From Fourth Genre, Vol. 14, No. 1, Spring 2012.
In the eighth grade, my son, DJ, who is autistic and who uses a text-to-voice synthesizer to communicate, became so distraught while learning about Harriet Tubman and a little Polish boy whom the Germans murdered that he couldn’t continue reading. His breathing was heavy; his eyes had glazed over. His heart pounded in the narrow cage of his chest. In response to his ninth-grade English teacher’s question, “What are your strengths as a reader?” he replied, “I feel characters’ feelings.” He then added, “Dread very scary books and wish I took breathing easy mom to class to create more security.”