"Jonah Lehmann is an accidental teacher of others, including his family and friends. This personal and touching account of Jonah's life is enlightening, especially to those coming to terms with similar challenges with autism and other cognitive disabilities. It was written with love to support research on autism, and I recommend it to anyone and everyone touched by those of us who are different."
---Patricia E. Kefalas Dudek, Legal Advocate for People with Disabilities
"I have never read a book about a disabled person that caught me from page one. I could not put this one down. Lehmann offers a profound perspective on living with the reality of a severely disabled child. This book will be required reading for students who take my class in Special Education Administration."
---Frances LaPlante-Sosnowsky, Associate Professor of Education at Wayne State University
"A story of the astonishing power of human love and family triumph over hardship. Lehmann's story, engaging and at times both heartbreaking and joyful, offers an intimate view of one mother's journey as she works with professionals and a blur of caregivers to assist the ever-changing needs of her son. I highly recommend it to seasoned professionals in the field of autism and students preparing for careers in special education."
---Janet E. Graetz, Assistant Professor of Human Development and Child Studies at Oakland University
A child teaches without intending to . . .
Having severe autism does not stop Annie Lehmann's son Jonah from teaching her some of life's most valuable lessons. The Accidental Teacher, a heartfelt memoir about self-discovery rather than illness, uses insight and humor to weave a tale rich with kitchen-table wisdom. It explains the realities of life with a largely nonverbal son and explores the frustrations and triumphs of the Lehmann family as Jonah grew into a young adult. This book is a must-read for anyone who has been personally touched by a major life challenge.
Annie Lubliner Lehmann, a freelance writer for more than twenty-five years, has published articles in many newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times and Detroit Free Press. She resides in Michigan with her husband and two of her three children. Her eldest son, who inspired this memoir, is now a young adult with autism who lives in a supervised home.
Rated Outstanding by the American Association of School Libraries
This is the first book to be written by autistic college students about the challenges they face. Aquamarine Blue 5 details the struggle of these highly sensitive students and shows that there are gifts specific to autistic students that enrich the university system, scholarship, and the world as a whole.
Dawn Prince-Hughes presents an array of writings by students who have been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome or High-Functioning Autism, showing their unique ways of looking at and solving problems. In their own words, they portray how their divergent thinking skills could be put to great use if they were given an opportunity. Many such students never get the chance because the same sensitivity that gives them these insights makes the flicker of fluorescent lights and the sound of chalk on the board unbearable For simple—and easily remedied—reasons, we lose these students, who are as gifted as they are challenged.
Aquamarine Blue 5 is a showcase of the strength and resilient character of individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome. It will be an invaluable resource for those touched by this syndrome, their friends and families, and school administrators.
In Authoring Autism Melanie Yergeau defines neurodivergence as an identity—neuroqueerness—rather than an impairment. Using a queer theory framework, Yergeau notes the stereotypes that deny autistic people their humanity and the chance to define themselves while also challenging cognitive studies scholarship and its reification of the neurological passivity of autistics. She also critiques early intensive behavioral interventions—which have much in common with gay conversion therapy—and questions the ableist privileging of intentionality and diplomacy in rhetorical traditions. Using storying as her method, she presents an alternative view of autistic rhetoricity by foregrounding the cunning rhetorical abilities of autistics and by framing autism as a narrative condition wherein autistics are the best-equipped people to define their experience. Contending that autism represents a queer way of being that simultaneously embraces and rejects the rhetorical, Yergeau shows how autistic people queer the lines of rhetoric, humanity, and agency. In so doing, she demonstrates how an autistic rhetoric requires the reconceptualization of rhetoric’s very essence.
The reasons behind the increase in autism diagnoses have become hotly contested in the media as well as within the medical, scholarly, and autistic communities. Jordynn Jack suggests the proliferating number of discussions point to autism as a rhetorical phenomenon that engenders attempts to persuade through arguments, appeals to emotions, and representational strategies.
In Autism and Gender: From Refrigerator Mothers to Computer Geeks, Jack focuses on the ways gender influences popular discussion and understanding of autism's causes and effects. She identifies gendered theories like the “refrigerator mother” theory, for example, which blames emotionally distant mothers for autism, and the “extreme male brain” theory, which links autism to the modes of systematic thinking found in male computer geeks. Jack's analysis reveals how people employ such highly gendered theories to craft rhetorical narratives around stock characters--fix-it dads, heroic mother warriors rescuing children from autism--that advocate for ends beyond the story itself while also allowing the storyteller to gain authority, understand the disorder, and take part in debates.
Autism and Gender reveals the ways we build narratives around controversial topics while offering new insights into the ways rhetorical inquiry can and does contribute to conversations about gender and disability.
The period just prior to the birth of one's child is a time of deep personal development. Expecting Teryk is an intimate exploration, written in the form of a letter from a parent to her future son, that reclaims a rite of passage that modern society would strip of its magic.
Dawn Prince-Hughes, renowed author of Songs of a Gorilla Nation: My Journey Through Autism, considers the ways her disabilities might inform her parenting. She candidly narrates her experience of becoming a parent as part of a lesbian couple-from meeting her partner and the questions they ask about their readiness to become parents, to the practical considerations of choosing a sperm donor.
Expecting Teryk is expressed through the lens of autism as Prince-Hughes shares the unique way she sees and experiences. Contemplating the evolutionary traditions of motherhood, and embedded in the reassurances that nature offers, Expecting Teryk is a work of sensuous wonder that speaks to the deeper realities and archetypal experiences shared by all who embark on the journey of parenthood.
The Minor Gesture
Erin Manning Duke University Press, 2016 Library of Congress B828.45.M366 2016
In this wide-ranging and probing book Erin Manning extends her previous inquiries into the politics of movement to the concept of the minor gesture. The minor gesture, although it may pass almost unperceived, transforms the field of relations. More than a chance variation, less than a volition, it requires rethinking common assumptions about human agency and political action. To embrace the minor gesture's power to fashion relations, its capacity to open new modes of experience and manners of expression, is to challenge the ways in which the neurotypical image of the human devalues alternative ways of being moved by and moving through the world—in particular what Manning terms "autistic perception." Drawing on Deleuze and Guattari's schizoanalysis and Whitehead's speculative pragmatism, Manning's far-reaching analyses range from fashion to depression to the writings of autistics, in each case affirming the neurodiversity of the minor and the alternative politics it gestures toward.
In 1991, Mark Osteen and his wife, Leslie, were struggling to understand why their son, Cameron, was so different from other kids. At age one, Cam had little interest in toys and was surprisingly fixated on books. He didn’t make baby sounds; he ignored other children. As he grew older, he failed to grasp language, remaining unresponsive even when his parents called his name. When Cam started having screaming anxiety attacks, Mark and Leslie began to grasp that Cam was developmentally delayed. But when Leslie raised the possibility of an autism diagnosis, Mark balked. Autism is so rare, he thought. Might as well worry about being struck by lightning.
Since that time, awareness of autism has grown monumentally. Autism has received extensive coverage in the news media, and it has become a popular subject for film, television, and literature, but the disorder is frequently portrayed and perceived as a set of eccentricities that can be corrected with proper treatment. In reality, autism permanently wrecks many children’s chances for typical lives. Plenty of recent bestsellers have described the hardships of autism, but those memoirs usually focus on the recovery of people who overcome some or all of the challenges of the disorder. And while that plot is uplifting, it’s rare in real life, as few autistic children fully recover. The territory of severe autism—of the child who is debilitated by the condition, who will never be cured—has been largely neglected. One of Us: A Family’s Life with Autism tells that story.
In this book, Mark Osteen chronicles the experience of raising Cam, whose autism causes him aggression, insomnia, compulsions, and physical sickness. In a powerful, deeply personal narrative, Osteen recounts the struggles he and his wife endured in diagnosing, treating, and understanding Cam’s disability, following the family through the years of medical difficulties and emotional wrangling. One of Us thrusts the reader into the life of a child who exists in his own world and describes the immense hardships faced by those who love and care for him. Leslie and Mark's marriage is sorely tested by their son's condition, and the book follows their progress from denial to acceptance while they fight to save their own relationship.
By embracing the little victories of their life with Cam and by learning to love him as he is, Mark takes the reader down a road just as gratifying, and perhaps more moving, than one to recovery. One of Us is not a book about a child who overcomes autism. Instead, it’s the story of a different but equally rare sort of victory—the triumph of love over tremendous adversity.
Autism is a complex and incurable constellation of bizarre behaviors, impaired cognition, limited language, and most distressingly, a lack of responsiveness to other people, and it has been the center of impassioned debates for decades. What is it? What causes it? How can it be treated?
In The Science and Fiction of Autism, one of the country's leading experts in behavioral treatments approaches autism through the context of its controversies, showing where extraordinary and unfounded claims have falsely raised hopes, stirred fears, and ruined lives. Arguing that autism is an entirely biological disorder, however complex its neurological origins, Laura Schreibman lays waste to the beliefs that it is caused by "refrigerator mothers" or the MMR vaccine, as well as to the simplistic claims that it can be cured by a variety of unsubstantiated treatments.
Drawing from her own long clinical experience with autistic children and their parents, Schreibman arms her readers--students, educators, psychologists, and parents alike--with information and arguments to deal with the onslaught of good, bad, deficient, and irrelevant ideas about autism.
War on Autism examines autism as a historically specific and powerladen cultural phenomenon that has much to teach about the social organization of a neoliberal western modernity. Bringing together a variety of interpretive theoretical perspectives including critical disability studies, queer and critical race theory, and cultural studies, the book analyzes the social significance and productive effects of contemporary discourses of autism as these are produced and circulated in the field of autism advocacy. Anne McGuire discusses how in the field of autism advocacy, autism often appears as an abbreviation, its multiple meanings distilled to various “red flag” warnings in awareness campaigns, bulleted biomedical ”facts” in information pamphlets, or worrisome statistics in policy reports. She analyzes the relationships between these fragmentary enactments of autism and traces their continuities to reveal an underlying, powerful, and ubiquitous logic of violence that casts autism as a pathological threat that advocacy must work to eliminate. Such logic, McGuire contends, functions to delimit the role of the “good” autism advocate to one who is positioned “against” autism.