Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from November, 2009

The Autistic Mind and Patterns

The research for my dissertation indicates many individuals with autism disorders and/or savant abilities view language in terms of patterns and rules. This results in the "stilted" usage, the "little professor" forms of writing and speech. I'm wondering how this also challenges basic assumptions of learning and language.I love patterns. Root words and basic grammar appeal to me. I wish language were more like computer programming, in which a keyword or key phrase has a single meaning and single purpose. No one doubts you can be creative and original with computers, though they are linguistically rigid. The study of Latin would intrigue me for the same reason. Rules are rules. Esperanto also comes to mind. No wonder Tammet and others like to construct languages with rules and patterns. I used to create alphabets and languages -- I even have notebooks with my ideas from fourth and fifth grade. Rules are great because they reduce confusion.Just some thoughts as I…

Are the Logical Deficient?

While working on the research for my dissertation, I have read page after page on writing pedagogy asserting that the goal of a university writing course should be to teach students that knowledge is socially constructed and that "truth" is relative to culture and community.

The problem with this assertion is that students with autism and similar conditions (my scrambled brain, apparently), are not relativists. Various researchers (Wellcome 2008, Frith 2001) have found that individuals with these conditions are more logical, unaffected by emotional inputs or rhetorical framing. I've found quite a bit of research on this aspect of brain trauma and autism and am including these findings in my dissertation.

If a group of people are "wired" to think there is a "truth" -- that knowledge is not created but discovered and then applied creatively -- who are educational theorists to consider such people "immature" or "simple-minded" in so…

Survey to Assess Needs for Improved Course Designs

Survey to Assess Needs for Improved Course DesignsAs colleges and universities offer more courses online, it is important that we consider how students with autism spectrum disorders approach online communities, especially online classes. My experiences as a diagnosed high-functioning autistic student and instructor have led me to question how online courses could be designed to better serve students with autism spectrum disorders. I am conducting a survey, seeking to determine if there are characteristics of some online communities ASD individuals prefer. I am also interested in learning what qualities of online communities might be disliked by individuals with ASDs.If you are an individual with an officially diagnosed autism spectrum disorder interested in offering opinions about online communities, I hope you will consider completing this brief online survey. You do not have to be a student. However, you should have some experiences with online communities so you can explain what d…

The Job Hunt

Hunting for work is never easy, but for individuals with disabilities the question of "disclosure" arises. Do you tell an employer you are disabled? Do you assume certain group memberships or activities reveal the disability? What if people offering letters of reference mention the disability?Honestly, I don't have any answers for what is or isn't best.Since I use a cane at times, have a mildly noticeable limp, and one arm doesn't swing when I walk, I would have to say that most face-to-face interviews are going to reveal the more obvious (and minor) physical issues. None of them affect writing or technology work.Neurological issues are a tad more complex, as are those things that might be considered "different" about me.My wife says that intelligence is a disability, and I do agree that at some point you are odd because you're rare. I've thought about removing my American Mensa membership from documents, but that should actually be a good thing…