By Alice J. Wexler (auth.)

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Extra info for Art and Disability: The Social and Political Struggles Facing Education

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Only with these distinguished abilities can we inherit the words and ideas from people far away, alive and dead—the prerequisite in establishing culture (Ridley, 2003). Classical autism, however, diverges widely from this cultureacquiring ability. What the Coevolution of Genes and Culture Tell Us about Classical Autism A discussion of the human genome and the development of human culture shed light onto how autism has diverged from the cultural history of the human species. No one is more capable of clarifying how the two seemingly opposing forces, nature and nurture, converge than geneticist, Matt Ridley (2003).

Since the projects were considered healthy rather than therapeutic, art making emphasized the building of positive assets rather than the curing of negative ones. Although Kivnick and Erikson’s study focused on adolescents with mental illness, the artistic properties they discovered to be responsible for their recovery can be applied to all disabilities. First, art making is physical and sensory, encouraging young people to engage in an activity that creates and re-creates our relationships with the world.

The importance of touch is well known in pediatric medicine. Lack of touch can cause infant brain damage or even death. The key organ for touch is the skin and, therefore, it is a pervasive feeling difficult to isolate because it affects the whole organism; without it there can be no parenting, and no survival. Our mind completes what we do not see with the sense of touch. Often what we think we see is really known through the visceralness of touch. When we look at an abstract painting, we know that the texture of the paint is bumpy or smooth, but it is only because we have felt a bumpy or smooth surface that seeing evokes the experience of touch.

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Art and Disability: The Social and Political Struggles by Alice J. Wexler (auth.)
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