CFP: OCD and Asperger's Syndrome in the Communications/Composition Classroom (4/20/05; CCCC, 3/22/06-3/25/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Lynda Walsh
contact email: 

I am soliciting abstracts for a concurrent session at CCCC 2006
(Chicago, March 22-25) on OCD and Asperger's syndrome as challenges in
the composition and/or communications classroom.


If interested, please send a 250-word abstract to by
April 20, 2005. See session proposal below:


Proposed Concurrent Session for 2006 CCCC Annual Convention,
"Composition in the Center Spaces: Building Community, Culture,

Area Cluster: 101-Practices of Teaching Writing (Classroom situations
and strategies)

Title: Asperger's and OCD in the building of composition/communication
classroom culture


In October 2004 the Chronicle of Higher Education reported a sharp
increase in college students with Asperger's syndrome over the last
decade, and the CDC estimates that one in every 165 children in the
country has some form of autism-related "pervasive developmental
disorder." Many of these students have also been diagnosed with
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders (OCD) that exacerbate the challenges they
encounter in coping with the rigidly-structured social environment of a
college classroom.


These developments pose a special challenge for teachers of composition
and technical communication, whose courses and curricula are (1) usually
general degree requirements that all students must complete; and (2)
intensely interpersonal as compared to large lecture courses. Current
ADA guidelines stipulate only that OCD and Asperger's students be given
extensions on assignments and tests. However, those guidelines are
inadequate for ensuring these students' success in a composition
classroom. Further, the institutions matriculating OCD and Asperger's
students often provide inadequate academic and social support for them,
which places an additional burden on their instructors.


How can we best accommodate OCD and Asperger's students in the
composition classroom? How can we channel their unique perspectives and
abilities to enrich our classroom culture? And how do we cope with
classroom dynamics arising from other students' reaction to OCD and
Asperger's students' social behaviors? These are some of the questions
that will open this inquiry into a major new challenge to composition
and communications instructors.

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Received on Thu Mar 24 2005 - 08:57:28 EST