Music Therapy, Sensory Integration, and the Autistic Child

By Dorita S. Berger | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
Introduction: Who Defines
[Appropriate]?

Most societies live within established systems of stated or assumed laws governing group social behavior. Humans, like other pack animals, rely on groups for survival. Regardless of levels of sophistication and cultural development, everygroup seemsto manifest expected [norms] of participation, written or unwritten.

For the human animal, the expectation is that a person wishing to function cooperatively and comfortably within their social group will [follow the rules] of the pack and behave accordingly. Therefore, in our Western societies, we are quiet in libraries, respect our elders, eat with implements and dishes, sleep in beds, sit or stand when told to do so, and so on. Mom, Dad and teacher are happy, as are neighbors, extended family members and God.

One assumption is that all [normal] or [typical] or [acculturated] human beings will eventually learn the rules of the group and behave as expected. But what if that does not happen according to plan? Suppose personal behavior, in its most [natural] form, is actually more a matter of physiologic needs rather than socially established [rules]. This begs another question: for whose benefit are rules designed?

Another assumption is that the group understands the needs of the individual, and that the individual, equally, understands and therefore wishes to comply with the rules of the group in order to be accepted. Obviously, at least in the case of diagnosed individuals, that assumption can be erroneous.

-17-

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