Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MA in Child Development


Child Development Graduate Program


The present work aims to offer a different perspective on the use of language in autism, dissociating it from a defective and pathological view. The first part of this paper will present a literature review, from the first description of autism to the most recent psychiatric definition of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Both DIRFloortime® and a Lacanian psychoanalytic understanding of language in autism will be provided. In order to revisit theoretical paradigms and to investigate how an individual diagnosed with autism makes use of language, the second part will include a case study of weekly meetings with a young autistic man over the course of three months. By exploring content, associations, and language addressed to the other, the intent is to advocate that language in autism should not be reduced to its defective and pathological characteristics. Instead, it should be seen as meaningful and purposeful for the autistic subjects and for those who may engage with them.