I spent the winter of 1978 sleeping. Not the whole winter. Just big parts of 75 minutes in the afternoon in Blanchard Hall. I was in class.
I took Child and Adolescent Psychology because I thought I needed a psych course and it sounded more interesting (and less invasive) than General Psychology. I think Jean Rupp was the professor. I think the class was on third floor Blanchard. I’m not sure because I slept in class, sitting in the back, next to the warm, sleep-inducing heating pipe.
I remember little. I do remember writing a paper on autism, a paper in which I was intrigued by the effects of autism, a sense of being overwhelmed by sensory input. Or that’s what I think I remember from the paper about autism.
I’m dragging you down this potholed lane of my memory to make a confession.
Based on that paper in college, the content of which I little remember, from a class I little remember, I act as if I understand autism. I smile and nod sympathetically when it is mentioned, as if I know that 1 in 110 children is affected by autism. But I am basing my pretended awareness on having looked at the subject for an assignment more than 30 years ago.
I’m guessing that we do that a lot. We think we understand something based on a brief experience years ago. Often, we don’t go beyond that. This time I want to. April is Autism Awareness month. I’m going to increase my awareness. If you keep coming here, you are too.
Starting next week.