Autism and the Myth of the Person Alone

Autism and the Myth of the Person Alone

Autism and the Myth of the Person Alone

Autism and the Myth of the Person Alone

Excerpt

Autism and the Myth of the Person Alone is a qualitative study in which people classified as autistic are primary, contributing authors. Unlike any prior research, it draws on the perspectives of people who have previously been perceived as both autistic and retarded and is written from a critical disability studies framework. A basic premise of the book is that people classified as autistic, even those who cannot speak, are thinking people with ideas about their lives and their relationship to the world. I call this orientation the presumption of competence. The wisdom of this lens will become clear with the contributed chapters, for each of the authors describes autism as a social construct behind which lie complex and layered relationships between individuals and society. Autism and the Myth of the Person Alone is an optimistic exploration of the multiple meanings of autism and both the possibility and the reality of inclusion for people classified as autistic. It challenges one of the most basic tenets of autism, the one implied by the root of its name; that the person classified as autistic is, and perhaps is content to be, alone.

The book is based on more than two years of qualitative research that included solicitation of autobiographical accounts, interviews and conversations, e-mail correspondence, and participant observation (Spradley . . .

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