Escuela Lacaniana de Psicoanálisis del Campo Freudiano



An urgent case: Autism

Barcelona - Saturday, June 19th, 2010

Why a Forum?

Because it is necessary to explain the risks of evaluation limited to numbers, which silences that which is particular to each human being.

Because the criteria of false science, sustained today in the ideology of evaluation, in the indiscriminate use of questionnaires and in the arguments of scientific evidence, attempt to eradicate subjectivity in culture, the arts, in the university, in the fields of medical hygiene, in the employment and business sectors, the legal, pedagogical and social fields; that is to say, in all those areas that pertain to human beings. Science does not imply this.

Because in all the human disciplines a quantitative bias is being increasingly imposed. On the basis of a supposedly egalitarian treatment, the differences between human beings are annulled, promoting a homogenization with devastating effects. Evaluation installs a fundamental mistrust of the knowledge of professionals, whose work is increasingly centered in answering the demands of the evaluative system, filling in questionnaires and producing statistics.

Because if all the interventions that concern the individual are evaluated solely on the basis of quantitative data we are destined to the impoverishment of thought and to mental automatism.

Why Autism?

Because in Spain autism has been converted into an urgent case. Two proposals, one addressed to the Senate by the Partido Popular (the ‘People’s Party’, a political party in Spain) and another formulated by an association of parents addressed to the Catalonian Parliament; have given rise to grave concerns among professionals who have dedicated many years to the diagnosis and treatment of autism. These proposals understand autism solely as a cognitive deficit to be reduced and a learning difficulty to be treated pedagogically.

Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan highlighted the particularity of the human being, a speaking being that is differentiated from other living beings. Human language is not a mere system of signs but a complex symbolic structure, since words are articulated with the subjectivity of each one and the social bond is coloured by that particular subjectivity.

Because psychoanalysis understands, therefore, that the treatment of autism cannot be reduced to models for the training of behaviour or to simplifying the complexity of speech and the human language to exercises in communication.

Because autism is not a deficiency nor simply a clinical category, but a limited way for the speaking being to situate himself in language and in the social bond.

Why a Forum on Autism?

To discuss and reflect on the risk that we are all under if we lose sight of the subjective dimension, the dimension that implicates the real that is not captured by science.

So that professionals, those that have been psychoanalysed and those who today draw nearer to psychoanalysis can say what they know: that psychoanalysis is a valid discipline that provides access to the understanding of a human real that escapes science, something it has studied, developed and brought into contrast for over a century.

So that civil society and its authorities are cognizant of this situation: that we know very little of the aetiology of autism and that to promote treatments with the argument of a supposed scientific evidence is to fall into a false deduction and a tremendous imprudence.

So as not to limit the offer of treatment to a single theoretical model that denies the right of citizens to choose which treatment they would prefer for themselves and for their children.

Numbers are beautiful, yes, as long as they are accompanied by words.

Evaluation imposes numbers to the detriment of words and as such silences them.

It is urgent to maintain at the heart of the speaking being the enigma that constitutes it. This is what autism teaches us.