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.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Foremothers: Bringing it All Back Home

This week, I shall be working on my talk for the annual meeting of the Women’s Classical Committee – UK. I’m delivering the public lecture at the end, which will conclude what’s been discussed during the day, while also being geared to people who have come just for my talk. So: I shall be rounding off the AGM’s topic, and also saying something stand-alone. The topic is ‘foremothers,’ and I’ll discuss various kinds of academic ‘mothers’ who have shaped me. The abstract is here.
Here’s why I am mentioning this on the blog - it’s because I’m planning, briefly at least, to mention my work on autism and classical myth, and how this has grown out of my experiences engaging with foremothers. This will include women I have personally known, but more key I expect to be those academic mothers who have reached me through their writing.
I've said previously that all paths lead to Athena. The talk takes place in my hometown, and this hometown is one of many cities whose public art includes the goddess. The photo that heads the current posting shows this Athena. I shall be going on an academic pilgrimage to this Athena before the AGM. Also, I plan to use this Athena to frame my discussion of going home and being mothered.
More to follow…

Monday, 15 April 2019

Hercules, autism and classical myth: a meeting over time

Prof Katarzyna Marciniak has a new book out on ancient Greek and Roman myth - and it includes a section that mentions my autism and myth resources.  I'm including the text here - it's in Polish, and I think that the title might be translated as Greek and Roman Mythology: Meetings over Time.

It comes with a photo that captured a key moment in the development of my project - and a meeting at an apt time (apologies for the pun...).

This was in May 2017. The picture shows me engaged in enthusiastic conversation in with Dr Edoardo Pecchini over our shared interest in Hercules and autism. We had earlier that day both presented papers on Hercules and autism at the conference Our Mythical Hope: Edoardo as a psychiatrist who uses classical myth with his patients to promote their mental health, and myself as a classicist aiming to work with practitioners.

Our papers were given in the Ballroom of the Tyszkiewicz-Potocki Palace at the University of Warsaw. The conversation that got snapped here was on the staircase of the Palace, beneath 'Hercules.'

I look forward to seeing Edoardo again next month, in May 2019, to discuss our ongoing projects and the potential for collaboration.



Friday, 12 April 2019

Looking back on what Hercules did in Nebraska - including multi-sensory possibilities

Although I wasn't able to get to Nebraska in person for CAMWS last week, thanks to Shannon DuBois, I was able to follow live-tweeting. The thread is below. I hope I've caught everything. I understand that quite a bit of colouring-in went on! If anyone present who reads this would like to send me (s.deacy@roehampton.ac.uk) a photo of their work, I'd love to see it. I've included a live-tweet about my fellow panellist Krishni's reference, in her paper, to the multi-sensory potential of my research. Since the conference, I've had a fruitful initial discussion about multi-sensory studies and autism with another panellist, John Coetzee from Stanford Medical School who spoke on 'putting dyslexia into context'. While I was at a conference in London - in person this time... - on Tuesday, I also briefly sounded out members of the Sensory Studies in Antiquity Network. So one outcome of the panel, an unexpected one, is the possibility of research into sensory aspects pertinent to my autism and myth project.

I'm sorry that the formatting isn't perfect - this is the best I've able to manage...

Roehampton ClassicsTweet text