Biological Sciences




Honors Project Summary

My honors project was a success and I am happy with how my novel turned out. My poster is attached to this as well, detailing my learning process and my methods for creating a children’s book. On Friday May 1st I received excellent feedback on my project, and more than one person suggested I attempt to get it published. I plan to submit my work to a publisher (or 100) after some additional tweaking. If it ever gets accepted I’ll gush about the Rhode Island honors program to my potential publishers to no end.

This process has been rewarding and taught me, amongst my original learning objectives, compassion and patience. I also learned the merit of planning and forethought as I had to crop down my beloved images to fit the scanner, and thus compromise on my art. But in the future I will be better prepared for this involved and exciting endeavor! I am grateful for the structure and help of the honors program and its fantastic advisors, I would have never attempted this crazy undertaking without you!


The autistic child: developmental diversity in the early childcare classroom

Olivia Harrison

Autism is a growing factor in society. Today 1 child in 68 is born with an autism spectrum disorder, a 119% increase from the year 2000. Autistic children develop atypically and often non-autistic children are alarmed by the diverse and occasionally erratic behaviors of their peers simply because they are unfamiliar with developmental differences.

While there are many lovely children’s books written FOR autistic children, there is less of a market for addressing the concept of autism in the classroom as a whole. In order to facilitate an atmosphere of knowledge and acceptance in the early childcare classroom I designed a children’s novel addressing autism as a social issue.

Autism is difficult to represent without direct statement but by synthesizing metaphorical illustrations and broadminded comparisons between children I was able to generate a narrative in which children displayed their differential preferences and behaviors without eliciting judgment but merely confused curiosity from their peers. I learned that abstract ideas can be depicted whimsically and still carry influence, and specific phrasing in my short sentences can be as powerful as a lengthy article.

This book revolves around the theme of unique thought and perception between children. By depicting non-autistic students bridging the gap and reaching out to their developmentally different classmates I hope to convey a sense of acceptance among all children and instill compassion over confusion as a reaction to the unfamiliar. Education is integral to a progressive society, the younger the better.

IMG_3987.jpeg (33 kB)
A picture of me at the presentation!

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