Autism: The Lived Experience

Document Type


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Journal Title

Disability Studies Quarterly

Publication Date



In Spring 2008 I taught a first-year seminar on Representations of Autism in Contemporary Literature and Film. The course engaged issues surrounding autism, and by extension, various disability issues such as autonomy, civil rights, difference, dignity, discrimination, education, family, health care, and the like. From day one, Kerry Bowen distinguished herself as an excellent writer and an indispensable contributor to our weekly meetings. Her short essay below was completed while Kerry was still a first-year student, and this is her response to the second assignment in the course, which invited a critical engagement with our readings and a detailed argumentative analysis of someone else's account of the lived experience of disability. This assignment grew from a unit on nonfiction narratives about autism, which included Temple Grandin's 1986 Emergence: Labeled Autistic, Barbara LaSalle's 2003 Finding Ben: A Mother's Journey through the Maze of Asperger's, John Elder Robison's 2007 Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's, and Jenny McCarthy's 2007 Louder than Words: A Mother's Journey in Healing Autism.

Publisher Statement

Disability Studies Quarterly is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license, to allow for certain types of reuse without permission. By submitting this agreement, the author agrees to apply a CC BY-NC-ND license to the Submission upon publication.