Neuroqueer(ing) Noise: Beyond ‘Mere Inclusion’ in a Neurodiverse Early Childhood Classroom
Inclusion, as it is understood in a British education context, usually refers to the integration of children with dis/abilities into a mainstream school. However, rather than transform the school, inclusion often seeks to rehabilitate—to tune-up—the ‘divergent’ child’s noisy tendencies, making them more easily included. Music and the arts more broadly have long been instrumentalized as one way of achieving this transformation, relying on the assumption that there is something already inherently opposed to music—out-of-tune, or noisy—about that child. In this article, I think and compose with Neuroqueer(ing) Noise, a music research-creation project conducted in an early childhood classroom. I draw from affect and neuroqueer theories to consider how the instrumentalization of music as a way to include autistic children relies on the assumption that ‘they’ are already inherently unmusical. I consider how a deliberate attention to noise might help in unsettling ‘mere inclusion’: in effect, changing the mode we think-with in education, and opening us—researchers and educators—to momentarily say “No!” to ‘mere inclusion’. This article is of relevance to teachers working in early childhood classrooms, as well as to educational researchers interested in affect theories, crip-queer and neuroqueer theories, and neurodiversity, as well as sound- or arts-based research methods.
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