Showing posts from January, 2013

The Doors of Apperception

On my commute to and from work, I’m prey to the schedules of BBC Radio 4’s afternoon programming. This is very mixed fare, but the other day I heard a program in the Word of Mouth strand on language and autism. At the centre of the programme was Phoebe Caldwell, who has worked with many autism-spectrum children, and in her idea of ‘intensive interaction’ stressed the idea of ‘listening with all the senses’ or ‘total attention’, an interaction that isn’t based on linguistic communication but on a range of practices.  The difficulty for autistic children, she suggested, was that the processing equipment that human beings generally acquire as part of ‘normal’ development – the ability to filter out the barrage of auditory, visual, semiotic and emotional information which comprises the sensorium of modernity – is not acquired. The implication is that ‘normally’ developed human adults construct a kind of membrane or shell, a distancing or processing system, which enables us to operate wit…