Author: Lisa Graas
•10/10/2002 05:31:00 PM

A Note from a Reader (I like it so much, I'm putting it in two places! Ha!)--

Dear Ma'am

I do not claim to be an expert; however, in one of your columns you quote a good priest as referring to autistic people as ultimately self-absorbed. I find this characterization to be questionable. From everything I understand of the phenomenon, autistic people are NOT self absorbed, in fact many severely autistic people may not have any concept of self at all. They are absorbed because they are unable to filter information and focus on that which conveys information. The noise of the air conditioner and the sound of a mother's voice are both sensory stimuli that have equal importance in the mind of an autistic person (again, this is just from reading, so I don't claim to know this first hand). You cannot be self absorbed if you cannot separate your self from the things around you.

I believe that you are correct when you maintain that we would all benefit from greater understanding of and sensitivity to those with mental and psychological illnesses.


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