Autism Stole My Child: Changeling Tales and the Autistic Search for Representation

Allie Rawlings (Brigham Young University)

Changeling tales, with their stories of otherworldly children who react differently or notice too much, are often looked to by members of the autistic community, who grow up feeling different than their peers, as historic representation of autistic children. This longing to find rooting in the past has led autistic people to adopt and sometimes subvert changeling tales in order to claim their place in history and cope with the feeling of being “other.” The often grisly traditional endings with their deemed necessary infanticide also give heed to the reception, rhetoric, and stigma autistic folk still weather to this day.

Part of 05-04 Moving Towards Neurosustainability: Seeding, Cultivating, and Reinforcing Neurodiversity in a Neurotypical Monoculture, Friday, November 03, 10:30 am–12:30 pm