The Hero’s Journey in special-needs parenting: Two original playscripts



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Raising a special-needs child can be a frightening ordeal for those parents who are burdened with the task. The uncertainty that comes with the experience, the judgmental eyes of those unfamiliar with the situation, and the complications, both legal and social, resulting from ignorance all serve to make the special needs experience a nightmare for the parents whose job it is to ensure their child has the necessary skills to survive in a world which perhaps isn’t so welcoming to someone in their situation. Speaking from personal experience, this parental journey is full of a myriad of roadblocks and hidden dangers which serve only to complicate the parents’ ordeal. However, if one were to step back and analyze their situation, one would see that this journey, like most journeys, follows a path. In this dissertation, I compare this journey, this path, to the Hero’s Journey expressed by lecturer Joseph Campbell in his landmark work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. In his book, Campbell sets down the steps that the heroes undergo in their respective tales. I argue in my writing that the parents’ journey closely follows the journey of Campbell’s mythological hero, thereby giving hope to special needs parents that there is a path to follow, guiding them towards a better existence. The steps in the Hero’s Journey mirror the steps in a special needs parents’ journey, and close scrutiny of these steps will yield beneficial results. I put my argument into practice with two playscripts which tell the stories of special needs families who experience their own mythological journeys while struggling to come to terms with their situations. My dissertation will correlate the stories told in these scripts with both Campbell’s Hero and real-life experiences, so that special needs families will have a better understanding of how to best address their own personal trials.



Autism, Script, Theatre, Therapy, Hero's Journey, Monomyth, Campbell, Vogler