Learning about autism in an English class was one of my early experiences with the intersection of literature and medicine. This week, it was especially challenging to condense a semester’s worth of studying autism and disability studies into a 1.5 hour class period. Nevertheless, I do think that it was one of the most enlightening class discussions thus far.
There seemed to be something different about our discussion this week. Autism seemed much more relatable, and more students evoked personal experiences with autistic relatives and friends. A number of students expressed feeling that there was much more to explore about autism, and they have decided to delve deeper into autism for their final projects (which I will discuss more in a future post).
This week, I was also observed by an advisor from the Honors College. I told my students that my goal was to get her to participate in our discussion, and I’m happy to say that we were successful! The class was very engaged; there were a number of moments where multiple students had their hands up, eager to participate.
When class was over, I left the room with a refreshed appreciation for this teaching opportunity. Each of the students (and my advisor) left with a new perspective on autism. In a world where everyone is touched by disability and/or illness in some way, I continue to believe that this kind of awareness is absolutely essential.
Lesson Plan Week 5
Two years after its conception, I have officially published a piece of my writing. After being lost in transition and undergoing a series of revisions, my review about literature for children with autism, Autistic Strengths and Stereotypes, has been published in Disability Studies Quarterly.
It’s been exciting for me to go through the publication process, to take an ordinary paper that I wrote for an independent study and turn it into something more. From corresponding with editors to revising and proofreading, I’ve enjoyed learning about the inner workings of the publication process. It’s an honor to be included as an author in one of my favorite journals.
Check it out! I’d love to hear your thoughts about my review:
Autistic Strengths and Stereotypes | Paul | Disability Studies Quarterly.
Yesterday was International Day of Persons with Disability. In Zurich, the disability organization Pro Infirmis celebrated with mannequins sculpted after people with disability. “Because who is perfect?”
A simple, compelling work of art. This film and the project it reenacts both encourage us to remember disability. To pause. To reconsider societal ideas about the normal and abnormal body. To respect the vast array of differences that make us human.
What most fascinated me were the responses of passersby. Most halted in their tracks and did a double take. Some seemed confused and uncertain about whether what they were seeing was real. Perhaps these reactions exemplify how much farther we have to go in raising awareness and appreciation for disability.
Integrating disability into how we represent and mold our bodies is one more step forward.