Customer Reviews: The Way I See It, Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger's
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on April 12, 2011
While attempting to write a review of Temple Grandin's new book, I found myself unwilling to let my sentences snap into a condensed `book review' mode because I felt I might deprive those who have not read any of her books yet of one of the most exciting aspects of her work: the ability to almost experience the world through the senses of a person with autism. To that end, I confess that my review below is really a kind of book report.
If you were to step into the world that people with autism experience, you could discover that the sound of a school fire alarm bell is so loud that it is genuinely painful. A trip to the mall could create sensory bombardment severe enough to shut down your ability to react to it. You might discover that the seams on your socks cause the contact skin area to feel like it is burning. Visually, you might see the face of a friend or relative appear like a two-dimensional Picasso-like mosaic. With autism, it's possible to experience the seemingly impossible - like seeing the color of an object before its shape can be identified or seeing black print on a white page jiggle and vibrate. Imagine being unable to see and hear at the same time - you may end up comprehending only parts of words in a string of words.
These are just some of the experiences of autistic people that are successfully communicated to "nuerotypicals" (those of us without autism) by Dr. Temple Grandin, (who is autistic) in this book. Made up of articles she has written, the text also shares her wisdom with those who care about (and for) people on the autism spectrum (i.e., the range - from mild to severe).
The causes of autism are now emerging with the help of modern technology, and Dr. Grandin explains that we now know that brains with autism show an early overgrowth of white matter (a part of the brain that functions like computer cables by linking the "processing" parts of the brain together). The overgrowth of white matter causes poor information processing that seems to express itself in three basic categories: sensory oversensitivity, perceptual problems, and difficulties organizing information. Needless to say, those on the autism spectrum not only have difficulties dealing with their immediate environments at times, but they also have problems socializing with others.
One of the most exciting new findings concerns a new way for screening for the disorder. It appears that measuring the circumference of an infant's head (before 12 months) can help detect abnormal enlargement which can be from the early overgrowth found in children who develop autism. She advises parents who may be concerned that that their child may be autistic to watch their child closely and take note of their reactions to the environment. She assures parents who do this that behavior patterns will give them helpful information. She warns parents with a newly diagnosed child to be careful about companies willing to promise them things that are not possible - as some are fraudulent, and they exploit the emotions of a distressed family. She opens up the world of autism in a learning context too, and we discover that behavior can be modified. We can now make some distinctions between autistic behavior - and rudeness, for example. She notes that rudeness is inexcusable, and she shares some amusing (but important) recollections of corrections to her own behavior.
Her articles about medication promote a common-sense strategy for parents and caregivers. She emphasizes the importance of being observant when it comes to medication, and she urges families to try non-medication methods first. (Sometimes improvement can come from a very simple idea). If medicine is introduced, she suggests giving one at a time so the effect can be judged. It is also important that benefits outweigh the risks. One of the most vital warnings that she offers reflects her experience: "newer is not better" when it comes to medicine and care strategies.
Until I read her articles, I did not realize that service dogs were available for companions and safety. (She gives contact information on this amazing service). I did not realize that new types of eyeglasses exist that can help with visual challenges and needs. (She strongly recommends the use of a developmental optometrist for the best results.)
Dedicated to those on the spectrum, Dr. Grandin's collection of articles offers a wealth of information to "neurotypicals" (a word which should be added to everyone's dictionary) and those on the spectrum. Her articles about social challenges offer excellent explanations for the reasons they can be a major concern, and she offers insightful strategies for coping with behavior issues.
The only weakness of the book is repetition on some topics because many articles cover similar ground in order for her to make certain points. Being patient through those infrequent dry patches, however, is worth it.
Dr. Grandin's recent induction into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame (described in the closing of The Way I See It) adds another award to many that she has justifiably earned. She has written several books about autism, and she often includes information (and web links) to help others. You can learn more about her at [...] or you can see a small clip of her speaking at [...]. This is an excellent book, and worth every minute spent reading it. Thanks for tolerating my book report mode!
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on June 17, 2011
I have to say that I've generally (and quite successfully) avoided reading anything by Temple Grandin until now. It's not that Temple is bad, quite the contrary, she's arguably the most influential and inspirational person on the spectrum.

My reasons for avoiding her work have all been about trying to stay "spoiler free" and figure things out for myself.

The first thing I have to say about this book is that it looks like an autobiography. When reviewing books, I usually don't read the back cover or anything past the title and subtitle on the front cover. I skip the table of contents and go straight to the book. This enables me to judge the book by its cover - and then by its contents. I felt that the book looked like an autobiography but I was very pleasantly surprised. This book is a collection of Temple's essays and interviews and it covers a much broader area of study that any biographical work could.

The fact that the essays are grouped into categories helps too. They seem to follow a logical progression and they feel like they naturally go together. It helps that the essays are short too because this means that they stay on topic and that you, the reader, will often feel ready to start a new chapter without a break.

There are 63 essays, 14 of which are new in this second edition. The average length of each essay is about five pages. They cover the broad areas of diagnosis, education, senses, non-verbal autism, behaviour, social functioning, medications, research and adult issues including employment. I don't think that I've seen another book which covers the spectrum so comprehensively.

The book contains some amazing discussions including; choosing a guide dog for individuals with autism, the evaluation of medications, different styles of thinking in autism, bullying, perfection issues, the similarities between autistic and scientist brains (really) and choosing a college.

Occasionally Temple's age shows through, particularly when she's discussing manners or video games but even so, many of her points are quite true and well argued. There's also a feeling of TMI (too much information) when she discusses her own health experience but again, the positive is that you know that she's holding nothing back. Even Temple's thoughts on medications are interesting. There seems to be no ulterior motivation here and Temple doesn't hold back on condemning certain medications while praising others. It's all very interesting.

I was totally blown away by this book. I was amazed at how often Temple's own experience and feelings echoed my own but at the same time she opened my world to possibilities that I hadn't even considered. In one chapter for example, she talks about the problems that many people on the spectrum have with Menieres disease (tinitis). I have a major issue with ringing in my ears but I'd always assumed that it was to do with my deafness - maybe it isn't.

There's absolutely no reason why everyone on the spectrum shouldn't have this book. It's the best I've seen. Truly. In fact, the only reason I can think of to not read it is my own... being "spoiler free". Of course, now that I've more than scraped the surface of autism and aspergers syndrome, Temple's book has given me a whole lot of new directions to explore.

It's the most comprehensive book about the spectrum (from inside) that I've ever read and it covers everything from babyhood all the way through to adulthood. There's no reason not to get it.
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on August 13, 2011
Dr. Temple Grandin is my hero! Her book has provided so much insight for me with my own son that is an Aspie. Her "tell it like it is" writing style leaves no questions unanswered for those of us who are affected by autism. The fact that she is also an autistic individual shows how there are ways of becoming outstanding individuals even with autism. She addresses everything from education to medication. I personally feel that ALL EDUCATORS should read this book to realize that even though Aspie's are high functioning, they do have issues that regular wired individuals can not understand. I say that from the stand point that the free public education system seems have no clue what autism is; which is shown from the tests they use to evaulate for autism.

**I hope that I have the opportunity to see Dr. Grandin speak. She has changed my relationship with my son forever! I was actually able to "feel" the things that he feels every day. Thank you!
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on July 3, 2011
The subject matter of this book is not every day reading but if one is truly
interested in finding out what being autistic is this book! Temple
Grandin is TRULY A SUCCESS story. She fought through her disability to receive
two college degrees and to be a master in the world of math and speaking! I have
been a disability advocate for many years and showed her film to my students who
were glued to the screen, never spoke a sound during the viewing but had MUCH to
contribute in questions and interest afterwards. My goal as their instructor is
for them to be well prepared going into the medical field.
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on April 25, 2011
I have 7 years old daughter with mild Autism/Asperger diagnosed and I'm very blessed everyday to learn what she has learned.

It was a very Great experience having this book !
There's a lot of details that I have learned from this book and that make me understand more about my daughter's needs and thoughts.
With this book, I opened my eyes and mind to see the world as she sees it. Just Like Ms. Temple Grandin said : THE WAY I SEE IT !
Thanks, Ms. Grandin!
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"The Way I See It" is a compilation of articles that Dr. Temple Grandin published in the AUTISM ASPERGER'S DIGEST magazine from 2000 to 2011 (be sure to get the revised and expanded edition which includes new articles that weren't in the first edition and also updated introductions to the articles).

My recommendation is that you buy/read this book in conjunction with Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism. Both books are written by Grandin and give an overall look at her life with autism. There is some crossover of material but also some material that is just in one or the other of the books.

Both books are written clearly, are easy to understand, are comprehensive looks at living with autism (she also addresses Asperger's) and practical ideas for discipline, education, planning social and career goals, medications, nonverbal children and adults on the spectrum, soft restraint, teasing and bullying - and the list goes on and on.

I have read both books and am reviewing both. I would be hard-pressed to have to pick just one. They are both THAT good.
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on July 4, 2011
Temple is a blessing to annyone needing an understanding of her type of Autism. Temple is a prolific
writer, and fantasic advocate for people with ASD. The spectrum is as broad as the people with it, and this
book is an important resource, and great read.
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on May 13, 2011
I have not finished this book yet, but can comment on the first 204 pgs. Dr. Grandin gives abundant insight into to thoughts and actions/rimes & reasons to individuals w/ autism. Dr. Grandin provided step by step instructions from toddler-adult from early intervention method-biomedical. I felt this book accurately touched upon the major topics in autism. One frustration I had w/ this book has nothing to do w/ the literature itself.....there are 50+ pgs missing. It goes up to pg 204 then jumps back to pgs 157-204, from there it jumps to pg 253-end of book. I have tried contacting Future Horizons for the last two wks and have yet to hear back from them. So just a heads up check your book when it arrives in mail, I waited over a month to start reading book so 30 day return policy was up.
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on July 26, 2011
After taking on my autistic nephew after the death of my dear sister in law, this book has been almost like a bible.
It helps me to understand, comprehend, and act accordingly to the many needs my sweet dear nephew has. Things that others may view as "ticks" are in reality a sensory issue.
This book brings to light many actions and sensory issues I never even realized my nephew had. The knowledge gained from this book and its references has helped me fill my nephews life with things that are appropriate and help keep his mind learning and active. I am hoping within the next few years my nephew will possibly be able to attend a college or university that has the diverse teachings required of many autistic children and young adults.
I highly recommend this book so much that prior to returning it to my local library, I ordered this copy from Amazon so I could have all the references at my fingertips.
Excellent book!
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on December 8, 2011
In a lifetime, there are only a handful of people with the wisdom to see what is actually there and help millions of people who are suffering from a condition that doesn't have any cure. Dr. Grandin is one such person. Before she started speaking about her own experiences of autism, doctors and teachers were at a loss as to how to deal with people who have autism. Her book lays out the symptoms, causes and treatment in such a simple manner that one is left to wonder why we didn't realize it sooner. It's a miracle that she had the right people in her life at the right time. The result is that people who have autism now have a voice and treatment programs to help them cope with daily life. This book is a must-read for all people personally affected by autism and people who want to join in helping make lives better.
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