UM Press honors National Autism Awareness Month with talk by Annie Lehmann

by Heather Newman on April 22, 2010

The Accidental Teacher The University of Michigan Press is proud to present Annie Lehmann, author of The Accidental Teacher, in an Author Series presentation in honor of National Autism Awareness Month.

Lehmann’s son Jonah was born with severe autism, and The Accidental Teacher is her memoir of first attempting to “cure,” then learning to adapt to, her son’s condition. It’s ideal reading for anyone who knows or may care for a child with special needs.

Lehmann will speak on Tuesday, April 27, from 5:30-7 p.m. A book sale, signing, and Q&A will follow. The event is free, and located at the Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery/Room 100 on campus.

The book is available online for a limited time to read and comment on free of charge, in an Autism Awareness Month presentation by the Press. For more about that Open Text Project, read the blog entry here.

We asked her to say a few words about her presentation:

“After my son Jonah, who has severe autism, reached adulthood, I had a chance to look back and reflect on what I had learned from our shared journey. I wanted to write a book about autism, from a parental perspective — not so much for parents, although many have found it helpful, but more for teachers and professionals who worked with individuals with autism.

“Professionals have a hard time understanding how distinctive our experience as parents is. Take a ‘snow day’ for example. For the average parent or teacher — it is a gift of found time. For the parent of a child with a severe disability, however, it means a 16-hour day of trying o keep a housebound child with very limited interests occupied.

“Though each experience is unique, autism looks very different from where a parent sits. I think it is especially important for those who work or plan to work with children who have autism, to appreciate the experience, as seen through a parental lens.”

For more information on Tuesday’s free event, please see our Author Series page.

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