Autism, Culture, and Representation

Archive for November, 2012

Encountering Autism in the World of Biochemistry

An excess number of English classes= an overwhelming amount of reading and writing and thinking. But no excuses.

First of all, I just want to give a shout-out to Victoria Lungu for a great CC:Savvy workshop. Thanks to this workshop, I was reminded to apply a CC license to this blog! So proud to officially be CC:BY-SA now.

And on another note.

Today, for the first time ever, I learned about autism in the context of a science class: Biochemistry.

Although autism wasn’t directly related to what we were studying, my professor added a slide about a recent discovery of autism treatment. He discussed research that explained how the deficiency of an enzyme led to autism with epilepsy.

It was fascinating for me to see autism represented within a scientific context after studying it so thoroughly through the holistic lens of an English class. There was no discussion whatsoever about what autism is, but rather an expectation of basic familiarity with the neurological condition. There was no mention of the autism spectrum, nor the diverse ways that autism can present itself. The study suggested the mechanics of a treatment via compensation for the deficient enzyme.

I don’t have any negative opinions about this representation of autism, because although it did not give the whole picture, this wasn’t the context where it was necessary. In this class, it was merely a side note.

But it does make me wonder. With this being my only scientific exposure to autism, how many other students were formulating misconceptions based on this depiction? How many already had misconceptions?

If I had never taken English 416: Disability Studies- Autism, Culture, and Representation, I would never have been exposed to the world of neurodiversity and the autism culture. I would not have thought twice about this powerpoint slide. I would not be writing this blog.

The world of Creative Commons licensing, the world of autism. So many realms that college has exposed me to that I have to be grateful for.


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