Once I got into work today---late because I stayed at home while Charlie had an early ABA session, to check in with the therapist--one theme dominated, as I realized during Latin class. We were translating Catullus' poem 72 and I was explaining the meaning of quondam: "It's 'once upon a time'--no, that's olim, quondam is at some time, once. Olim is like at the beginning of a fairy tale."
"Fairy tales! You're thinking of Into the Woods!" said a student. (And I will announce that Into the Woods will be performed by Argus Eyes of Saint Peter's College starting tomorrow, and that my student is the evil stepsister.)
I realized I had certainly had fairy tales on my mind, not willingly. Late last night I got my first look at the National Autism Association's Escape the Hopelessness campaign with the butterfly movie. The short movie begins with a child's voice saying "Once upon a time / I opened a door of darkness" and then depicts a metmorphosis, from child-like-a-caterpillar-caught-in-(autistic)-darkness-in-a-cocoon to (recovered) child-breaking-free-and-flying-away-on-butterly-wings while saying "I thought I'd never escape."
The NAA movie (the "mutant-insect ad campaign") relies on an "ugly duckling" story, in which an ugly creature is transformed into a beautiful creature--a swan--admired by all; on a narrative familiar to us through fairy tales of monstrous Beasts transformed back into their true (human, handsome) selves thanks to the love of some Beauty. The NAA movie also uses outdated autism stereotypes, such as the notion that an autistic child is like a changeling left in the cradles by trolls, who have stolen the real child.
And they all lived happily ever after.