15 July 2009

On Autism and Academe

Tyler Cowen, an economist, has an original take on the autistic spectrum, suggesting that some of its features may be positive, particularly in the context of academe;
The relevance of the autism spectrum for higher education isn't just about particular individuals on the autistic spectrum. The very nature of higher education shows how much we, often without knowing it, hold up autistic cognitive profiles as a partial educational ideal. In "special needs" education, there is plenty of effort to teach the skills of the nonautistic to the autistic, but in the regular classroom we are often doing the opposite.
He further suggests that similar arguments may be made for other forms of neurodiversity, including dyslexia and ADHD.

A propos dyslexia, I have also been reading Maryanne Wolf's excellent
Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain (2008); she quotes;
neuropsychologist Andrew Ellis who declared that whatever dyslexia turns out to be, "it is not a reading disorder."
and one can see clearly what he and she mean.

1 comment:

  1. Ah yes, I also found this article interesting.

    The thing that struck me, in addition to the things you list, is the question of numbers that's highlighted in the article: We certainly have lots of neuro-diverse children in our schools and college, so that means there should be similar proportions of neuro-diverse adults. So, where are they all, and what are they doing?

    Two very simple questions that give rise to many difficult ones.


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