Around 1:54 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder today according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This change in ratio from 1:150 in 2000 to 1:68 in 2010 to its current 1:54 shows the sheer increase in the numbers being diagnosed.
This course aims to develop students' understanding of what Autism means. The class will explore a range of topics that will be enhanced in a mid-term paper as well as a final group project. We will meet once a week for roughly 2 hours to openly discuss ASD and listen to presentations from our peers and guest speakers. In order to receive a passing grade you may only miss 2 classes.
This new high in U.S. Autism rates has inspired disability rights movements and spurred numerous scientific research projects. Biology, so far, does not hold the answers: there is no blood test or brain scan to diagnose autism.
In this DeCal, not only will you learn about possible neurobiological roots of ASD, you will also discover its research beginnings, possible intervention therapies, support services, family dynamics, disability law, the role of technology, media portrayals, child and adult life, stigma, public outreach, and public awareness.
The primary goal of this course is to stimulate and encourage a deeper understanding about individuals who with ASD and their families.
Weekly attendance is mandatory. Only 2 unexcused absences are allowed without penalty. Any additional absence will result in a NP course grade.
A majority of the classes will feature guest speakers or panels who will cover specific topics in autism. Students are expected and encouraged to participate in class by asking thoughtful questions or comments (anonymous form is also available for asking) to further their knowledge of the subject matter. There are no wrong questions as we are all here to learn.
Readings will expose students to a variety of research findings in the fields of psychology, public policy, media studies, medicine, education, neurobiology, genetics, family dynamics, sociology and the lived experiences of autistics. News media will also be used to survey the general public’s approach to ASD.
Assignments: There is a short paper and a student presentation as well as an engaging group project at the end of the semester.
Note: This is a low academic stress course as we focus primarily on student engagement. It's not about passing an exam. We want you to remember and think about the ideas you've come across long after you leave this class.