Circle Wars: Reshaping the Typical Autism Essay

Authors

  • Melanie Yergeau

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18061/dsq.v30i1.1063

Keywords:

Autism, autistics, circles, cognitivism, discourse communities, essays, genre theory, neurodiversity, neurotypicality, rhetoric and composition, spectrum

Abstract

This piece investigates “typical autism essays” and their rhetorical commonplaces, their largely neurotypical discourse conventions. In the field of rhetoric and composition, circular metaphors in discourse community theory resemble popular representations of autism as a low-functioning/high-functioning binary. Each field-specific conversation attempts to define groups of people (student writers, autistics) as though there are hard and fast boundaries to one’s identity. I posit that typical autism essays obscure issues of power as well as their neurotypically-defined genre conventions, effectively denying autistic self-advocates a place in the conversations that concern them.

 

Keywords:

Autism; autistics; circles; cognitivism; discourse communities; essays; genre theory; neurodiversity; neurotypicality; rhetoric and composition; spectrum

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Published

2009-12-14

Issue

Section

Special Topic: Autism and the Concept of Neurodiversity: Peer-Reviewed Articles