I DON'T WANT TO BE INSIDE ME ANYMORE by Birger Sellin

I DON'T WANT TO BE INSIDE ME ANYMORE

Messages From an Autistic Mind
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Purportedly revealing compositions of an autistic young man who has been mute since age two; skeptics will view them otherwise. Sellin, who was born in Germany in 1973 and lives with his parents in Berlin, was introduced to facilitated communication when he was 17. In this technique, the autistic person sits at a keyboard while his hand is physically supported and guided by someone else. (The question, of course, is how much influence the facilitator has on the end result.) Sellin's parents kept all the writings he produced in this way and made them available to Michael Klonovosky, a Munich-based journalist who is evidently a true believer in the technique's validity. Klonovosky has selected and edited excerpts from Sellin's work dating from August 1990, when they consisted of simple lists of words (often misspelled), to December 1992, when the following passage was produced: ``there is one thing thats crazy/being in yourself is a dead state/being without yourself is loneliness/neither being in yourself nor without yourself can survive/there are no pure states/there is always change taking place in me/and even in calm times two forces that won't be reconciled are working.'' Unfortunately, Klonovsky's introduction to these writings does not present evidence persuasive enough to win over skeptics. He acknowledges that facilitated communication is controversial but insists that its success rate is ``very high.'' What he does not reveal is just how much physical support and guidance was provided to Sellin, whose mother usually acted as his facilitator. The question remains: Is this the work of a tortured mind, or in fact the product of a parent's self-deception? A theory this debatable requires stronger proof than this book offers.

Pub Date: April 12th, 1995
ISBN: 0-465-03172-2
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Basic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1995