DeLeeuw, Analysis 1

The first day of this class I was not what I was expecting. For some reason I didn’t think that it was going to focus on Autism. However, I’m very glad that it is. I’m very eager to learn about this because I am going to be a teacher someday and I really need to know how to communicate with these kind of children.

While reading this weeks readings, the quote that really stuck out to me was on page 385: “Our adversaries are not demons, witches, fate, or mental illness… we have no enemy whom we can fight, exorcise, or dispel by ‘cure.’ What we do have are problems in living- whether these be biologic, economic, political, or sociopsychological.” In this time of life, people seem to be much more accepting and knowledgeable with mental illnesses, but not so much in the past. I think this quote perfectly explains that because everyone used to think you were possessed, but not anymore.

I have a cousin who is physically and mentally challenged, and every time I asked my parents what was wrong with her, they could never give me a straight answer. To this day, I still do not know what she has. I think this is just terrible, and I related a lot to chapter 9 because of this. Bill was completely left alone and no one understood what was wrong with him, but thankfully he made a friend, Murray, and everything worked out for him. My cousin was befriended by a really nice girl, and I think she saved her. Without the friendship, I don’t think Bill or my cousin would have the will to live.

While looking through the DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria, I couldn’t believe how well Dustin Hoffman portrayed some of these in the movie Rain Man. When you read the actual descriptions of each criteria, it’s a little overwhelming, but to see it in film or real life, that makes my skin crawl.

Because I plan on being a teacher, I went online and found a source that helps teachers with strategies on how to teach children with Autism and other disorders. I’ve found that big visuals and constant positive reinforcement is the best approach. I have the website link below for anyone who wants to check it out.

To conclude, I now understand a little more about Autism and all of the complicated things it has had to go through to be understood and accepted. All of the stories from this weeks readings really gave a broad range of the disorder, and all of them are unique in their own way.





2 thoughts on “DeLeeuw, Analysis 1

  1. thaxtonl

    Rachel –
    I agree with your overall idea of “autism needs to be talked about” that you reached in your post. I took this class as a requirement too, and had no idea that the class would follow different themes from semester to semester. I, on the other hand, was overjoyed (not to say you aren’t!) to find out that this class is to focus on representations of autism in fiction. As a writer, I always wondered about writing an autistic character or someone on the spectrum: my older brother as Asperger’s Syndrome. I also had a close friend growing up who was diagnosed with Asperger’s as well, and I found the differences between her and my brother interesting. It is definitely a spectrum!
    Because of this, I second your notion about the treatment of Bill through the chapter. My heart ached when he spoke cheerfully of his adversities. My brother was mercilessly teased in high school which led to him having pseudo-seizures from stress. My mom pushed each of her children to go to college, and it was around when my brother finished at community college was he diagnosed. I think she spent a lot of time grieving for all the lost help she could’ve gotten my brother back then, in elementary school or in high school—and now the whole family is devoted to becoming more educated about ASD.
    I’m glad that you already recognize the task that teacher’s will face with students with ASD. Their parents may not know, or may be in denial that their children could have some kind of disorder. Of course, this rises from the negative stigmas that ASD holds that kept people like Bill and your cousin and my brother from receiving “the right kind of help”. Teachers become that connection to cross this threshold, to inform parents early that their children might be displaying difficulty in the classroom, and that perhaps they should look into resources. Where I went to high school, and even here at GV, there is a LINKS program specifically to encourage students with ASD to prosper in education.
    Unfortunately, my brother had to drop out from college in his junior year due to the reemergence of his pseudo-seizures. Since then, however, he has been meeting with a psychiatrist who specializes in Asperger’s, taking medication for anxiety, and began culinary school (which I believe he should’ve done in the beginning). But I agree—these opportunities wouldn’t have been open to my brother if he didn’t have the support system that our family has for him. It would ruin me to know if my brother had been treated like Bill was back then, and it still hurts to think of the people who ridiculed him in high school for being “eccentric”.
    I believe this class will be a great tool to look into ASD deeper than before: into its histories, its depictions, and its stigmas. People like your cousin and my brother need it, and so do many others around the world.



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