Tuesday, April 2, 2013
World Autism Awareness Day
Today is World Autism Awareness Day! To celebrate, supporters of this international awareness day will "Light it Up Blue"! The Empire State Building here in NYC will be lit with beautiful blue lights. Teachers, educators, and parents around the world will be wearing blue. And I want to use today's blog post to create conversations about Autism in the graduate student community around the globe.
Last year in April, which is Autism Awareness Month, I posted an entry about how my graduate school scholarly pursuits have been shaped by, and now dovetail with, my work with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Check out the post here.
I truly believe that the idea of neurodiversity needs to be discussed more often in academia, across all disciplines including history, literature, narratology, psychology, biological sciences, environmental sciences, social sciences, fine arts, philosophy, religious studies, law, business, and education. I currently am studying how early American literature engaged with its contemporary discourses of the mind and neuroscience, in order to see how our ideas of "cognitive normalcy" came to be. What makes someone "normal"? What role does our fiction play in shaping these ideas of the normal?
The paradigm of "neurodiversity" de-emphasizes the binary of the normal versus impaired mind and instead draws a picture of the human mind that is naturally varied and diverse, and calls for a basic cultural and social acceptance and awareness of these variations, diversities, and differences as natural and even beneficial for society.
Today, as you begin your day, think about how the idea of "neurodiversity" might change your outlook on your day, your work, or your life. Talk about it with someone, and share your thoughts and ideas!
Check out this article for some more information and links!
Until next time! -- Liza