Seeing Feelingly is a scavenger hunt game where readers of both classic and contemporary works of fiction uncover the marginalized history of neurodivergent responses to literature, broadening our common definition of reading and showcasing the concept of neurodiversity.
Pictured is how people discover a bookmark in a text. First, someone makes a bookmark with a QR code that leads other people to art they have created. Second, the maker of the bookmark places the bookmark in the book with a checkmark next to the line that inspired their art. Lastly, someone finds the bookmark and scans the QR code with the camera app on their phone, revealing the art.
A Game that Welcomes Neurodiversity
As many brain research studies have shown, autistic people have a far more sensory response to language than neurotypical people. Although the stereotype is that autistic people and people with other mental/cognitive disabilities cannot fully appreciate literature and literary devices such as metaphor, the fact of the matter is that they just sense them differently. They “see it feelingly.”
Seeing Feelingly was inspired by mental/cognitive disability advocates and research on the way neurodivergent people experience texts. Neurodivergent people have contributed to this project by making artwork, recording soundbites, and writing poems, prose, or criticism that responds to the question of how they experience their favorite books. Then, they put their experiences on bookmarks like the one that you have likely found. We hope that you will share your bookmark discovery with others by using #seeingfeelingly on Instagram, along with a location tag indicating where you found the bookmark, so that we all can experience this way of reading our favorite books.
Seeing Feelingly argues that this way of reading is not less than the neurotypical way of experiencing texts. Rather, this project shows how the sensory perception of texts lacks in neurotypical readers, and thus is in need of augmentation. Our scavenger hunt reanimates our favorite texts in ways that make them more enjoyable and more profound.
The guiding principle of Seeing Feelingly is that we all should try to read with someone else’s eye, for when see how someone else experiences a book, then we are getting closer to understanding our common humanity. And meanwhile, we may just learn a thing or two about some great books.
See how we appreciate the unique experience of neurodivergent people as an opportunity to read books in new and interesting ways.
Whether you are neurodivergent or not, or if you are someone interested in using Seeing Feelingly as a pedagogical tool, see how you can get involved.
See how others have represented their experiences with their favorite books. Once you are ready, try making your own bookmark.