Wrong Planet No More: Rhetorical Sensing for the Neurodiverse College Composition Classroom
AuthorHill, Denise Yvonne
Writing Program Administration
Committee ChairKimme-Hea, Amy
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractA predominant metaphor in the autism community is that the neurotypical world is a "wrong planet" in which people with autism do not belong, and I assert that the university is one such wrong planet. I examine the rhetorical history of autism and argue that the construction and reconstruction of autism have led to learning spaces in higher education that Other students on the autism spectrum. I draw upon Krista Ratcliffe's rhetorical listening as a way to address the inequities that persist in college writing classrooms. However, to avoid a bias toward neurotypicality, I recast rhetorical listening as rhetorical sensing, a term that encompasses the multiple ways of experiencing the world rather than privileging one modality.I apply rhetorical sensing to four aspects of higher education. First, I look at the ways in which students with autism are programmed to rhetorically sense neurotypicals through therapy models such as Social Thinking. I argue that such training is not true rhetorical sensing because the burden of sensing is placed solely on students with ASDs, further marginalizing them. Next, I turn my attention to the college composition classroom and present ways for instructors to rhetorically sense their students with autism. I provide strategies based on universal design that can help all students, regardless of neurodifference, thrive. I then turn my attention to composition instructors who parent children with autism. Drawing upon a rich body of research on working conditions for women in rhetoric and composition, I describe the ways in which adjunctification has left caregivers over-worked, under-paid, and under-insured as they try to provide for their children. Drawing upon Aimee Carrillo Rowe's power lines and Andrea O'Reilly's gynocentric mothering, I propose ways to improve conditions for teachers who parent children with autism. Finally, I focus on ways in which writing program administrators can make programmatic changes in order to foster inclusive learning practices. I propose low-cost training and partnership models that can create an inclusive planet that supports neurodiverse students, faculty, and writing programs.
Degree ProgramGraduate College