Background to my interest in teaching children with autism

Felicity was unable to find any other source or reason for her high level of guilt and distress, which seemed to underlie the decompensation and regression that the tests had revealed. His primitive grasp of the world offered him no available solution to this lady’s ‘schizophrenic’ problem – that is, other than finding a way to help her unlearn the habitual tremor. On practical grounds, the latter seemed like the easier condition to treat.
He found a report by Eysenck, which used Hull’s hypothetical construct concerning the accumulation of reactive inhibition with continuous response evocation, as a means by which to measure motivation. And it was even suggested that the construct of conditioned inhibition could be used to account for the effects of negative practice on certain symptomatic habits.
These last two sentences translate into English as follows: The one guy (Hull) made up a guess that you get tired if you keep doing the same thing without rest; and the other guy (Eysenck) used that made up guess as a basis for measuring motivation (it doesn’t say how). The second guy (Eysenck) also suggested that learning the habit of being too tired to do something you have done a lot, could account for the fact that, if you keep practising forever a habit you don’t want to do, it eventually stops happening, This idea sounded to Felicity like the very thing he was looking for.
Although the idea is really quite simple, it can be made to sound quite complicated. The drawing shows a picture of how it works. If you continue to do anything without ANY rest for a long enough time, your muscles will tire out. At some point in time you will no longer be able to continue the action. That is, the action will stop. Now you may think it is the muscles which tire out making it impossible to continue the action. Based on the fact that fatigue of the nerve impulse occurs faster than that of the muscle response, Hull argued that it was the nerves (which coordinate the muscle response) which tire out. He called the resulting stoppage of the nerve output ‘reactive inhibition’.

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