Many diseases and disorders were not discovered until fairly recent years. This is the case for a disorder called autism. John Steinbeck’s novel “Of Mice and Men” was set during the Great Depression, and the story portrays a man named Lennie with a disorder that people during that time did not understand, so they treated him as if he were mentally impaired. Today, Speech-Language pathologists recognize Lennie as being autistic. “Of Mice and Men” portrays the characteristics of autism and how people who were ignorant of the true disorder crudely handled the situation. This story shows readers how much progress the field of Speech-Language pathology has made in diagnosing and treating people who suffer from autism.
Some characteristics of autism include being preoccupied with a narrow range of interests, trouble understanding metaphors, rote memory, and sensory issues, all of which Lennie has. Speech-Language pathologists now know how to help people with autism. Treatment today may include behavioral treatments, pragmatic treatment, and medicine. This treatment varies greatly from how the people in the story helped Lennie to escape his disorder through death.
This would not be our first choice of movie to recommend to families dealing with autism because of the harsh way that others treated Lennie. The people in the story completely misunderstood the disorder and were not able to help him. Instead, they wanted to hide and disguise Lennie’s condition. Parents need to understand that there are solutions to the difficulties that their autistic child is experiencing.