Hi, my name is Jenn Feldman. I live in New York (more specifically Long Island) and I’m always made fun of for my accent. I am a psychology major hoping to have a practice as a psychologist for children with Autism/special needs as well as the families that are affected by the disorder. My goals for this semester are to learn as much as I can about the Autism Spectrum and it’s culture so that when I do start my career I am well versed on what is culturally acceptable and what isn’t. I also want to learn about other points of view rather than the one I’ve been in for a while. I have dealt directly with kids with special needs as their counselor, their dance instructor, and their friend. I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve had to enter their home lives and really help them cope with the hand they’ve been dealt. I am hoping that I can broaden my understanding of the hardships as well as gifts that autism brings to a family.
When talking about any subject in any context, there are only so many viewpoints one can take. As a writer it is important to distinguish which ones are extremely relevant and which ones should be cut. Burke uses this idea of Reflection, Selection and Deflection to describe this idea.All three of these things can alter how you see a topic and it can effect your stance on sed topic.
A view point could reflect a certain topic in a way that you wouldn’t normally view it. The first thing that came to mind when reading Burke’s article was a Circus mirror. It can make certain things bigger and certain things smaller and can really deform the way something is reflected. With autism, there is a lot of talk about the two extremes: severe autism and normality. Learning is very unique in this way because I can only educate myself on what others have studied if I don’t have that personal experience. What if their viewpoints are distorted? What if I am staring at a reflection from a circus mirror and I have no idea that views are distorted? How can I make an educated judgement on these topics?
Selection is also a major tool that scholars and professionals can use to make readers understand their point of view and their point of view only. The selection of the information they use for their journals could be skewed or one-sided. How am I supposed to know that? Unless I encounter every single human being with Autism I cannot make an unbiased judgement call or opinion. I have to accept what these people tell me as my only source of knowledge. If they select case studies from cases of the extreme measures, I cannot account for the median that is not being represented.
I’ve noticed that in the readings we’ve had in this class there have been topics of extremes. For example, I’ve learned about those who are severely autistic and called names like “idiot” and “retard” and “completely incapable” and then I’ve also learned about those who are on the other side of the spectrum who are “sevants” and “incredible human beings.” I have yet to hear about someone in the middle. Classic Autism: stimming, limited attention span, behavioral issues, cognitive problems, lack of focus. All of these things are put to either extreme but none of the readings we’ve had have talked about that grey middle area. The aspect of deflection deals with the same core concepts. The authors deflect from the concept of this middle ground and I’m not really sure why. Is it because there simply isn’t enough research to follow up? Is it because extremes are more interesting to talk and learn about? I’m not really sure what the reason is but I wish there was more to be said for those in the middle who need just as much attention and help as anyone else.