Authoring Autism

16 Dec

So for this post the prompt is:

“We’ve now read four books in a rather quick span of time — two fictional, two non. So, I’d like you to consider the following: What “truths” (purposeful scare quotes) about autism do these books have to offer? What stereotypes do they uphold? In what ways do the authors make you think differently about autism?

For this post, you may pick one book to focus on in particular, or you may choose to do a compare and contrast. You might choose to examine specific scenes or characters here, or you might choose to reflect on an issue that got you thinking in some way. Are these books “must-reads”? Are these books just about autism? How should we apprehend their messages?”

*image from from

So I’ve decided to talk about the book I had to do a presentation with along with Roni and Andie (links to their page), which was “Songs of a Gorilla Nation,” by Dawn Prince-Hughes. And I really wanted to share what Andie had to say because I have the same feelings about it.

He says:

“The four books we’ve read this term all deal with autism, but in remarkably different ways. I argue that Dawn Prince-Hughes’ memoir Songs of the Gorilla Nation is the best of the four representations of life with autism. Prince-Hughes is the only one of the four authors to be on the autism spectrum herself. Because she is writing about her own experiences, Prince-Hughes essentially avoids the mistake of using stereotypes, while the other three arguably rely on them at times.”


I agree completely. We talked about in class how it made a difference to how you felt about the book because someone on the spectrum wrote the book. Therefore, you could believe and connect better to what was being said because it was someone’s real experiences and not something made up. It seems that today fictional accounts on say a disorder doesn’t do so much for the author’s credibility because it’s true. When learning something new about autism twice a week for a semester, it’s natural for us to think about how complex the disorder is and fictional books didn’t really help make the stereotypes disappear instead it can do the opposite really and make you think of the stereotypes that the book may use. This is what made this book so much more appealing, interesting and really more truthful because it was written by someone who knew first hand how it is to have autism.



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Posted by on December 16, 2011 in Uncategorized


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