Kierkegaard, repetition and autism

Document Type


Publication details

Cashin, A 2017, 'Kierkegaard, repetition and autism', International Archives of Communication Disorder, vol. 1, no.1.

Article available on Open Access

Peer Reviewed



If relying on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual- 5 (DSM5) to diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) the triad of impairment that featured in past versions of the DSM as the structure for the diagnosis has collapsed to a dyad. Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities remained as the second part of the new ‘Dyad of Impairment’. This part of the dyad has received relatively little research attention, despite the centrality to diagnosis and experience of living with ASD. This paper discusses the work of Soren Kierkegaard in his 1843 book Repetition and the link to understanding the nature of repetition in human experience universally and in particular for those with ASD. The work of Martin Heidegger in being and Time 1946 is discussed, to elucidate further the nature of autism associated with repetition in the ontological project of being. The understanding of repetition in eastern thought through the work of Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa in 412 is also briefly considered to balance the western philosophical view and inform issues of mindfulness. The impossibility of repetition, outside spiritual endeavors is highlighted in a society constructed by neurotypical beings. The anaesthetizing role of habit is exposed.

Find in your library