The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, a first novel by Mark Haddon, is a truely absorbing piece of writing because of Mark’s thoroughly convincing character, Christopher John Francis Boone. Christopher’s condition is never stated, however he appears to suffer from mild autism. The novel is an exploration of the mind of Christopher as he deals with a crisis in his life, his father has told him a lie. We accompany Christopher in first person through his journey to a resolution.
Autism is a highly misunderstood condition. Autistics are generally of normal intelligence, however the way they perceive the outside world and communicate with it are different than convention and they are often regarded as of lower intelligence than they are. One of the greatest flaws in the measurement of intelligence is that it relies too much on conventional communication.
Wired magazine has a very good article on the medical community’s rethinking of autism here. In a series of YouTube videos an autistic woman, Amanda Baggs, challenges the conventional wisdom and makes her case for autistic people’s intelligence and value to society. Some venture far enough to say that autism is not an illness at all, but just another way for the brain to develop.
Whatever comes of this reevaluation of autism, the role technology and books like this are playing in liberating people with this and any form of challenge is inspiring.