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The autistic dialogic style: a case of Asperger's syndrome

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In a former study (Fonseca and Bussab, 2006, 'Self, other and dialogical space in autistic states', International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 87:1-16), the author hypothesised that in autistic disorders there is a distortion in the construction of what she defined as dialogic space. Such a space, in which self and other define each other mutually, is the final result of early dyadic transactions. These are characterised by opposing experiences of ongoing regulation, disruption and repair. This sets the basis for both the sense of predictability, the so-called 'me experiences', in Winnicottian terminology, and novelty, the 'not-me experiences'. The balance of these transactions provides the preconditions for the acceptance of otherness, a crucial difficulty in autistic disorders, whose hallmark is considered by some authors to be the inability to accept and deal with otherness. This paper aims to illustrate the peculiar way in which such difficulties are made clear in less severe cases on the autistic spectrum, such as in Asperger's syndrome. The clinical material of a 12-year-old-boy with an uncanny ability to induce drowsiness in the analyst will be presented. My hypothesis is that such a state is the consequence of a dialogic style of forcing agreement inside the dyad, searching exclusively for the already known, as a possible way of avoiding the encounter with otherness.
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Keywords: Asperger's syndrome; Autistic disorders; developmental psychopathology; dialogism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Av. Portugal, SP-Brazil

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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