This article discusses how the experience of caring for my severely autistic son, Charlie, and my academic research in disability studies have given me insights into teaching the ancient Greek and Latin languages to university students. My efforts to teach Charlie, who is almost nonverbal, to talk and communicate have inspired me to create strategies that help students review grammatical material for exams in a highly effective way. Teaching, I have learned, can happen in the absence of speech. My research about the history of the treatment of individuals with intellectual disabilities has shown me how to make mundane vocabulary-building exercises come alive. For example, explaining what certain ancient Greek words mean with reference to contemporary medical and ethical questions about the care of children with disabilities, born and unborn, has been of great benefit to students learning medical terminology for their science classes and preparing for careers in the health professions.
Kristina Chew; Teaching Classics and/as Disability Advocacy. Pedagogy 1 October 2015; 15 (3): 541–548. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15314200-2917153
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