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81 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening the nypicals who seek to understand Aspergians
John Elder Robison has spent his life teaching himself to compensate for his own lack of social skills due to living with Asperger's Syndrome. His first book, "Look Me in the Eye" includes stories of hilarity and pain, sometimes at his own expense. The response to these stories has surely far surpassed his expectations, as he quickly becomes looked to as "the guide" to...
Published on March 23, 2011 by Sandra W. Sutherland

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Asperger's Syndrome
Seeking information about this syndrome, which is still 'in process' as to its symptoms, effects and outcomes. Interesting perspective is presented.
Published 5 months ago by Marilyn Carlson-Swafford


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81 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening the nypicals who seek to understand Aspergians, March 23, 2011
By 
Sandra W. Sutherland "Author/Publisher" (San Diego, via Napa, Carmel, CA, Bellingham, WA, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian with Practical Advice for Aspergians, Misfits, Families & Teachers (Hardcover)
John Elder Robison has spent his life teaching himself to compensate for his own lack of social skills due to living with Asperger's Syndrome. His first book, "Look Me in the Eye" includes stories of hilarity and pain, sometimes at his own expense. The response to these stories has surely far surpassed his expectations, as he quickly becomes looked to as "the guide" to parents' hopes and teachers' dreams. Seeing the need for more information, Robison offers to others the best understanding he has developed about autistic thinking throughout a life span in his new book, "Be Different".

"Be Different" offers deeper explanations of this thinking - at least as Robison has experienced it - as a child and as an adult. He reflects on how much easier his own life might have been if others had been there to guide him rather than punish him for unknown transgressions. In an attempt to enlighten those who are trying to desperately to understand, but who are handicapped by being "nypical" (non-Aspergians), he has answered some of the questions asked of him by the many caregivers and loved ones who now look to him for this guidance plus much more.

Robison has a knack for humor as he describes and analyzes events with explanations for his blank stares and misunderstandings due to differences in language interpretation. He refutes the idea that lack of response means lack of feelings, in fact, he states that the truth is quite the opposite. Some of the issues he discusses are as problematic to "nypicals" as they were to him, and his salient points apply to many children who are misunderstood by those who make assumptions instead of making the effort.

This book is a "must read" for anyone involved with loving or serving these children and who might recognized a hitherto misunderstood adult. It also might serve to enlighten related persons who need to forgive those who are not responsible for their condition. Robison's kind and wise views give heart from the heart.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Unique Perspective on Being Different, April 7, 2011
This review is from: Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian with Practical Advice for Aspergians, Misfits, Families & Teachers (Hardcover)
As an occupational therapist and parent of a young man with asperger's syndrome I have read numerous memoirs that never fail to reinforce how unique each person's challenges are. John has already established that he is a very good writer (it apparently runs in the family) and again shares intimate experiences and thoughts about his inner life and many coping strategies.

I tried reading some excerpts to my son who refused to listen. He does not like to hear the words "autism" or "aspergers"- illustating that while some "aspies" find solice in sharing their growing self-awareness, others just struggle to fit in the best they can and don't want to be reminded that they are indeed "different". Some of them will love this book, others won't.

Despite being a "nyptical", I found this book to be very readable, although I had occasional dejavu feelings that I had read some of the anectdotes before. The most striking one for me was the story of John's car accident. He was able to focus on taking steps to rescue a survivor without feeling the horror that might paralyze someone else. My son explained to me that his same ability will enable him to work in a medical setting amongst the sick and dying.

"Being Different" is not the kind of book that mesmerizes- but it is a pleasure to read one chapter a night and then process it over the next morning's commute. This book has a different focus than "Look Me In the Eye" did- with greater emphasis on how the author's emotional and sensory make-up makes him deal with life the way he does. Readers who are just learning about their Asperger's diagnosis or are learning how to understand their children's needs will appreciate this book. It is yet, one more insightful memoir packed with advice and resources.

Barbara A. Smith, M.S., author of The Recycling Occupational Therapist
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fills a niche no other book has - fantastic resource!, March 30, 2011
By 
This review is from: Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian with Practical Advice for Aspergians, Misfits, Families & Teachers (Hardcover)
We have a big family with lots of "Aspie" traits, although most of us are very high-functioning and would fall through the cracks, diagnosis-wise. This book is a wonderful resource for us.
Mr. Robison explains certain behaviors so succinctly, we were laughing out loud in recognition and relief at having them explained so well. This book is invaluable to anyone interested in
the way the Aspie brain operates, and who would like some good advice on how to make positive use of this special way of thinking.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book about aspergers that I really enjoyed reading and sharing!, April 19, 2011
This review is from: Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian with Practical Advice for Aspergians, Misfits, Families & Teachers (Hardcover)
Have you wondered what it really meant to be wired differently? I have read many books that gave me the physiological difference and explanations, but nothing had given me such great insight to the mind of an Aspergian than John Elder Robison's new book "Be Different." So here goes my review.

This book offers great, practical advice to parents, teachers, and care-givers of Asperger kids. For me, the memorable part came when he covered aspie's lack of empathy.
"Don't worry, he doesn't even notice," he heard people around him say. And this was his response.

"I may seem robotic and mechanical sometimes, but there is nothing mechanical or cold about my internal feelings...I am just as sensitive as anyone to snide remarks and criticism. I cried inside fifty years ago, and I still do today."

Well, that's where I cringed. Even though I understood that my son's lack of empathy didn't equal to not having feelings, I did the samething to my son. I didn't mean to brush him aside or make him feel invisible; I was just too used to having him not pay any attention to me and what was happening around him. Now, I truly am sorry.

Besides teaching me many good lessons, this book actually left feeling good. I put it down with the better knowledge of Asperger and a little more understanding of my son. As he told through this book, embracing being Asperger doesn't mean you can't be positive.

Okay, let me take off my "blogger" hat and say what's really on my mind. Obviously, there's so much more in this book which can't all be mentioned. I just like to say that I LOVE reading, mostly fiction. But this book was the most delicious non-fiction I've ever read, well, if non-fiction could be delicious. It's worth your time, I promise:)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks to John for continuing to share his story!, April 25, 2011
By 
Amazon Customer (Willow Grove, PA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian with Practical Advice for Aspergians, Misfits, Families & Teachers (Hardcover)
In Be Different, John Elder Robinson provides a vision of hope for individuals and their families living with autism spectrum diagnosis. This book was one I felt very confident recommending to my 16 year old son with AS, as he was looking for information that wasn't going to 'tell him what he was doing wrong and how to fix it.' This is a very empowering book, and was a catalyst in my own evolving journey to embrace the gifts that AS has to offer me personally and as a parent.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ!, April 17, 2011
This review is from: Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian with Practical Advice for Aspergians, Misfits, Families & Teachers (Hardcover)
"I believe those of us with Asperger's are here for a reason, and we have much to offer. This book will help you bring out those gifts." John Elder Robison

I couldn't agree more. John Elder Robison has shared one of his many gifts with us by writing the invaluable guide Be Different.

Using stories from his own life, both humorous and poignant, John Robison provides us with a rare glimpse into the Aspergian mind. With a great deal of self-reflection and insight, he explains his own behaviors and his reasons for adapting those he felt were obstacles to being accepted. His message, however, is not to change whom you are in order to be like others. Instead, he advises those with Asperger's and others who think differently to embrace their differences and the unique gifts that they bring. By focusing on ability and not disability, and using one's strengths to help compensate for weaknesses, individuals who previously found themselves struggling in the world of nypicals (Robison's word for neurotypicals) can find success and happiness. Be Different reminds us that difference does not have to be synonymous with disability.

This is one of the best books I've ever read, not only on the topic of Asperger Syndrome, but in general. I highly recommend this book and the author's first book, Look Me in the Eye, for practical advice, inspiration and hope.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Power of "Us"--A Must Read for Nypical and Aspies Alike, April 26, 2011
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This review is from: Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian with Practical Advice for Aspergians, Misfits, Families & Teachers (Hardcover)
John Elder Robison's new book Be Different should be required reading for students studying "diversity issues." Through laugh out loud stories and moving insights John sheds light on the new frontier of "neurodiversity." Students who are neurotypical (or nypicals as John calls them) will learn about a different way of seeing the world and gain insights into their own perspective and rigidities. People with Asperger Syndrome will have the wonderful experience of hearing from a member of their own community about how to manage the challenges of being different in an often threatening andfrightening neurotypical-dominated world. The message of the book is universal, however; know your strengths, figure out how to fit in enough so that you can achieve your goals, and appreciate other people's differences. Those differences, John argues, are what change the world. Thank you for writing this book.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish I Could have read this 40 years ago!, April 14, 2011
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This review is from: Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian with Practical Advice for Aspergians, Misfits, Families & Teachers (Hardcover)
Someone please invent a time machine and go back to the early 70's so you can hand me a copy of Be Different when I was about 13. While you're there, take my mom a copy, too, because.Mr. Robinson's insights would have spared us both a lot of grief. Most of the literature about growing up that I received as a young person was like getting turn-by-turn directions from New York to California -- when you live in Florida. Those books and pamphlets did not meet me where I was, because I was not the "typical teen" that most such books address. To find a book by someone who had similar issues and yet managed to thrive would have been truly inspiring.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super helpful, April 25, 2011
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This review is from: Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian with Practical Advice for Aspergians, Misfits, Families & Teachers (Hardcover)
This book has been so helpful to me as a mother of a child with Asperger's and as an educator. I have used some of the strategies with my student, particularly the facial expression mirroring. I could never understand why this student had a big smile on his face while I was talking about a behavior with him. After reading this book I asked the student to mirror my facial expressions and explained the importance of mirroring an expression with a teacher, I feel confident he will remember this strategy when dealing with a teacher who doesn't understand Autism. I hope my son will read this book when he is ready and see that his future is wide open! Thanks for being an inspiration Mr. Robison!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For anyone who has ever felt different or who has a child who is different, April 7, 2011
This review is from: Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian with Practical Advice for Aspergians, Misfits, Families & Teachers (Hardcover)
I applaud Mr. Robison for his candid, humorous portrait of what it can mean to "Be Different." Particularly important is the message that being different, while difficult at times, can be a blessing. As a parent of a child with Asperger's Syndrome, I found this book to be insightful. It shone a ray of light into my son's life, allowing him to be thankful for his differences and to genuinely celebrate them. Run - do not walk - to purchase this book! It is a great investment for anyone's library, but particularly for those who want to better understand the messages of hope, acceptance and self-love.
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