RE: [xmca] FW: Dialogic pedagogy for an autistic child

From: Stetsenko, Anna (
Date: Mon Feb 12 2007 - 12:30:44 PST

Hi Eugene,
what an excellent question - I too would be interested to see if others know what has been done in this area. One approach to autism that, though it does not include pedagogical aspects, has a good potential in that it takes the social roots of development ("intersubjective relatedenss" in its terminology) in autism seriously, very much in Vygotskian vein, is by Peter Hobson. His book (in collaboration) 'Foundations for self-awareness: An exploration through autism' just came out in SRCD monographs (2006), with an interesting comment by Muller, Carpendale et al. (also worthy of attention).
ps. i just saw that another response also started with 'such an interesting question' - which it is, really.


From: on behalf of Eugene Matusov
Sent: Mon 2/12/2007 2:42 PM
To: 'Olga Dysthe';;; Deborah Hicks; Bob Fecho; 'Myriam Torres'; 'Igor Solomadin'
Cc:; 'Bakhtin Centre'; 'Kathy von Duyke'; 'Laura Eisenman'
Subject: [xmca] FW: Dialogic pedagogy for an autistic child

Dear colleagues-

I'm looking for literature on dialogic pedagogy for autistic children. Has
anybody come across such literature? Did somebody discuss limitations of
dialogic pedagogy of working with mentally handicapped students? Any help
and guidance are welcomed.


Eugene Matusov


Eugene Matusov, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Education

School of Education

University of Delaware

Newark, DE 19716, USA


fax: 1-(302)-831-4110

website: <>



From: Kathy von Duyke []
Sent: Monday, February 12, 2007 2:31 PM
To: 'Eugene Matusov'
Subject: RE: Handicap kids and dialogic pedagogy

Hi Eugene,

  I have a high functioning autistic seven year old boy joining our parent
co-op. He is really a mixed bag more than one syndrome. He is
exceptionally bright, willful and can become violent and angry if disturbed.
I am thinking that developing a dialogic approach to his work, coupled with
our Montessori constructivist, and "follow the child" environment may help
him be able to protect his need to concentrate, and then help him
"normalize" as M. Montessori called it. I am trying to construct the
boundaries so that we will make less issues have to be addressed around his
will, and then be firm when we must cross him. If he makes makes funny
noises or movements during class time, we don't try to stop him, and the
kids don't laugh. If he does act out, I am attempting to give him a safe
place and the freedom to do that. Currently, if he needs to yell or punch,
as long as it is just me or his mom, I am not stopping him. On the other
hand when it is time to leave, I am pushing in his pressure points in his
armpits if he lays down because his mom is petite and he is large. So far,
this seems successful without him snapping out too much. We had a good day
today. His mom, who is naturally dialogic with him, worked with him for
about 1/2 hour in the room with the rest of the older children, then they
had a 20 minute recess outside. He was fine. He left easily today, and I
told him I looked forward to him coming tomorrow.

If anyone knows of some literature on dialogic pedagogy and this kind of
child I would appreciate it, or any other words of wisdom for me.

Thank you,

Katherine S. von Duyke

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