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Intersubjectivity refers to the motivation and capacity to connect and share one's own inner world with that of another person.
This book addresses the questions: how does this precious human communication develop in infancy, and what can or should be done when it does not develop? The author presents a unique chronicle describing the day-by-day emergence of intersubjectivity in her infant son, born with neurodevelopmental disabilities. These observations are analyzed in the context of a critical review of theory and research about intersubjectivity in normal children and in children with atypical development. From both sources emerges a model for how intersubjectivity develops in the parent-infant interaction, and guidelines for how to intervene when it does not. While acknowledging the inroads that have been made in understanding this unique human capacity, the author points to the questions that remain to be addressed in future research. The book ends with a rare opportunity to follow the trajectory of her son's capacity for intersubjectivity over a period of more than thirty years. It is addressed to theorists and researchers; clinicians who work with infants and children with developmental disorders and their families; and parents who want to understand their children's development.
Rita Eagle, PhD, is a clinical psychologist with 45 years of experience. Currently she is doing clinical work and training with a focus on autism and mental retardation at the Harbor Regional Center in California. She has three adult children, including Benjamin, the inspiration of this book, now 36 years old, who has mental retardation and features of an autistic spectrum disorder. Dr. Eagle taught at City College and Brooklyn College in New York and supervised clinicians and doctoral candidates.
"The book is fascinating.... It is an interesting and readable tale of the growth of a severely, perhaps autistic, neurologically impaired child... The book has value for the professional and for parent--caretakers of these children in its suggestions for interventions and for providing a view of a possible, optimistic, although limited outcome. Eagle's message is a positive one that is appropriately captured in the title of the book: Help Him Make You Smile."-- PsycCRITIQUES/Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books
336 pages. 2007