The purpose of this essay is to illustrate how the phenomenon of early childhood autism may cast light on issues that are central to our Understanding Of Normal Child Development - Issues Such As The Emotional origins of social experience and social understanding, the contribution of interpersonal relations to the genesis of symbolism and creative thought, and the role of intersubjectivity in the development of self. Drawing upon philosophical writings as well as empirical research on autism, the author challenges the individualistic and cognitive bias of much developmental psychology, and argues that early human development is founded upon a normal infant's capacity for distinct forms of "I - Thou" and "I - It" relatedness. To a large degree, autism may represent the psycho-pathological sequelae to biologically-based incapacities for social perception and interpersonal engagement.
'… the author presents a new and intriguing theory of human development…This book requires attention from all those interested in the theoretical basis of normal child development and especially those who also have an interest in autism…this is a valuable and thought provoking account. It challenges contemporary theories of child psychology and is sure to stimulate further discussion in the literature.' - John Swettenham, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Preface. Prolegomena. The Picture of Autism. Interpersonal Relatedness I: The Normal Infant. Interpersonal Relatedness II: The Case of Autism. The Growth of Interpersonal Understanding. Conceptual Issues I: On Understanding Minds. Conceptual Issues II: On Thought and Language. Thought and Language: The Case of Autism. The Development of Mind and the Case of Autism.
Essays in Developmental Psychology is designed to meet the need for rapid publication of brief volumes in developmental psychology.
The series defines developmental psychology in its broadest terms and covers such topics as social development, cognitive development, developmental neuropsychology and neuroscience, language development, learning difficulties, developmental psychopathology and applied issues.
Each volume in the series makes a conceptual contribution to the topic by reviewing and synthesizing the existing research literature, by advancing theory in the area, or by some combination of these missions.
Authors in this series provide an overview of their own highly successful research program, but they also include an assessment of current knowledge and identification of possible future trends in research.
Each book is a self-contained unit supplying the advanced reader with a coherent review of important research as well as its context, theoretical grounding and implications.