I Have Been Buried Under Years of Dust: A Mem­oir of Autism and Hope

September 1, 2020

A remark­able mem­oir by a moth­er and her autis­tic daugh­ter, who’d long been unable to com­mu­ni­cate, until a mirac­u­lous break­through revealed a young woman with a rich and cre­ative inte­ri­or life, a poet, who’d been trapped inside for more than two decades.

Discussion Questions

Cour­tesy of Valerie Gilpeer

  1. What is the sig­nif­i­cance of the title of the book. What imagery does it evoke?

  2. Once you became aware of how the title fits into the sto­ry, how did it make you feel?

  3. Have you ever had the same sen­sa­tion in your life?

  4. For those with fam­i­ly mem­bers who have autism, or if you are con­nect­ed to a per­son with a dis­abil­i­ty — did you feel that the book gave you greater insight into the chal­lenges that fam­i­lies expe­ri­ence on a dai­ly basis?

  5. Now that you know just how per­va­sive­ly a dis­abil­i­ty impacts a fam­i­ly, would you do any­thing dif­fer­ent in deal­ing with that family?

  6. What, if any­thing has this book done to change your per­cep­tion of non-ver­bal autism?

  7. If you are an edu­ca­tor, speech ther­a­pist occu­pa­tion­al ther­a­pist, phys­i­cal ther­a­pist, ther­a­pist, physi­cian , psy­chol­o­gist or psy­chi­a­trist — what are your thoughts about Emily’s breakthrough?

  8. As to ques­tion 8 above, will it change how you address the dis­abil­i­ty in your pro­fes­sion­al life? Per­son­al life?

  9. What about the method­ol­o­gy that Emi­ly uses — Facil­i­tat­ed Com­mu­ni­ca­tion? Does it make you want to learn more about it? If you were already aware of alter­na­tive forms of com­mu­ni­ca­tion — did the book impact your thoughts about it? How?

  10. Would you rec­om­mend the book to others?