Friday, July 2, 2010

The Principle of Perspective Part One

Thought, desire and feelings. How do they integrate? I never dreamed this would be something I would give a second thought too. My world changed after my son was Dx with Autism. Like many, I was told my children ( I have two with ASD) would never lead a normal life, and need to be placed in an institution, This was my first sense that convention wisdom when it came to Autism had a long way to go in understanding what Autism * is*. I also discovered that while mainstream medicine needed an update, there were many cutting edge developmental scientists and Doctors that were leading the way to greater understanding. I am finally at a point where I see that we are ALL trying to unravel Autism and how to effectively help children live a quality of life that they want!

This is what is leading me to concentrate the next month or so in reviewing the Book * The Cradle of thought* by Peter Hobson. I read this book a few years ago, and I found this book helped me to understand what I needed to focus on with my children, as this book is one of the dozen that Dr Steven Gutstein used to help all children on the spectrum through Relationship Development Intervention ® .

Fast forward a few years later, both my children are doing fabulous and they have effectively returned to their own developmental tracks in development. My youngest is not with his peers yet, but he will be…. And they both are able to share perspective and understand social cues ( theory of mind)

Back to thought, desire and feelings. These are the foundations to subjective perspective in infancy. In turn, this subjective perspective matures into taking on another’s perspective.

Taken from a book by Peter Walsh PhD- “No, and ways parents can say it”

A fascinating experiment helped map this change. A group of toddlers at fourteen months and then eighteen months were presented with raw broccoli and Goldfish crackers and then asked to share. As the author Malcolm Gladwell explained in a January 10, 2000 article in The NewYorker:

Some years ago, the Berkeley psychology professor Alison Gopnik and one of her students, Betty Repacholi, conducted an experiment with fourteen-month-old toddlers. Repacholi showed the babies two bowls of food, one filled with Gold¬fish crackers and one filled with raw broccoli. All the babies, naturally, preferred the crackers. Repacholi then tasted the two foods, saying "yuck" and making a disgusted face at one and saying "yum" and making a delighted face at the other. Then she pushed both bowls toward the babies, stretched out her hand, and said, "Could you give me some?"

When she liked the crackers, the babies gave her crack¬ers. No surprise there. But when Repacholi liked the broccoli and hated the crackers, the babies were presented with a diffi¬cult philosophical issue—that different people may have dif¬ferent, even conflicting, desires. The fourteen-month-olds couldn't grasp that. They thought that if they liked crackers everyone liked crackers, and so they gave Repacholi the crackers, despite her expressed preferences. Four months later, the babies had, by and large, figured this principle out, and when Repacholi made a face at the crackers they knew enough to give her the broccoli.

Toddlers are not doing things parents don't want them to do JUST to be contrary. They are exploring this newly discovered difference between themselves and others.

Now that we see when theory of mind starts to emerge….we can look at Autism, and that lack of emergence, and ask… What happened? What was the cause of how the brain was deprived from this typical growth of thinking?

We know genetics could play a role. We know that our environment and the toxins a child is exposed to could play a role. We also know that it could be a combination of both and that each child’s tipping point that lead to the brain deprivation in development is unique. We know that there is regressive Autism and Infantile Autism. We will be exploring all these possibilities, going over Peter Hobson’s “The cradle of thought” and talking about effective interventions and why they are effective. I hope that you find this series in my blog helpful.

Since I am not a medical Doctor, Dr. Bob Sears will join me in part two to discuss some Bio-medical information regarding Autism.



  1. looking forward to your series

  2. Now you got me wanting to do the crackers and broccoli test with Pamela! LOL