For reluctant writers, introduce novel or unexpected materials and supports. Try old typewriters, novelty or colored pencils, voice-activated software or story starters.

This website is dedicated to promoting inclusive schooling and exploring positive ways of supporting students with autism and other disabilities. Most of my work involves collaborating with schools to create environments, lessons, and experiences that are inclusive, respectful, and accessible for all learners.


Day 6: Songs of the Gorilla Nation: My Journey through Autism

Posted on April 06, 2014 in Autism

Songs of the Gorilla Nation coverSo, if you follow my work at all, you know about my belief in teaching to student fascinations and supporting strengths (see Just Give Him the Whale). I think I enjoyed this memoir by Dawn Prince-Hughes so much because it validates this practice. Above all, Songs of the Gorilla Nation is a story of a life lived in pursuit of a passion.

Prince-Hughes not only found a life’s purpose with gorillas, but shares that she learned to understand Asperger’s syndrome, by connecting with animals. Though she dropped out of school at the age of 16, her love of gorillas motivated her, gave her a focus, and eventually led to a Ph.D. in anthropology.

This is simply a lovely book that I would recommend to those who enjoy memoirs. Specifically, however, I have used this book to teach teachers and students about the why and how of teaching to fascinations, passions, “loves” and areas of expertise. I highly recommend Songs of the Gorilla Nation.

**Idea for using this book: Share with the animal lovers in your life! This book is not just about autism, it is a lovely story about the gorillas and about what we can all learn from animals.


  1. From Debbie Einhorn on 9 Apr 2014

    This is one of my favorite books! I read this a few years ago and was riveted by her story. Such a beautiful connection with the gorillas.

  2. From Paula Kluth on 10 Apr 2014

    I really love it too- my daughter is really into animals so I can’t wait to share it with her when she is a bit older. See you soon, my friend…thanks for the comment!