Thursday, April 14, 2011

Critics of Sarah Abrahamson #4

Sunday Star-Times
20 October 2007

Frame of Mind' 
'Iain Sharp

'Most New Zealanders are familiar with the sad saga of Janet Frame's earlier years. In 1947, when she entered Seacliff Mental Hospital as a voluntary patient, the 23-year-old was misdiagnosed as schizophrenic. During the next eight years she was subjected to electric convulsive therapy more than 200 times. She narrowly avoided being lobotomised in 1952. Five years later, when she travelled to London, a team of high-powered psychiatrists at the Maudsley Clinic formally rejected the diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Now, three years after Frame's death, there are fresh battles over mistaken analysis. The latest issue of the New Zealand Medical Journal contains an article by an Australian, Sarah Abrahamson of the Queen Elizabeth Centre in Victoria, arguing that Frame suffered from high-functioning autism. Startlingly, Abrahmson suggests that the world-renowned author, regarded in her later years as a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature, had language problems, severe communication difficulties and "no imagination".'

No comments: