Why classical myth and autism?

Why classical myth 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 (2016-22) 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, including to a book of lessons for autistic children focusing on the Choice of Hercules between two very different paths in life. The image above, illustrating the homepage of this blog, is one of the drawings by Steve K. Simons, the book's illustrator, of a chimneypiece panel in a neoclassical villa at Roehampton in South West London. The lessons centre on this panel.

Monday, 23 December 2019

Looking both ways - including to fairyland Warsaw, (making a) difference at Roehampton and my Herculean resolution for 2020

The last few weeks have been energy-creating and hectic: so much so that I need a bit of time to pull together the various things that I have been doing and their implications for this blog's topic. This includes the many things I gained from a recent Ciceronian excursion to Warsaw, some of which are indicated among these photos:

Among the Ciceronians:
1. asking a question while blown away by what I'd just learnt about a 16th-century commentary on the de Officiis;
2. in the Herculean interiors of Wilanów Palace;
3. with delegates plus posters from 1989 and 2019 Warsaw Cicero congresses;
4. in the Wilanów winter fairyland

This also includes what came out – for the students, and for me – of a session I taught on myth and (making a) difference during a second year module I convene at Roehampton: Myths and Mythology. I’ll be posting on these – probably now in early January.

Looking ahead… I have agreed give an update in early spring on the activities on the Choice of Hercules to colleagues in Special and Inclusive Education at Roehampton, following up from a session I did just over a year ago. Around this time, I shall be speaking on the same topic at a Myth and Education conference at the Faculty of Education in Cambridge. Then, in May 2020, I’ll be in Warsaw for the last of the three conferences for ERC Our Mythical Childhood Project: Our Mythical Nature.

And… during 2020, I shall be WRITING A BOOK. This book will present the Choice of Hercules activities. While I was Warsaw I agreed a deadline for submission of the book with Katarzyna Marciniak, the editor for the series of books linked with the Our Mythical Childhood Project. This deadline is... 15 December 2020. So: my New Year’s Resolution is this: to write the book. And I’ll use the events for spring 2020 detailed above as deadlines for the completion of stages of this book.

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