Background to my interest in teaching children with autism

PSYCHOTHERAPY BEYOND THE FRINGE, continued

Chapter 11

                                    Mistaken Diagnoses – Non-Schizophrenia

Introduction – It’s Right to be Wrong

There is always an up-side to everything. It’s so nice that Felicity is wrong most of the time. If he weren’t, he might be one of those insufferable know-it-alls who are so utterly boring, that is, who talk when you wish they would listen. Well, he does that too. Nevertheless, Felicity’s habit of seeing everything wrongly has served him well from time to time. And, recognizing his own tendency to get things wrong has made him almost tolerant of other people’s mistakes. Of course, it might be argued that it is Felicity who has been wrong in recognizing error in other people’s points of view.

Regardless of who is wrong, since this story is about Felicity, we will just have to tolerate his judgements about others’ errors, and accept for the moment that he is right. So, this chapter is about mistakes others have made in reaching some diagnoses. Of course, it may be that the whole volume is about somebody’s mistakes of understanding.

Faintly Saintly

In the days of the old mental hospitals, people got locked up as ‘crazy’ for all sorts of crazy reasons. Ruth was one of these. Barely past her mid-teens, she found herself in the hands of a helping medical profession which had hoodwinked her loving family. She was consigned to a large, ill-kempt but sterile hall lined with cold, sparsely furnished bedrooms each shared among only six women – all of whose lack of consideration for one another and for personal hygiene would have put Attila the Hun to shame. The only sin for which she was afforded this punishment was that she was unduly concerned about her own personal hygiene, about the risk of hurting other people’s feelings, and about expressing herself on anything for fear she might be wrong. She had only one simple goal in life – to be a saint. For this, of course, it was necessary that she be punished.

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