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Autism Spectrum Disorders in the College Composition Classroom. Making Writing Instruction More Accessible For All Students

Val Gerstle; Lynda Walsh

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Growing numbers of Americans with diagnoses of high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders
(ASD) are enrolling at universities across the country. This is great news for the diversity of higher
education. Nonetheless, students with ASD frequently encounter challenges when they sign up for
their required composition courses. Group work, empathizing with audiences, using metaphors
in writing, these are just a few of the standard curricular situations that have alerted students,
instructors, and administrators to the need for better strategies for accommodating the unique
perspectives of ASD in composition instruction. This volume represents a start toward finding
those strategies. The contributors bring decades of classroom experience to bear on questions such
as How do we design assignments that encourage students with ASD to play to their strengths
as they work to improve their writing? How can administrators support students with ASD in
writing classes? and How should composition instructors interpret reports of research on ASD
and writing? The overarching theme of the essays presented here is that ASD extends an invitation
to college composition instructors to craft a learning environment that better serves all students.



WITH ESSAYS CONTRIBUTED BY
. Muriel Cunningham
. Kim Freeman
. April Mann
. Jennifer McClinton-Temple
. Cheryl Olman
. Marcia Ribble
. Katherine V. Wills

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About the Author:

Val Gerstle, an instructor of English at University of Cincinnati, has been published in The House of
Your Dream: An International Collection of Prose Poetry, The Best of the Prose Poem: An International
Journal, and over 40 literary magazines including The Cincinnati Poetry Review, Louisville Review,
and Bellingham Review. Val has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature, an MFA in Creative
Writing, and a BFA in Fine Arts.


Lynda Walsh, Associate Professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno, teaches a range of writing
courses and conducts research on the rhetoric of science and the role of technology in the writing classroom.

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Val Gerstle; Lynda Walsh Author
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