Read The Siege: A Family's Journey Into the World of an Autistic Child by Clara Claiborne Park Free Online
Book Title: The Siege: A Family's Journey Into the World of an Autistic Child|
The author of the book: Clara Claiborne Park
Edition: Back Bay Books
Date of issue: June 30th 1982
ISBN 13: 9780316690690
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 750 KB
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Reader ratings: 6.3
Read full description of the books:
This book, the story of one family’s attempt to break through what seems to them to be their child’s utter indifference to them, is remarkable both for the mother’s story of her own efforts to engage her child and for her account of her attempts to get help from a community of professionals who seem as baffled as she is by her child’s behavior.
Her progress with her daughter is very slow.. Elly ( the pseudonym for Jessica Park) makes progress at her own pace and she notices and responds to what interests her. She is very attentive to some details ( and has become a remarkable artist) but she is rarely attentive to people. I sometimes got impatient with the narrative but I think that was more indicative of my need for Elly to make more rapid and remarkable progress than it was of any flaw in the prose.
Clara Claiborne Park raised Elly during the era when the supposed etiology of autism was “the refrigerator mother,” a parent who did not want her child and whose demeanor conveyed this to the developing infant. (See Bruno Bettleheim’s “Joey the Mechanical Boy” for the full explanation of this most damaging of theories). Her discomfort at being judged for unnamed flaws is poignantly expressed: “Comfortable, well-educated members of the upper middle class ordinarily escape the experience of depersonalization, of utter helplessness in institutional hands, of reduction to the status of children to whom situations are mediated, not explained. Like so much that hurts, the experience is deeply educational. . We know now in our skins that the most threatening of all attacks is the attack on the sense of personal worth, that the harshest of all deprivations is the deprivation of respect. We know now, I think, how the slum mother feels as the welfare worker comes round the corner. It takes, one would think, so little knowledge of psychology to put oneself in another person's place.”
Attitudes toward autism and its etiology have changed dramatically, but this memoir, originally written in the 1960s is still well worth reading
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Read information about the authorClara Justine Claiborne graduated from Radcliffe College in 1944. She married physicist David Park in 1945, and they both attended the University of Michigan, where she earned a master's degree in 1949, majoring in English literature. They moved to Massachusetts in 1951, where Park taught at Berkshire Community College and then at Williams College, where she was on the faculty from 1975 to 1994.
She and her husband had four children, of whom one, the artist Jessica Park, was autistic. Her book 'The Siege', about Jessica's first eight years, was the first major challenge to the idea that autism was caused by the parents. The followup 'Exiting Nirvana' continued the story of Jessica and her family.