- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (April 1, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0544227735
- ISBN-13: 978-0544227736
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (332 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed Reprint Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Grandin and Panek explore neuroimaging, genetics, and brain science in this book that looks at what causes autism and how it can be treated and diagnosed. Though coauthored, the narrative is largely told from Grandin's point of view, with many first-person references. This filtering of the prose through Grandin allows narrator Andrea Gallo to read in a more personal manner that represents Grandin's singular voice. Gallo shifts to a more critical tone when she reads sections in which Grandin and Panek offer commentary on current practices related to the treatment of autism. A fascinating listen and a winning performance from Gallo. A Houghton Mifflin Harcourt hardcover. (Apr.) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Grandin is the face of autism. Because of her work, the general public is now aware of what was until fairly recently a strange, disturbing, and essentially unknowable condition. In her latest book, Grandin not only discusses her own experiences with autism but also explains the latest technological advances in the study of the disorder, including the genetics of autism. The symptoms that she displayed at a young age—destructive behavior, inability to speak, sensitivity to physical contact, fixation on spinning objects—are now considered classic indicators of the disorder, though she was diagnosed as having brain damage. Things have changed since then, of course. She discusses when autism was first diagnosed (in 1943), but she makes clear from the start that her priority here is to encourage an accurate diagnosis for the disorder and promote improved treatments for sensory problems associated with autism, since difficulty in the latter can often be debilitating. She discusses different ways of thinking and even includes lists of potential jobs for those people among us who think differently. An important and ultimately optimistic work. --June Sawyers --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
These two topics are interwoven throughout the book, and I agree with other reviewers here that this book probably has a wider audience than what the authors may have originally surmised. However, because I have read so much with regard to autism, potential readers of this book should be aware that the criticisms from autistic readers that Grandin mentions in this book about her past assertions with regard to how "thinking in pictures" is a common trait across autistic individuals, might cease but be redirected toward the fact that Grandin heavily concentrates on high functioning autism, not the entire spectrum. The DSM-5 may no longer include different degrees of autism, but even Grandin explains her reservations about DSM diagnoses. Potential readers just need to keep in mind that the vast majority of her focus here is on those with high functioning autism like herself.
That said, interestingly enough Grandin is probably among the most optimistic writers with regard to the potential of those with autism. In one of the best brief written summaries of the history of the DSM, for example, she writes the following words of encouragement for those with autism in their lives: "Unlike a diagnosis for step throat, the diagnostic criterion for autism has changed with each new edition of the DSM. I warn parents, teachers, and therapists to avoid getting locked into the labels. They are not precise. I beg you, do not allow a child or an adult to become defined by a DSM label." For those of us that have had to battle ICD codes while seeking treatment for our children, we realize that this categorization is probably not going to go away any time soon, but it is about time that someone of Grandin's stature is questioning their long-term validity.
As a parent, I especially appreciated chapter 1 ("The Meanings of Autism"), in which Grandin discusses the history of the autism diagnosis and reflects on the original diagnosis that she was given, "brain damage", chapter 4 ("Hiding and Seeking"), in which sensory disorders, an oft neglected area in research, are discussed in relationship to autism, and how Grandin came to realize that there exists great variety, chapter 5 ("Failing on the Spectrum"), in which she furthers her earlier thoughts on the DSM, and chapter 7 ("Rethinking in Pictures"), in which Grandin writes that "of course autistic brains don't all see the world the same way - despite what I once thought" after realizing that those with autism exhibit multiple rather than one type of visualization.
Although I enjoy the conversational style of this book, I also especially appreciated the way she shares her thought process in chapter 5. Following her thoughts on what she refers to as two phases of autism the diagnosis (1943 to 1980, and 1980 to 2013), she discusses how it is time for another shift. "Thanks to advances in neuroscience and genetics, we can begin Phase Three in the history of autism, an era that returns to the Phase One search for a cause, but this time with three big differences." She later furthers this thought by writing: "Phase Two thinking says, 'Let's group people together by diagnosis.' Phase Three thinking says, 'Forget about the diagnosis. Forget about labels. Focus on the symptom.' Focus on the cause."
"Instead of - or at least in addition to - assigning human subjects to studies through a common autism diagnosis, we should be assigning them by main symptom. I sometimes see researchers pooh-poohing self-reports. But as I learned from examples like Carly Fleischmann's description of feeling overstimulated in the coffee shop, I think what researchers should be doing is looking at the self-reports very carefully as well as eliciting them in new ways. They they should be putting the subjects into studies based on those self-reports." Bravo! In my opinion, this is the climax of the book. Concentration on the individual. Looking at every case of autism as an individual will lead to the broadest spectrum possible, a holistic analyses that includes the brain science that the authors discuss, and continues to encompass the entire being, both for classic and regressive cases of autism.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a child within the Autism spectrum or suspects their child to be. Take appropriate steps to coordinate a learning style that fits their needs as well as professional assistance. Temple Grandin is a survivor who speaks from experience and research while living in the sociocultural generalization of a consensus view from those who have not had to live with Autism. The insight she provides makes sense and points out the systematic patterns of data defining the facts and highlighting science behind Autism. Some reviews point out flaws in the readings but if data is changing, the results are also changing. In order to regulate, you must be persistent and learn to develop your own system to make the best out of your life by driving yourself.
This book is interesting and detailed, but hard to understand because its in uses mostly technical medical terms and doesn't explain them as well as I wish it did. Temple is still my go to author on the subject, though. I just wish she'd dumb it down a bit more.
Thank you Temple for everything you do!