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VINE VOICEon January 31, 2007
Dr. Attwood is the leading expert on Asperger's Syndrome (AS) which is the spectrum partner to autism. This book is, at the time of this review his most current work. It is a shining gem and one of the standouts in autism/Asperger's (a/A) literature. If you are on the a/A continuum or know somebody who is, this book is your best friend. You will refer to it many times.

What makes this book all the more excellent and distinct is that Dr. Attwood discusses adults on the a/A spectrum as well. Autism in its myriad forms including AS does not clear up once a person hits adulthood. If you have it, it is with you for the long haul. Dr. Attwood's book and words of wisdom help lighten the load.

I have bought several copies of this book and have kept one for myself and gave the others to professionals in dire need of it. This book deserves a place of high honor and no parent; professional; person on the spectrum; anybody involved with a person/people on the spectrum should go without this book.

I was delighted to see a section devoted to intersensory marriage, that is of a neurotypical (NT) person to somebody on the a/A continuum. I would like to see more coverage of this much needed topic as AS presents a wide array of social challenges. Still, it is heartwarming; uplifting and encouraging to see more information devoted to intersensory marriages.

I agree with other reviewers who say Dr. Attwood is the best - I think we should propose a toast and raise our glasses to Dr. Attwood!
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on February 2, 2007
I have read lots of books on AS and reviewed many of them. What I am always warning is that in most cases any one book never gives a complete picture.

Tony Attwood's book though is about as complete a picture as you could get right now and is not only far superior to his first guide to the subject but to many others on the market.

If you read just one book on AS this should be it. It is easy to read, packed with information, and the author's respect and appreciation for people with Asperger's is evident on every page.

It's professional, it's factual, it's understanding, it's worth owning a copy.
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on February 13, 2007
This book is considerably different from Attwood's 1998 book, in that it's more addressed to the general public, and has much more material about adult Aspies. A great many scholarly papers and books have been distilled to make up a good portion of the material. There is a great deal of encouraging material about materials developed to help Aspies navigate society, such as the Social Stories and Comic Strip Conversations of Carol Gray, and the Interactive Guide to Emotions by Simon Baron-Cohen and his associates. Another stream of material is from the autobiographies of Aspies such as Liane Halliday Willie, Temple Grandin, Stephen Shore, Luke Jackson and Nita Jackson. It's great to have a human face on the phenomenon of AS.

There seems to be a running thread through the book that sensory sensitivity is a bigger deal for Aspies than previously considered. When I read the chapter on sensory sensitivity, I recalled autism books that suggested autism was a response to body chemistry equivalent to a non-stop drug trip. I grasped that the sensory sensitivity that Aspies feel is a milder version of what autistic people feel. I don't know if that's true, but that's what I grasped.

This book has a few chapters near the end dealing specifically with adult Aspies, chapters on career prospects and long-term relationships. This is a welcome addition.

This will be a good first book for some time to come for anyone with an Aspie in their life. It's not the last book, but it isn't really meant to be the last book. It's meant to be the State of the Aspie Union address for 2007. The message of the book is "We know more about AS than ever before. We know more about what works for Aspie kids than ever before. With a little help, Aspies can get along with society, leverage their talents and interests, and work around their weaknesses."
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon November 5, 2010
Tony Attwood has authored the comprehensive guide to Asperger's Syndrome (AS). It is exhaustively detailed and will appeal to those preferring a complete treatment. Attwood is a leading expert on autism spectrum disorders and well qualified to introduce this topic and explore it in depth.

The first two chapters introduce Hans Asperger's early observations of children with "mild autistic personality disorder" and their unique pattern of social, emotional, and linguistic differences. He identifies AS on a continuum of natural abilities between autism and normal ("neurotypical"). The relative advantages of seeking a confirmed AS diagnosis are explored along with possible misdiagnoses such as ADHD or a mood disorder. Newly diagnosed "Aspies" may slip into one of four common compensation strategies: reactive depression, escape into imagination, denial and arrogance, or imitation of a "normal" model. Readers are acquainted with formal diagnostic criteria for AS and several scales and questionnaires useful for diagnosis.

Chapters Three through Eleven discuss the distinguishing features of AS in depth. Each chapter covers research findings, individual differences, coping strategies, and AS strengths as well as challenges. AS individuals have different experiences with social understanding and friendship, teasing and bullying, "theory of mind" in understanding others, understanding and expressing emotion, hobbies or "special interests," language, cognitive ability, movement and coordination, and sensory sensitivity. The treatment of each feature is coherent and comprehensive. The summaries which follow each chapter are excellent outlines of key ideas and conclusions.

The closing four chapters explore the implications of AS for attending college, embarking on a career, and succeeding in a long-term romantic relationship. Usefulness of psychotherapy for AS individuals and their family members is also explored. This book's appendices are well-organized and add significant value. The glossary and reference section are extensive. A separate Resources section points readers to self-help materials, Asperger biographies and autobiographies, AS-focused fiction, and other useful books.

This book is a high-quality reference. Its only real weakness may be derived from its strengths. The book's coverage is so extensive that it is by necessity quite long. Any reader who feels a need to read all of it--as many of its target audience will--must spend significant time learning about all aspects of AS before grasping the overall picture. This is time well-spent, but readers might consider looking through all of the chapter summaries first to give themselves a working overview.
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on November 14, 2006
As a parent of a 9 year-old Asperger's child and a 7 year-old PDD-NOS child, I can say I have read a multitude of books and articles on Asperger's and autism. This book is by far the best, comprehensive book I have ever read regarding the subject.

It is easy to read, yet comprehensive, including strategies for parents and educators alike. I was particularly impressed with the chapter explaining "Theory of Mind". For those that don't understand the nature of Asperger's and High Functioning Autism, this chapter is very succinct in explaining how the brain of an Asperger's child or adult operates. I immediately copied this chapter (is that allowed??) for my son's new teacher and begged the principal to order a copy for the school!!

Thank you Tony Attwood for writing such a tremendous book that will certainly go a long way to shed light on Asperger's for educators and caretakers alike!!
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on April 13, 2010
The reader will finish with their mind full of intriguing information about Asperger's Syndrome. However, as an uncle to a twenty year old niece with AS, I didn't find what the information important to me. I wanted to know how I could improve my relationship with her. How should I talk to her? What do I say when she is always so negative? When she says, "I suck," as a fact, not wanting you to try to make her feel better, then what? When obvious truth is shrugged off, what can be said or done? The book seems like a great tool for parents seeking to help their child, but what if the child never got help and is now twenty like my niece? I'm searching for a book that has some advice or help in situations like these. I believe there must be many people longing for a practical book to help improve relationships with AS family members, and if not - somebody please write it!
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on July 7, 2007
Usually books on Asperger's Syndrome address the diagnosis and options for children: The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome broadens the field, using case studies and personal accounts from the author's own clinical experience to cover both adults and children, and all symptoms of the syndrome. From causes and diagnosis to differences in social interactions, perception, and mental health issues, The Complete Guide goes far beyond the usual Asperger's approach and is a 'must' for any serious health reference collection.
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on March 31, 2013
This book is a compendium of research on Asperger's. It was disappointing from an intellectual point of view because no rigorous attempt is made to evaluate sources and check for accuracy and assumptions. For instance, the author trusts Liane Willey's (Pretending to be Normal) self-assessment as having Asperger's syndrome and then turns each of her personality quirks into a symptom of Asperger's. This reasoning is circular. And now we have a generalized set of diagnostic criteria for girls that is based on Liane Willey's history and personality. It is alarming to note that Attwood's failure to evaluate sources has fundamentally directed how girls are diagnosed.

Most offensive, in his failure to scrutinize bias, the author runs the risk of incorporating Liane Willey's narcissism into the symptomatology of girl Aspies. A self-centered world like Ms. Willey's should not be at all confused with Asperger's and does Aspies a severe injustice.

The book is not comprehensive in the sense that it expends no effort on "Intense World" theory, which has been a prominent topic in ASD discussions for over five years. Instead, the book dwells on the "deficits" and inadequacies propagated by "Theory of Mind". Furthermore, issues reflecting the real female experience of Asperger's (and not a semi-fictionalized genre of memoir, e.g. Willey's) are generally omitted and adults are almost ignored. Because of this lack of attention, the book has the added effect of reinforcing the sexist notion that Asperger's is all about boy children.
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on May 13, 2007
Attwood has improved on his earlier excellent book on Asperger's. I have a 31 year old son that had not been accurately diagnosed until this year. He has had difficulty his entire life and, with this book, we have finally been able to understand him so much better and to begin to guide him towards a productive life.

With his insite, Attwood brings clarity & hope to these wonderful, yet often misunderstood folks and their families.
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on August 6, 2007
My son was diagnosed with a mild case of Aspergers. His therapist suggested this book. I am so glad I listened to him! This book is easy to understand and has helped us to understand our son and help him better. This book is a must for any family member(grandparents included). I am actually using it like a study book. I am highlighting parts that I find most applies to our son.
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