Cynthia Lord's Rules

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The book Rules stands out amongst other novels in the literary genre of children with disabilities. It not only chronicles the challenges that David, a boy with Autism, faces, but also illustrates his struggles from the perspective of someone on the outside, specifically his sister Catherine. The simplest abilities that most people take for granted, such as interpreting social cues and demonstrating appropriate manners, are the same abilities that people with Autism lack. This novel shines a light on how pertinent these capabilities are for living a so-called “normal life,” however, it also questions if having a “normal life” can always be a possibility. Catherine learns by the end of the book that although her brother David may not be like …show more content…
In movies, like Rain Man and Temple Grandin, the Autistic main character possesses intelligence in a certain area that far surpasses the capabilities of an average person. Not all Autistic people are like that, and David is one character who shows that Autism doesn’t necessarily make someone a genius. Although the novel doesn’t go into specifics with David’s academic abilities or his performance in school, it is clear that David struggles with most aspects of his life. The author, Cynthia Lord, does make a point to show that David has difficulty finding the right words to use when he is wants to convey something. He will often borrow words or quotes from one of his favorite books: Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel. Catherine compares talking to David to a treasure hunt: “You have to look underneath the words to figure out what he’s trying to say” (Lord, 2006, p. 38). Although David uses a complicated method to express himself, Catherine still tries to accommodate him and figure out what he is trying to say. Unfortunately, their mother sees the method of borrowing words as a crutch for David’s communication abilities. In fact, she will often scold Catherine for replying to David with quotes from Frog and Toad Are Friends. “’Catherine!’ Mom says. ‘He needs to speak his own words, but he won’t if you keep encouraging him to echo’” (Lord, 2006, p. 111). The …show more content…
I ask this question because it is evident that many teachers don’t know how to incorporate literature about children with disabilities into their classroom or how to teach about diversity of ability to their students. Even if a teacher doesn’t have a student with a disability in their class, this group should not be ignored or presented ignorantly. Diversity of ability needs to be an important part of a school’ curriculum just as much as cultural diversity. Even if students aren’t currently exposed to people with disabilities, they will have to interact with members of this group at some point in their lives. Learning about other children with various types of abilities will help young students to gain knowledge and develop acceptance necessary for future experiences. It is imperative that schools start educating their students on children with disabilities, and start incorporating literature into the classrooms that provide counter stories for this commonly underrepresented and misunderstood

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