If the therapeutic community is to work as a therapeutic method, all its constituent parts described in this chapter must be in good working order. This requires a process of acculturation in which new members adopt the values of the community, emphasizing openness, responsibility, and active participation, and in turn pass these on when the next new members arrive. The quality of the therapeutic environment at any time will be an indicator of how well the acculturation process is working. Rapoport(4) has shown that this process is susceptible to a pattern of oscillation with recognized stages ( Fig 1).
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Autism is a developmental disorder that manifests itself in early childhood and affects the functioning of the brain, primarily in the areas of social interaction and communication. Children with autism look like other children but do not play or behave like other children. They must struggle daily to cope and connect with the world around them.