Background to my interest in teaching children with autism

Chapter 15
Some of the Pain of Psychologists
Variations on Felicity
Introduction — Why Few ‘Get’ Psychology
Psychology is the most popular university course worldwide. That doesn’t mean that the largest number of people are graduated from universities into the profession of Psychology. No, a rather modest number of people graduate as psychologists. It’s people’s curiosity which leads them to take a Psychology course or two at university. And, of course, those courses are mostly introductory courses, and they don’t really teach students very much.
What such courses sometimes provide for those who are paying attention is a way of understanding how a science and a profession of Psychology are possible. Everybody has some exposure to the ‘hard’ sciences like Physics and Chemistry at secondary school – the disciplines which deal with the ‘spatially-distributed’ things of the physical universe. Everybody has some exposure to the humanities like Languages and History at secondary school, and to computational disciplines like Algebra and Geometry. There may even be an attempt to give secondary school students some exposure to the ‘social sciences’ in courses concerned with family life or man in society. But these courses are token courses and don’t really provide any information about or from the science. They are typically taught by teachers who have received no training in the science and have no idea how a science concerned with ephemeral things or ‘temporally-distributed’ behavioural events is possible. Given that, introductory university courses in Psychology are about at the level of secondary school courses in other fields or disciplines. That is unfortunate. You see, the sciences of the spatially-distributed physical universe, computational disciplines and the humanities all deal with dead things or things of the past. Even medicine and health are largely concerned with dead things. The anatomy and chemistry of the body are virtually the same whether the person is alive or dead. It is not until we reach functioning and motion that we move to the sciences concerned with life and living. And what each of us has which is most precious, and most makes us who and what we are, is life or living. The basic science of life and living is Psychology.

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