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It's estimated that one in almost a hundred people are diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum but there is far more hope for them today than ever before thanks to groundbreaking new research.
In this fascinating and highly readable book, Temple Grandin offers her own experience as an autistic person alongside remarkable new discoveries about The Autistic Brain, as well as genetic research. She also highlights long-ignored sensory problems as well as the need to treat autism symptom by symptom, rather than with an umbrella diagnosis. Most exciting of all, she argues that raising and educating children on the autistic spectrum needs to be less about focusing on their weaknesses, and more about fostering their unique contributions.
I had the great pleasure of being selected to review this book recently. The subject is all pretty new to me. I have known people on the spectrum through my life. People in either in my personal life or at work, who think differently or react differently especially socially. Even so, I didn't know a whole lot about it.
I was first introduced to Temple Grandin through a Facebook page I follow about mighty girls. From the article I read about her, I was very interested in learning more about her and autism as well. In this book, you get right inside her brain both literally and figuratively. She talks about having MRIs and what different parts of her brain have been able to tell us about autism, but then also gives you the pictures so you can reference the words with the visual.
She is pretty candid about how the science world has summed up ASD since she was born and the way her own thoughts on the subject have grown and changed over time. The ASD through history portion was really interesting, to see how science moved from thinking it was psychological to realising it was neurological. The things we know now about the subject eclipses what we knew 10 - 20 years ago and I'm sure we will know even more in the next 10 - 20 years.
The language in this book is fairly accessible. It does take a bit of concentration to read though. Some of the sections about the medical side get a bit heavy, though she always tries to tie it back to her personal experience which helps break it up a bit. It is a bit of a marriage between memoir and text book. If text books are not your thing, then maybe select a different book about Autism.
I was personally hooked in the first 5 pages which is rare for me for this style of book. I learnt a ridiculous amount about Temple's experience and was just immediately taken with her. It was just the little things, like how she learnt to hear words properly with a speech therapist. You don't even realise that hearing could be a 100% pass and still be affected by the brain's ability to interpret. I'd recommend this for teachers, medical people and anyone who has an interest in the subject.
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Mark Twain (1835-1910)