Leah Ulatowski shares honors project through reading


Danielle Livingston, Executive Editor

Lakeland College graduate Leah Ulatowski came back to campus on Feb. 18 for a reading to fulfill the community aspect of her honors project.

For her project, Ulatowski wrote a novella titled “Echolalia.”

The novella depicts the story of two sisters, Eden and Charlie, aiding their brother, Jacob, who has autism.

Echolalia is a symptom that is present in a few disorders, autism included, where the individual will often repeat a phrase said to them, without changing pronouns. For example, if someone said “Harry, put on your boots,” to someone with this symptom, Harry might reply, “Harry, put on your boots.”

Ulatowski explained she felt compelled to write this novella because she saw a “gap in modern literature.”

It is quite rare to see an autistic character, and when there is one, the autism is the complete focus of the story. Ulatowski wanted to write a fresh and realistic piece about how autism affects families.

In her novella, the focus is more on the family dynamic when one of the members has autism. Ulatowski wanted to make the novella as realistic as possible. She even added sections that might make some cringe, so that there is a better understanding of autism.

However, Ulatowski’s favorite moments in the piece highlight the wonder, gifts, creativity and good that come with autism.

This topic is something Ulatowski knows well; she has three brothers who have autism. Ulatowski said that the character Jacob in her novella is based off her own brother, also named Jacob.

She wrote this novella in the hopes that it would bring an original and more accurate presentation of autism to literature.

If you would like to read Ulatowski’s work, “Echolalia” can be found at https://www.wattpad.com/221975947-echolalia.