Monday, March 31, 2008

Audio: Interesting Show on Autism at "Studio 360"

"No matter how hard he tries he knows he can't fit into the NT [neurotypical] world."

That's how radio producer Tamar Brott describes Jonthan Mitchell, a 52-year-old writer who has Asperger's. He is very high-functioning on the autism spectrum, and he writes stories that delve into his feelings of alienation, longing, obsession and rejection of special education programs. A profile of Mitchell is the first five-minutes of an illuminating hour-long public radio program on the arts and society at Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen.

A key reason you might want to listen to the program is Andersen's conversation with Blythe Corbett, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry, at the M.I.N.D. Institute, University of California at Davis. The Institute is a leading venue for autism research, and Corbett discusses in very clear language how scientists are examining research trends in genetics, environmental and other threads of inquiry to help them understand the origins of autism spectrum disorders. (The gist is that researchers are in the early stages of their work, and they are looking at a combination of factors that could include genetics, environmental factors, parental age and more.)

Below, find an audio clip of the first 11 minutes of the episode, which profiles Mitchell and introduces the rest of the show:

Other parts of the show discuss an art project organized by the M.I.N.D. Institute, and discussions of Amanda Baggs, a well-known autistic video blogger and neurodiversity advocate, and the film Autism: The Musical.

Find the Studio 360 website with a writeup of this episode by clicking here.

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