Co-created bonds/ quiet lives: Autistics and animals beyond speech and ableism’s restrictions
The article discusses the cognitive processes of autistics in conjunction with their social suffering, since their sensory experiences diverge from what is socially expected. It takes up the recent literature which combines critical disability studies with critical animal studies, in order to contribute to the creation of accessible contexts and social relations for autistic people. The paper is inspired from the bonds created between autistics and animals, in particular donkeys and horses. According to the interviews as well as autistics’ narratives, these intimate relations are not mediated by linguistically differentiated identities and competitive dynamics. Instead, they are based on reciprocity and co-creation, due to the divergent cognitive and sensory formations that affect objects’ representation and self’s formation.
Soula Marinoudi is a social anthropologist and a postdoc researcher at Panteion University. Her research interests regard critical disability studies, anthropology of the body and health. She has taught as adjunct faculty at University of Thessaly, National and Kapodistrian University and Panteion University. She works as a special education teacher.