NLMFF: What inspired you to write this book? What did you hope to accomplish through writing this book?
Savarese: At first, I intended the book as a kind of advocacy on behalf of those who could not represent themselves: namely poor, disabled kids in foster care. But as my adopted son became literate, my plan for the book changed. I knew that I wanted to include his words in the book and even end the project with a chapter written by him. In this way, the book would embody the movement from advocacy to self-advocacy, representation to self-representation. Ultimately, my hope is that people will re-think the classical Autist—whom Oliver Sacks once described, very disparagingly, as “the creature for whom very little future lies in store.” My son, who once carried a label of profound mental retardation, is now a fully included, honor roll student at our local middle school; he most certainly does have a future, and others with classical autism do as well.
Read more of “An Interview with Ralph J. Savarese, Ph.D.”