified them."

I hate to quote and run tonight but one feverish and one teething boy kept me up for most of the night last night and my alarm is set for five thirty in the A M tomorrow because of this intrusive little thing called work. ...


  1. Thanks for posting that. It's very interesting. I'll definitely add her book to my (ever-growing) list!

    Her thoughts about seeking "unity" sound very similar to what Kamran Nazeer (also autistic) described as "local coherence" in Send in the Idiots.

  2. hi!!! look!!! i can comment!!! i'm delirious with excitement!!

    oy! the sleep. i hope the teething subsides and everyone gets a loooong restful night of sleep tonight. i'll be sending the sleepy vibes. and coffee vibes.

    where did you get bluestone's book? i've tried a few places but they were no longer available...

    yes. she had autism. (or has?) she struck me as remarkably fluid, responsive, intuitive, warm, and insightful.

  3. Thank you Christine for that snippet- now I am more interestd than ever in finding this book. When someone can make sense of autism from the unique perspective this author has, I'm ready to learn more.
    Hope you can grab a nap later!

  4. Kyra, I think I just ordered it off the internet. ... amazon, maybe?

  5. Not sure if you got the email I tried to send. Maybe I don't have the right email. Anyway, I am right there with you on Judith Bluestone and will be making a call soon to get our appointment with a HANDLE Practitioner to get Roo started on a program. I am just waiting until things around here are more settled, after we move and all and I figure out finances.

  6. Mamaroo: I JUST sent you a reply! Check your in-box!