|Budget Amount *help
¥1,900,000 (Direct Cost : ¥1,900,000)
Fiscal Year 1996 : ¥600,000 (Direct Cost : ¥600,000)
Fiscal Year 1995 : ¥1,300,000 (Direct Cost : ¥1,300,000)
38 therapy and counselling sessions with an autistic boy and his mother were conducted. Each session lasted for about 2 hours and was taped recorded. The following results were based on the analyzes of the recorded sessions.
Hypothesis : According to Frith, autistic infants live in a "fragmented world" in which every event happens unexpectedly without any control (Frith, 1989). As long as the world (objects and people) responds in the same, predictable way, autistic children feel safe ; and comfortable. One of the primary sympotoms of autism is the "obsessive desire for sameness and stereotyped behaviors". This is because an autistic child can feel security in the world only by repeating the same behavior.
1) At first, the mother was not able to recognize the anxiety and fear of her child. Since he was engaged in the play with miniature cars with many stereotyped behaviors, and was either without facial expression of anxiety or appeared depressed. Yet it was obvious that he showed fear o
nly toword a vacuum cleaner (as indicated by the increase of the heart rate). After the mother Intepreted this play with miniature cars as above, the attempt to take away the anxiety and fear was continued by the mother holding him and playing with him. As a result, the boy began to acquire the strategy of using the mother as a security base in order to escape from fear. However, the mother felt difficult to form an attachment with him, because she felt that she was only a kind of tool for him and she could not feel the contact as affective.
2) During the therapy, the child began to show affective expressions and began to realize that the mother's expressions had meanings with reference to the current envirnment through the contact between the mother and child in the secure play. Through affective contact, the child found himself as "self", began to show interest in his own image in the mirror, and finally came to consider the mother as an attachment figure.
It is possible for autistic children to obtain affective contact, the innate mean of nonverbal communication, by learning. The most significant finding is the realization that it is important to pull the autistic children out of gthe fragmented world"h, and to store up their experiences in a stable world which their parents can construct.