Background to my interest in teaching children with autism


Next, Felicity asked her to close her eyes, and in her mind [in her mind’s eye] to imagine herself floating way up above her time-line, leaving it as a line below her that she could see way off in the distance [with memories from her past stretched off in one direction and her future memories stretching off in another]. Then he asked her to float slowly down over her time-line and back in time until, looking down on her time-line, she reached a point at which she felt good about herself. With some doubt, she selected a time at about 4 years of age. Felicity asked her to drift down into the memory at that point in her time-line, to face the present and to tell him how she felt. She was troubled. On the one hand, she felt comfortable about herself. On the other hand, she felt very sad. Felicity wanted to find out what caused her discomfort, so he asked her to walk forward toward the present along her time-line until she started to feel uncomfortable. At between 5 and 6 years of age she reported feeling very bad.

            Felicity asked her to drift up again way above her time-line, to float over that place, and then to tell him what she had seen there. Her memory was hazy, but she described a normal and quite benign childhood experience in which she became fearful and which engendered guilt feelings in her. The guilt seemed to be based in her strict Catholic up-bringing – mostly because she could not really remember what, if anything, took place. Regardless of what had happened, the strength of her reaction told Felicity that this point in time and this experience were probably fairly critical in forming her strong guilty self-judgements.

But she had been sad even before that point. He wanted to know why. So he asked her drift back again over her time-line until she found a time in which she was no longer sad. She said she had found such a place. He asked her to tell him, if she knew, whether that time was before, during or after birth. She said it was before birth. He asked her where she was before birth. She said she was in her mother’s womb. He asked her to drift down into that time, face the present, and tell him how she felt. She said she felt awful. He asked her to [float] back up [above her time-line and back] along her time line until she no longer felt awful. She said there was never any such time. Felicity asked her to drift up again over her time line and to tell him what she meant by her last statement.

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