Category Archives: recovery


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Where We Fit in this World: Group Activity (response to Burke & Broderick)

Part 1: Positioning Ourselves

  • 1. What terministic screens are we encountering? What do they filter in, and what do they filter out? What do they enable us to do and understand—and what do they prevent us from doing and understanding?
  • Almost every term we encounter has a positive and negative factor or effect just like terminisitic screens. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we agree with them.
  • 2. How should we deal?
  • Look at these terms and associate them with autism
  • 3. Did Broderick give you more of a perspective on Chew & Raymaker’s “10 Controversies”?
  • It makes us realize how that the cure and recovery from autism is not desirable.
  • 4. Who are these authors? How do their subject positions affect what they’re saying (or authoring)? Do their positions enhance their credibility, detract from it, etc.? To whom, do you think, are they writing? Who might benefit from what they’re saying?
  • These authors range from a teacher to scientist and because they actually have probably put years into their studies it really doesn’t affect what they’re saying unless it was someone who hasn’t took the time to research what they’re talking about (for instance a student with only a semester of research). The authors position can affect their credibility a little but not so much in some cases. We might listen more to a scientist of autism studies than a teacher, but it really matters about the time that one puts into their work.

Part 2: Finding Fictions

  • 1. What metaphors, fictions, or untruths does pop culture use to understand or represent not only autism, but other forms of neurological difference?) E.g., “intellectual disability,” “mental illness,” “learning disabilities,” etc?)
  • Illness as a metaphor in definition is physical but we apply that to the mental state. Like if someone is hurting themselves that’s an illness or if someone is isolated it is believed that they are unhappy whereas that may not be the case.

Part 3: Screens and Charting

  • 1. What does recovery mean?
  • Return to something that you were never at to begin with
  • Retaining something that you lost.
  • 2. What does intervention mean?
  • To come, appear or lie between two things
  • To involve oneself in a situation so as to alter or hinder an action or development
  • When one thinks about intervening they’re thinking that they can better the situation; doing something that another could not do
  • 3. What does acceptance mean?
  • The action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered
  • To affirm something as it is and as a whole
  • 4. How are these things dissimilar?
  • It’s self explanatory almost. If you accept something as it is there really is no just cause to intervene. As for recovery, it depends on who needs to recover especially in a situation with autism.
  • What can and do theses concepts mean, both medically and culturally?
  • Medically: When it comes to science things are more complicated because usually science looks at things as problems that need to be solved and in the autism world words are very sensitive just like any other culture and it’s really not the medical world’s concern because they have an objective.
  • Culturally: When it comes to culture people’s feelings and emotions are taken into consideration. It becomes a world of parents, autistics of all ages and allies. It’s a world where people are respected, etc. It’s more personal; it connects more intimately.
  • 5. Do these concepts compete or overlap?
  • Yes because when you want someone to recover you intervene and when you intervene you either are accepting or not accepting the situation.
Chew & Raymaker Article “10 Autism Controversies”

Terministic Screens and the Realities they Create



My name is Alexandria Spicer-McQueen and I am a senior graduating in December 2011, studying English at the University of Michigan. My plan for my future when I graduate is to become a journalist for Essence Magazine. I enjoy all forms of art with a deep passion because it’s not just about your craft, but the passion others put into their craft as well. There’s something about watching someone do art that makes me think, “Wow, can you feel that emotion? That is what I live for.” Also, I plan on publishing my book of poetry and continuing to write what I feel because I am art.


Think about Broderick’s essay in the context of Burke. In what ways do her “watershed rhetorical moments” function as terministic screens? That is, what sorts of realities are created by the language of science, the language of parenting, the language of recovery, and so forth? What do these representations of autism allow us to see, and what do these representations prevent us from seeing?


When it comes to relating these two articles, the answer is almost in the question itself. Boderick’s “watershed rhetorical moments” function as a terministic screen. For example Lovaa’s use of the word “recovery.” This acts as a terministic screen because he and what actually exist in terms of recovery by society already define it. “The operational definition of best outcome in the Lovaas (1987) study was defined as participants achieving “normal-range IQ scores and successful first grade performance in public schools” (p. 3) and in society we know or was lead/brought up to believe there’s requirements for being “normal.” Therefore this word “recovery” acts as a terministic screen for “normalcy.”

The realities it creates is for the parents. Parents with children on the autism spectrum desire for their child to have a normal life and more than likely experience the things that having a normal life can give them; to enjoy different discoveries and so forth. Scientific language creates realities in the form of giving parents hope for “recovery” for their child. People are very interested in science when it proves there is a possibility or direct relation to the lives of people. So when science puts out that there may be a chance your autistic child can began to live a normal life with some practice, parents may and will jump to the opportunity.

I believe that these representations of autism can create a sense of hope as well as a false sense of hope. “Recovery” to any parent for their child can be a great opportunity because like stated earlier it gives their child a chance at having and understanding so many things in life and with almost half (47%) of Lovaa’s treatment group were on the “best outcome” ranking. Though treatment can be a positive experience what about the false hope it can bring? When I think of this false hope I think about the children that the treatment does not “cure.” The emotions that the parents may have once it does not work, the sadness and pain that they will experience for their child because of this failed attempt. Parents may even blame themselves for failure of treatment. It can prove upsetting.

“Even if any given terminology is a reflection of reality, by its very nature as a terminology it must be a selection of reality; and to this extent, it must also function as a deflection of reality.” (Burke 45)