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Hoxter, S. (1975). Chapter VI: The Residual Autistic Condition and its Effect upon Learning - Piffie. Explorations in Autism: A Psycho-Analytical Study, 162-191.

Hoxter, S. (1975). Chapter VI: The Residual Autistic Condition and its Effect upon Learning - Piffie. Explorations in Autism: A Psycho-Analytical Study, 162-191

Chapter VI: The Residual Autistic Condition and its Effect upon Learning - Piffie Book Information Previous Up Next

Shirley Hoxter

Introduction

The main concern of this chapter will be to study some factors which appear to have impeded or enhanced one particular boy's capacity for growth. Christopher, usually known as ‘Piffie’, commenced psychotherapy with me at the age of three and a quarter years. He attended four times weekly for the most part, until he was eight and a quarter, when treatment was terminated. Two and a half years later his therapy was recommenced and, from eleven until fourteen (his age at the time of writing) he has attended once weekly.

The periods of psychotherapy to be discussed mainly concern the residual effects of an autistic state. Piffie was probably beginning to emerge from this state before he commenced psychotherapy and he shed its more blatant manifestations within the first year of therapy. Nevertheless traces of former autistic features may still be discerned and they continue to have a constricting effect upon his development.

Early History and Background

Christopher is the youngest of three children. At the time of his birth, by Caesarian section, his mother was very anxious, having from her previous experiences reason to fear that he might die. In fact he was a healthy, but a very passive baby, sleeping a great deal and never grasping the nipple or bottle teat sufficiently strongly to suck properly. Milk had to be practically poured into him.

At about two and a half a medical friend drew his parents' attention to his condition. At that time his meaningful contact and response to people and things around him was so meagre that the possibilities of his being deaf or mentally defective were investigated.

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