To Explore Strange New Worlds: Understanding Autism Through A Star Trek Lens ~ By Elizabeth W. Barnes
I have to begin by saying that I always loved to read, until I hit the age where my arms were no longer long enough to see the pages clearly and I had to begin wearing the dreaded “reading glasses”. I do not know why reading a book while wearing the dreaded “reading glasses” bothers me so, but it does. Although I have from time to time, purchased a book with all good intentions, I can’t say I have been able to get through a single one.
The subject of Star Trek and autism relating to each other was intriguing to me. I have been a Star Trek fan since the first episode of The Original Series hit the airwaves; a VERY long time. I have a parent to a child with autism for over a quarter of a century. These are two subjects that I can relate to more than most.
I have always looked at Star Trek as diverse and inclusive. After my son was diagnosed and as he got older, I of course saw the similarities between him and Mr. Spock, Data, and Seven of Nine, but it never occurred to me just how much more there could be found in the Star Trek Universe. It was fun and eye-opening to look at Star Trek again though the scope of autism.
It took me a little while to begin reading it, because….. “reading glasses”, but once I picked it up, I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I was able to finish it – glasses or not.
It was an easy read. It was not clinical or technical. It does not read like a “how to”, or an instruction manual. There is no advice or counsel as to what you should or should not be doing. It does not preach.
What the book does, is point out the regular every day issues that our children deal with through Star Trek episodes. It provides thoughts and tips for discussion as a means of assisting our children though these issues. It is a collection of episodes and specific scenarios from those episodes that are relevant to our day-to-day life. These situations and the manner in which they are resolved are broken down in a clear and simple manner to promote thought, discussion and understanding about anxiety, social situations, problem solving and much more. Once you read this book and begin looking at the episodes in this way, this method could then be applied to other episodes, other situations in the same episodes and even different television shows, movies or books.
Being a Star Trek fan, it was actually fun reading over all of these episodes and looking at them in this light.
If you are a Star Trek fan with some connection to autism; this book is definitely for you.
If you are a Star Trek fan who may want to learn a little bit about autism while reading synopses of episodes from most of the Star Trek television series; this book is also for you.
If you are a Star Trek fan and the parent of a neurotypical child; this book can also be helpful as many of the issues covered such as bullying, acceptance or fitting in and peer pressure are not specific to autism.
If you are not a Star Trek fan; first I will ask ……..
Next I will say that I do not think it matters. I have to admit that there were a few episodes that I did not remember and it did not take anything away from the point of the book. To the Star Trek novice or the person who has no knowledge of the franchise other than the name, I believe this book would be just as interesting and informative to read as a collection of short story synopses that begin with a problem, end with a solution and the break down of the steps the characters took to get to that solution.
I found “To Explore Strange New Worlds – Understanding Autism through a Star Trek Lens” a fun, informative and quite fascinating romp through the Star Trek Universe and the autism spectrum. I highly recommend it!