Reading and writing in/exclusion
Christopher Boone is the protagonist of the novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (henceforth Curious Incident) (Haddon 2003). His behaviour and thought patterns have led readers to identify him as having characteristics of Asperger’s syndrome or being on the autism spectrum. This award-winning novel was set as an English set-work text for Grade 10 learners in a Johannesburg school. A short time after reading the book, the learners were invited to reflect on the book and discuss issues of inclusion and exclusion in a university-led research project.1 One question posed in the study was what advice the learners would give to Christopher’s father, on hearing that he was thinking of enrolling Christopher in their school. Their responses were mostly cautious, with learners aware that their peer group may not be very accepting and that the school may not have appropriate facilities:
I’d tell him to really think about the decision because I think I’d love to say that our school was very accepting. It is to a certain extent, but I think Christopher might find it hard to find friends who are willing to take the time to understand him and make friends with him. If this school did supply or have the facilities to accommodate Christopher in terms of his syndrome then yes I think it would be fine.