Background to my interest in teaching children with autism

PSYCHOTHERAPY BEYOND THE FRINGE, continued
A Rainbow Rainfall
But the experience with Sabrina opened other doors too. One of these doors led to another procedure which was developed for Sarah. Sarah was involved in long-term, intensive psychotherapy with her psychiatrist. She was not admitted to the Behaviour Therapy Unit. Felicity became involved in an accessory way after he obtained a strange finding when asked to do some psychological tests on Sarah. The strange finding may be worth describing first.
On one of the cards on the Rorschach, Sarah did a very unusual thing. She displayed a response pattern which would suggest that she was particularly prone to be defensive in responding to the reality of the real world. At the very least, this finding would suggest that she was experiencing some conflict about handling the reality of the real world, defensively becoming preoccupied with ‘less than real’ events or things. Even Felicity understands that this kind of psychological mumbo-jumbo, although it ought to mean something, wouldn’t make much sense to any real person. He had seen this type of reaction in Rorschachs occasionally in the past, each time from a patient who was thought to be schizophrenic, but who did not exhibit the usual signs of ‘deterioration’ of functioning over time.
When Felicity went to talk over his findings with Sarah’s psychiatrist, he was not sure he would be able to make much sense out of them. He bumbled through various ways of trying to say what he thought it was he was trying to say. The psychiatrist, a remarkably sensitive person, brightened almost at once when Felicity started to talk. When she got a chance to get a word in, she said: “I think you’re right. For Sarah, fantasy is reality, and reality is fantasy.” The Rorschach reaction could hardly have been expressed better. Of course, the question was not one of how to express the problem, but one of how to treat it.

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