“Autism, Writing, and the Necessity of Repetition,” by alum Robert Fromberg

1983 alum Robert Fromberg was recently featured in The Dillydoun Review. Read an excerpt of Fromberg’s essay “Autism, Writing, and the Necessity of Repetition” below:

Autism, Writing, and the Necessity of Repetition

Autism is repetition.

As a boy, my brother Steve would play the same 15 seconds of “A Day in the Life” by the Beatles 50 times in a row. Today, he sometimes has to touch a doorjamb with the edge of his foot five times before entering a room. Our phone conversations must occur at the same time on the same day each week, and they follow a strict template for what I ask and how he responds.

Some of Steve’s repetition is for fun. The passage in “A Day in the Life” that he used to repeat is the accelerating sound collage toward the end of the song. The effect is really cool, and who wouldn’t want to listen to it multiple times?

Some of Steve’s repetition is for comfort. He used to do what we called “bounce.” When he sat, he bounced forward, fell back into the seat, bounced forward, fell back, bounced forward. As a boy, I tried to bounce. It felt good, like sleeping in motion. This type of repetition, in the autism world, is called self-stimulation and has an addictive quality. I don’t know about Steve, but I wanted to bounce forever.

Read the rest of this essay here: https://thedillydounreview.com/2021/07/21/autism-writing-and-the-necessity-of-repetition/