Literate Lungs: One Autist’s Journey as a Reader

From Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities 37.2 (2012). 100-110.

Emily Thornton Savarese
Grinnell, Iowa

Ralph James Savarese
Grinnell College

This article underscores the importance of coupling a practical orientation to the many challenges of autism with a philosophical and political orientation that refuses merely to make room for disability in the classroom or to accommodate its specific needs. It uses a case study approach to illustrate the ways in which subject matter and narrative convention were problematic for a nonspeaking, autistic boy who had been abused in foster care. The article focuses on his elementary and middle school years to illustrate the way in which an understanding of disability studies must inform our reading pedagogy if marginalized children are to find a safe place in our classrooms and our communities.

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