Autism, Culture, and Representation

I have to say, one of my favorite things about the internet is that although it is such an expansive realm, it can still incorporate very specific personal elements. A friend recently introduced me to Story Corps, a nonprofit organization with the mission of documenting and sharing the stories of individuals across the country. After recording interviews, animations are created to supplement many of the stories and videos are posted to YouTube.

And that’s how I was introduced to Sarah and Joshua Littman: through “Q&A”.

The first thing I noticed was how the video described how people with Asperger’s “can come across as eccentric and have obsessions- for Joshua, it’s animals.” This simple sentence was crucial in that it set the tone for what was to follow, and I think it did a great job of conveying two very important points about Asperger’s. First of all, the word “can” does a great job of emphasizing that the characteristics listed may be common for people with Asperger’s, but that not necessarily all people with Asperger’s share these traits. I also found that the phrase “for Joshua” was very powerful; it emphasized the individuality of his own Asperger characteristics.

I guess that what I really enjoyed about this video is that it is entirely based on the real interactions between a mother and her son. And there’s a lot to be learned from these personal stories and interactions.

It was also really interesting to have the opportunity to listen to Sarah and Joshua later on in their lives, at a time when Joshua was no longer a seventh grader but a new college student .

[http://storycorps.org/listen/stories/sarah-and-joshua-littman-2/]

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