Why mythology and autism?

Why mythology and autism?

The idea for this project started to take shape at a meeting in 2008 with a special needs teacher, who mentioned that, in her experience and those of her colleagues, autistic children often enjoy classical myth. I began to wonder why this might be the case, and whether – as a classicist who researches, and loves, classical myth – there was anything I could contribute. I started this blog to report on my progress which was often sporadic until the launch of the Warsaw-based European Research Council-funded project Our Mythical Childhood (2016-21) to trace the role of classics in children’s culture. My key contribution to the project is an exploration of classics in autistic children’s culture, above all by producing myth-themed activities for autistic children. This blog shares my progress, often along Herculean paths.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Autism and classical mythology: workshop for autism experts

I am writing to post some news that I have recently received. This is news that will have an impact - potentially a huge impact - on my autism and classical myth project now that I have completed the first set of resources.

(For anyone checking for the first time, I have created a set of activities based around an episode in the myth of Hercules, a figure with vast potential in relation to autism - see easier postings for details, not least those from February 2018.)

I am going to be organising an event which will take place at Roehampton later this summer or in the early autumn. It will be for autism experts and practitioners, to seek feedback on the first set of resources. I'll share more in due course, but let me mention for now that those taking part are due to include some of the experts whom I have already mentioned in this blog - and whose work has inspired what I've been trying to do!

The image that heads this posting is of Senate House, the home of the Institute of Classical Studies. This is because it is thanks to the support of the Institute of Classical Studies that the event will take place. I applied recently for Public Engagement Grant to run the event and I heard a few days ago that the application was successful.

I am planning to hold the event in the Adam Room, the location of the Choice of Hercules chimneypiece panel on which the resources are based.

I intend to refine the 'Herculean' activities in light of this collaborative involvement. Then, informed by this input from the workshop, I shall begin work on my second set of activities. These will likely be connected with a different mythological figure, Medusa, and will include activities that include mask-making and music composition. 

As with the Hercules activities, these will be published on my blog for immediate dissemination. They will also, like the Hercules activities, be piloted in schools (on this pilot activity, please watch this space!).

It's thanks to the ICS that the event can happen! I'm honoured to be able to add their logo to my blog:

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