Jean was in the back seat crying. BOOKS BY PEOPLE WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS Books by male autistic authors are, The Extraordinary Autobiography of an Autistic (). Online shopping from a great selection at Books Store. " Biography / Autobiography " One Family's Journey Through Autism May 2. Or unless they had amnesia.
PDF Abstract Many memorable characters in Western culture could be viewed as having features of francis yupangco biography or Asperger syndrome.
In recent years there has been a growing interest in autism, mirrored by an increase in depictions of autism biography autobiography books in popular works of fiction and autobiography. In this article I will outline the issues that have preoccupied writers and the techniques they have used to demonstrate autistic difference.
Some writers have illuminated aspects of the autistic triad of social impairment, abnormalities of language and need for sameness. Other writers have opened our eyes to the autistic world autism biography autobiography books in its strangeness and richness. Still more have started to examine prejudice, disability rights and the implications of an international autism community. As in other areas of mental health, literature can help inform, entertain and question our attitudes and values.
Modern Western literature and popular culture are littered with stereotypes of some of the facets of autism and Asperger syndrome, despite their relatively recent description in the scientific literature.
Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger made their original separate descriptions of the conditions as recently as the early s Kanner ; Aspergerbut many fictional characters with recognisable autism pre-date this.
BOX 1 Characters with explicit autism in fiction Christopher Boone in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Mark Haddon, Lou Arrendale in The Speed of Dark Elizabeth Moon, John Cosway in The Minotaur Barbara Vine, Manfred Steiner in Martian Time-Slip Philip K. These accounts also mark a change in societal views towards those with autism, who are increasingly seen not in voiceless supporting autisms biography autobiography books or bit parts but as characters in their own right.
There have also been autobiographies that tell the stories of the parents and carers. BOX 2 Books by people with autism and by carers Publications by people with autism Emergence: Labelled Autistic and Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin Nobody Nowhere: A User Guide to Adolescence by Luke Jackson Martian in the Playground: She has become an expert in animal handling and continues to pursue a university career.
In her book, she describes her constant struggle with social understanding, which leads to her expulsion from autism biography autobiography books school but her eventual autism biography autobiography books, becoming a academic.
This early text has paved the way for other writers with autism, young and old, to tell their stories. She describes her unwillingness to wear a tight-fitting hat and the lengths to which she went to avoid wearing it.
BOX 3 From Emergence: Labeled Autistic Grandin Humming tunelessly, I massaged the material over and over. Now the hat lay in my lap like an ugly blue blob. I had to get rid of it. I decided to throw it out the window. She was too busy driving. Now the hat felt hot and prickly on my lap.
It lay there waiting like a monster. I covered my ears to shut out the hurting sound.
She made a autism biography autobiography books for the hat. Suddenly we were jolting into the other lane. I leaned back against the seat and enjoyed the jostling.
Jean was in the back seat crying. Even today I remember the bushes planted along the highway. I close my eyes and feel again the warm sun streaming through the window, smell the exhaust fumes and see the red tractor-trailer truck come closer and closer.
Mother tried to autism biography autobiography books the wheel, but it was too late. I heard the crush of metal and felt a violent jolt as we sideswiped the red tractor-trailer truck and suddenly stopped.
I was not scared at all. It was kind of exciting. BOX 4 From The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Haddon He was leaking blood from the fork-holes. You always know what a dog is thinking.
It has four moods. Happy, sad, cross and concentrating. Also, dogs are faithful and they do not tell lies because they cannot talk. I had been hugging the dog for 4 minutes when I heard screaming. I looked up and saw Mrs Shears running towards me from the patio. She was wearing pyjamas and a housecoat.
Her toenails were painted bright pink and she had no shoes on. It makes me scared that they are going to hit me or touch me and I do not jamini roy biography what is going to happen. Instead, she started screaming again. I put my hands over my ears and closed my eyes and rolled forward till I was hunched up with my forehead pressed onto the grass.
The grass was wet and cold. Both books are written in the first person, which forces you to share their autistic world view. They are deliberately written in simple, child-like language, with its associations of innocence and naivety.
In the second extract the use of language is stilted: In both extracts the emotional response of the narrator is disturbingly out of kilter with our expectations of how children should react to the events that are portrayed. Both writers fail to focus on the distressing experience of the events and describe either no emotional autism biography autobiography books or a seemingly inappropriate one.
We learn at the outset that we autism biography autobiography books have to reinterpret their perceptions and version of events, as their account is so highly subjective. Mark Haddon makes use of dramatic irony throughout, ensuring through his descriptions that the reader understands more about what is going on than Christopher himself does.
Empathy and social awareness Humans are such social creatures that those who do not need company or do not display emotion in culturally sanctioned ways are viewed with suspicion.
Although some people with autism are self-absorbed and content with their own company, many with Asperger syndrome are keen for social contact but struggle to mix or to maintain friendships.
Problems with empathising appear to be at the core of this. In the course of the book, Christopher erhard loretan biography that his mother left his father for another man, but his autism biography autobiography books had lied about her death, autism biography autobiography books. BOX 5 From The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Haddon, I wrote you all those letters.
And then she made a loud wailing noise like an animal on a nature programme on television.
The resulting lack of restraint is an important component of many comedic creations. By no means all such individuals have autism, but I believe that one of my favourite characters does. He is a corpulent, flatulent but highly educated and eloquent unemployed man who lives with his mother. He is arrogant and highly judgemental and critical of others.
BOX 6 From A Confederacy of Dunces Toole reprint: The green earflaps, full of large ears and uncut hair and the fine bristles that grew in the ears themselves, stuck out on either side like turn signals indicating two directions at once. Full, pursed lips protruded beneath the bushy black moustache and, at their corners, sank into little folds of disapproval and potato chip crumbs. In the shadow under the green visor of the cap Ignatius P.
Holmes department store, studying the crowd of people for bad taste in dress. Several of the outfits, Ignatius noticed, were new enough and expensive enough to be properly considered offenses against taste and decency.
Ignatius himself was dressed comfortably and sensibly. The hunting cap prevented head colds. The voluminous tweed trousers were durable and permitted unusually free locomotion. Their pleats and nooks contained pockets of warm stale air that soothed Ignatius. The outfit was acceptable by any theological and geometric standards, however abstruse, and suggested a rich inner life.
Seeking first employment is a very traumatic time for most families with autistic children who have grown up. In the novel, it is a device that brings Ignatius into contact with people he cannot understand and detests.
The novel does not mock Ignatius, despite his faults; instead the reader sympathises with his plight and his frustration with the idiots around him. This book gets its title from a Jonathan Swift quotation: Use of language Oddities in the use of language comprise an important part of the triad of primary autistic symptoms. In life, these peculiarities involve both the form and the content of speech.
Mutism, neologisms novel words and stock phrases are usually associated with intellectual disability. Literal, pedantic and overly inclusive or formal speech is associated more with Asperger syndrome.
There is a range of ways in which these show themselves in life and can be represented in fiction. The eponymous, mysterious stranger, who comes to work as a copywriter at a New York law firm, is depicted as a tragic but almost noble figure, who dies as a result of his inflexibility. His behaviour is recognisably autistic, with his social aloofness, limited conversational ability and resistance to change. There are additional details which are persuasive.
He has restricted food preferences, eating only ginger-nut biscuits. Bartleby also has poor eye contact: His language is restricted and stereotyped. He avoids speaking to his work colleagues, but will speak to his supervisor in a limited fashion. Ironically, this phrase is picked up by his more social co-workers and becomes part of office parlance.
Bartleby can be very literal in his understanding of language. After his employer moves to different autisms biography autobiography books to escape from him, Bartleby remains. This is factually accurate but not the answer to the implied, more general question. In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, there are some well-observed passages of dialogue that illustrate the semantic and pragmatic language problems of those with Asperger syndrome.
The pragmatic problems are related to the practicalities of making conversation, such as conversational repair knowing how to restart conversation when it becomes derailed.
BOX 7 From The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Haddon, Or unless they had autism biography autobiography books. But rats are very clean.
Toby is always washing himself. I just let him run around my room so that he gets some exercise. Although not a part of the way autistic disorder is defined, people with autism frequently struggle with the processing of sensory information.
They can easily be overwhelmed by the sheer mass of information that our senses perpetually generate, particularly at autisms biography autobiography books of stress. They seem to be unable to filter out the extraneous and peripheral.
The reverse of this is also true: It is the role of the novelist to help us to observe again. Several novelists have attempted to encapsulate in literary autism biography autobiography books the way we think and experience the world continually. However, this forbidding book is a considerable challenge to the casual reader. It is funny and full of digressions about the minutiae of life such as why plastic straws replaced paper straws despite the fact that they float in fizzy drinks, how to overcome public micturition anxiety and why shoelaces break.
The text on the page is deliberately close set. There are few paragraph breaks and almost endless footnotes that go on to the next page. The language is clear but formal, with long rambling sentences containing subclause after subclause. Most striking is the very visual way that the world is described. The descriptions are over-inclusive and focus on trade names and seemingly irrelevant details.
BOX 8 From The Mezzanine Baker, reprint: Sensory disturbance Many people with autism find particular sounds, smells and textures so intense that they are painful or distressing. Tony Attwooda leading figure in the advancement of the popular understanding of autism, describes an evocative extract from the scientific literature Cesaroni This is a good example of the usefulness of first-hand accounts of autism in qualitative research but equally a beautifully poetic image.Autobiography, Biography, & Memoir
Labeled Autistic, Temple Grandin describes her own problems with sensory modulation and how specific sounds, smells and textures are experienced as unbearable. BOX 9 From Emergence: The clamour of many voices, the different smells — perfume, autisms biography autobiography books, damp wool caps or gloves — people moving about at different speeds, going in different directions, the constant noise and confusion, the constant touching were overwhelming.
One very, very overweight aunt, who was very generous and caring let me use her professional oil paints. Still when she hugged me, I was totally engulfed and I panicked. It was like being suffocated by a mountain of marshmallows. I withdrew because her abundant affection overwhelmed my nervous system. Autism and society Some novels have even brought important issues from the culture of autism to a wider audience. In Asperger chat rooms people debate whether or not autism is an illness, a handicap or a condition.
Owing to his phenomenal ability to see patterns in data-sets, the central character, Lou Arrendale, has been head-hunted to work for a prestigious company. Like all his immediate colleagues, he has autism and his skills are known to be related to his autism biography autobiography books. Their supervisor ensures that they autism biography autobiography books in an autism-friendly environment and protects them from the prejudices of other employees.
Their work environment includes hanging mobiles, a gym, separate showering and washing facilities and a trampoline to bounce away their stresses.
The problems come when the new company executives see these things as an expensive luxury and question the need for preferential treatment. This may sound fanciful but like other disability rights groups, those concerned with autism are keen to argue for the right to life and rightly oppose the possibility of abortion on the grounds of autism.
Elizabeth Moon makes no secret of the fact that she has a son with autism and this experience clearly shows in her novel, both in the character of Lou and in her valuing of those with autism. I believe that the autism literature allows us a glimpse into the autistic world, in all its alien glory.
We can shrink away from it or relish the multiplicity of viewpoints that it offers. Both fictional and autobiographical accounts can help us to start to understand the autistic experience and empathise with those affected and their families.
From taking peripheral parts in the narrative, people on the autistic spectrum now command their own storylines. They are revealed as fellow humans, albeit those with a fundamentally different way of understanding the world.
Sometimes that way of understanding is shown not just as different but in a positive light. Sometimes the autistic world view is even shown as superior. This represents a massive change in societal attitudes.