From Isolation to Intimacy

AutorCaldwell, Phoebe; Horwood, Jane
PealkiriFrom Isolation to Intimacy : Making Friends without Words
IlmunudLondon : Jessica Kingsley Publishers
ViideCaldwell, Pheobe and Jane Horwood 2007. From Isolation to Intimacy: Making Friends without Words. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

What they all have in common and what the thrust of this book is about is that in a world that is communication-dependent they cannot talk to us and we cannot talk to them. (Caldwell and Horwood 2007: 16)
This is how the authors define people who are non-verbal. To be honest, I've never thought that this term can be used as a label for a group of people. It does make sense, though.
Periodically Mickey says that his head is 'switched off', and sometimes he will come and say, 'Switch my head on please.' His father says that the correct response is to extend the wrist and rotate it - as in turning a switch - and that sometimes this is effective in helping his son to reconnect. (Caldwell and Horwood 2007: 22)
This is a neat example of a metaphorical gesture.
And each of us is different, we have our own special mix of nature and nurture, our flavour, what one might call our own affective signature. This is important, because it is here we are going to have to direct our attention if we want to relate to each other, focusing on this essence, this core. (Caldwell and Horwood 2007: 24)
Wow this is a good notion. I almost want to use it in an insult, for example, Mildred has the affective signature of a roll of wallpaper.
How often do we meet someone by walking into their room, an unknown stranger and greeting them in our language? When I am working with someone who is very disturbed, I wait outside their door until I have picked up enough of what they are doing to introduce myself in their language, using their sounds or rhythms, in effect saying, 'Hello, here I am' in such a way as tells them I am not going to do anything that they will perceive as threatening. (Caldwell and Horwood 2007: 29)
Ah! Ingenious! These kinds of passages are really enjoyable to envision.
At a conference, delegates on the spectrum may say they are 'peopled out' and retire to their rooms for a while to recover. (Caldwell and Horwood 2007: 34)
At this point I'm as if learning the language of autism researchers. I welcome these kinds of notions, because neurotypical too people can become "peopled out".
All of us are involved in an ongoing neural brain-body conversation. The brain is sending messages to the body telling the various parts of it what to do. The body sends feedback to the brain saying that it has done whatever it is. Whether or not we are aware of it, this brain-body dialogue is going on all the time. The most obvious example of this is in the conversation between the brain and the lungs. Highly simplified, the brain says 'breathe in', and the body sends a return message telling the brain that it has 'done it'. Should this process fail we should die. Although we are not conscious of this rhythmic exchange unless we are panting from exertion, or are deliberately focusing on it as in some forms of meditation, people who have withdrawn into their inner world may be listening exclusively to the feedback they are receiving from their own body rhythms (especially those who have severe learning disabilities or are on the autistic spectrum). (Caldwell and Horwood 2007: 38)
Quoted at lenght because this passage made me conscious of breathing. Not a bad piece of suggestive description to keep in store for future meditations on proprioception.
Perhaps the main emphasis in the way I practice and teach is that I encourage students to immerse themselves in their partner's body and facial language. Just like verbal language, they will find it has different elements expressed in different ways, a vocabulary and grammar of its own. What is important is what it is that is familiar and recognizable to our partner's brain. (Caldwell and Horwood 2007: 57)
This is where I disagree with the authors. But I guess I shouldn't, thus far the metaphorical nature of this book has made it a pleasure to read; I can't be too mad at them for associating or drawing an analogy between vocabulary and grammar with nonverbal communication where there is very little in the way of actual homology. The problem is not a simple one to tackle and the basic semiotic inference they draw seems natural: for "what is important" can be interpreted as signs or what is "familiar and recognizable" as the shared meaning of signs.
So how can we convey worth? Think about communication. First of all there is the casual greeting. Walk down our village street and almost everyone you meet, regardless of whether or not you know each other well, will look at you and say, 'Morning', 'Hello' or if it's a particularly sunndy day, 'Grand day isn't it?' These passing exchanges are a form of social reassurance, of grooming. If you odn't believe this, just recall what happens if you smile and say 'Hello' and someone fails to respond, looks right through you. You feel momentarily rejected and possibly mutter to yourself 'Didn't think much of them anyway' or 'Must be a stranger'. What you are doing is internally rejecting them in order to right the balance in yourself.(Caldwell and Horwood 2007: 86)
I should mole this over in relation with #avoidance.
It is the ambivalent reaction of coyness, bashfulness and embarassment which are usually seen as self-conscious because they seem to oindicate a much more complex tension between affiliation and avoidance with an explicit acknowledgement of the self that is exposed.
This quote most likely comes from Vasu Reddy's 2006. Feeling Other Minds (which I am unable to find on the internet). The reference is not given, but the quote is important since I did not know before that affiliation is the antonym of avoidance. On another note, associating coyness and embarassment with blushing reaches back to Darwin's Expressions. The authors here note that people on the autistic spectrum rarely exhibit this simple connection.
...by using frame-by-frame analyses of video material it is possible to code the growth of interpersonal engagement in terms of four variables - eye gaze, proximity to the partner and positive emotion. (Caldwell and Horwood 2007: 109)
Somehow I counted three. The first two being oculesic and proxemic indicators and the third being emotional expression, presumably in/on the face, but this is where the fourth paremeter could be invented (although not necessarily so) - emotional arousal as a general quality of arousal and/or activity (tonus? although this is loosely related to emotions).
  • define:neurotypical : Neurotypical (or NT) is a term that was coined in the autistic community as a label for people who are not on the autism spectrum.
  • define:vituperative : Bitter and abusive.
  • define:vestibular : Of or relating to a vestibule, particularly that of the inner ear, or more generally to the sense of balance.


myrym said...

Vist üpris seosetu märkus, aga see teadlikkus hingamisest meenutas, et Yourcenari "Opus nigrumis" on üks vinge koht, kus peategelane vedeleb päevade kaupa põrandal ja tegeleb oma keha teadvustamisega. Siinkohal kõige relevantsemat osa ma vist ei kirjutanud üles, aga siiski:
"Lamades selili, pingutades kõhulihaseid ja paisutades rinnakorvi, mille sisemuses müttab südameks nimetatud kergesti ehmuv loomake, tõmbas ta kopsud hoolikalt täis, püüdes end teadlikult pisemaks teha, olles lõpuks vaid taevaaluste jõududega tasakaalustatud õhukott.
Omal ajal oli ta koos Jean Myersiga töganud vagatsejaid, kes nägid inimmasinas Jumal-Looja olemasolu vankumatut tõendit, nüüd aga paistis jumalasalgajate harras austus inimese kui juhuse šedöövri vastu talle niisama suure narrusena. See varjatud võimete poolest rikas keha oli ebatäiuslik; eks olnud temagi oma lennukamatel hetkedel unistanud meist vähem algelise automaadi leiutamisest. Pöörates meie meelte viisnurka vaimusilma ees küll nii-, küll naapidi, oli ta söandanud postuleerida teistsuguseid, keerukamaid meeltekombinatsioone, mis peegeldaksid universumit täielikumalt. Keha hämarusse viiva üheksa tajumiseava nimistusse, mis Darazi talle kunagi oma kollakate sõrmede viimaseid lülisid kõverdades ette oli lugenud, suhtus ta algul kui poolbarbaarse anatoomi rohmaksse klassifitseerimiskatsesse; siiski suunas see ta tähelepanu kanalite haprusele, millest sõltuvad nii meie tunnetus kui meie elu. Meie keha puudulikkuse juures on küllalt kahe augu ummistamisest, et helide maailma meie eest lukku panna, ja veel kahe luugikese sulgemisest, et saabuks öö. Kui kolmele neist nii lähestikku asetsevaist avadest, mida peopesagi vaevata kinni katab, suruda mingi tropp, siis on olend, kelle elu ripub ära üheainsast hingetõmbest, omadega läbi. Ta kohmakas kest, mida tuleb pesta, täita, kolde juures või surnud looma villaku all soojendada, õhtul magama panna nagu last või nõtra vanakest, on pantvangiks kogu looduse käes, eriti aga inimühiskonna käes tema enese vastu. Just sellesama liha ja naha kaudu kogeb ta võib-olla kunagi piinamise õudusi; just nende vedrude lõdvenemine takistab teda ükskord kavandatut täide viimast. Kui ta vahel oma vaimu – mida ta mugavuse mõttes ülejäänud ainesest lahus hoiab – otsused kahtluse alla paneb, siis sellepärast, et see sandike sõltub kogu ülejäänud keha teenustest."

Arusaamatu said...

Seos meikis senssi: suur enamus sellest raamatust seisnes juhtumikirjeldustest kuidas autor on oma kehakeele-lähenemisega aidanud autistlikke inimesi kes ei olnud leidnud maailmaga kontakti ja sulgunud sisemiste signaalide maaila läbi korduvkäitumise, automanipulatsiooni (enda puudutamise) ja põrandal - selg vastu seina - lamamise.
Sealjuures jooga-raamatus sain teada, et hindamine on üks u. seitsmest jooga põhielemendist. Selle nimeks on "pranayama" ja suuresti seisnebki kõhulihase ja rinnakorvi manipuleerimise: nt kui lased õhu kopsudest välja, tõstad rinnakorvi üles ja tõmbad kõhulihased sisse selgroo poole, siis selle nimi on "uddiyana bandha" ja jogid usuvad, et siis saad kontakti oma "seksuaalse energiakehaga" vms. Jooga on kummaline, aga see harjutus ise on huvitav.

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