Thinking in Pictures and Other Reports from My Life with Autism 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
- Item Weight : 1.05 pounds
- Hardcover : 222 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0385477929
- ISBN-13 : 978-0385477925
- Product Dimensions : 6.75 x 1.25 x 9.5 inches
- Publisher : Doubleday; 1st Edition (November 1, 1995)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #977,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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For the second half I had to continually keep reminding myself that she is talking about her life and her own interests. She devotes two entire chapters to animals, their thoughts and emotions and connecting with them, and while it was very interesting, I obviously do not have the passion for that particular topic that she does. Some of those chapters I felt like I had to plod through a bit.
Overall I got out of this book what I thought I would—a better understanding of differences in thought pattern. I’m glad I read it.
I "get" animals and frankly relate to many of them faster and more easily than to other humans. That my dog was my best friend was more of an understatement than I'd even conceived until she died, such had been our bond and ability to communicate. Meanwhile, I still struggle to interact with other people, to understand boundaries and the elaborate customs and assumptions taken for granted by neurotypical individuals.
I'd been waffling over whether I should pursue therapy and an Asperger diagnosis, whether it was accurate or I was being a hypochondriac, until I read THIS book. I have no doubt anymore. I know now that I am not a failed intellectual, merely an obstinate genius unwilling to conform. That's what people told me all my life and although it didn't feel accurate, I internalized the derision. I know, now, that I'm not as screwed up as I thought. And with the research I have continued, I can now see how various traits considered components on the autism scale run in my family, sometimes residing only a couple or few in an individual, sometimes so many of these traits that the person is socially incapacitated. I feel I'm on the road to liberation. Would that I were not in my forties, already, when discovering these things. I highly recommend this book to anybody that knows someone that appears to be socially inept or seems to fail to live up to their intellectual potential, and especially to anybody that feels they are that person.
Top reviews from other countries
Her invention of a machine to calm herself, to give herself a steady pressure around her body she found applied in a similar way to the cattle she designing restraints for.
Temple's ability to manipulate videos in her mind was another interesting insight into her world.
Anyone who has any contact with an autistic person should read this book by someone who's spent a lifetime learning about herself.
Grandin is at her best when writing of her personal experiences, which give an insight into autism that can probably not be reached in any way other than hearing the voice of people with this condition (or, more rightly, spectrum of condition). Similarly her capacity to understand others with autism means that she can provide insight from beyond her own direct experience, and I was enthralled by her description of one friend with autism who took years to understand that the meaningless noises his speech therapist insisted on making were in fact a way of conveying meaning to another mind.
She's less engaging when writing about the medicine behind autism and how it might be treated. Whilst a fact-based mind like hers will be drawn to this, it makes for less insightful writing and is possibly double-edged because she's not a medical professional and some of the information in the latter sections may not have the authority it appears to show. it's dIfficult to be confident on that statement because a common theme within the book is that existing medicine and psychology is at an early stage when helping people with autism, but it would probably be wise to treat this part of the book as a useful source of information rather than a definitive guide on how therapies can or should develop.
It's a fascinating book for anyone that could be hugely helpful to anyone with a family member on the autistic spectrum, but the best of it is Grandin herself.
In this book Temple Grandin gives a very clear impression of what it like to think and experience the World and other people with her kind of intensely visual thinking style, and she also offers insights into other kinds of autistic thinking styles, and by contrast into neurotypical thinking and - because it is her area of professional expertise - the insights her autism gives her into the minds of animals, particularly farm animals.
She gives plenty of examples from her own life and experience to illustrate her points, and the book has a number of photographs of Grandin from childhood to womanhood, including a photograph of her in the hugging machine she famously designed, along with photos of some of Grandin's own blueprints for humane and calming cattle-handling systems.
If you yourself are on the autistic spectrum or if a friend or loved one is, this will be a particularly fascinating and enlightening book, written from the inside by a very intelligent woman who has given many years of thought to understanding herself, her condition, and how to explain it to others.
I have given it only four stars because it has one minor fault::it lacks biographical coherence. Temple Grandin offers particular biographical details anecdotally and piece-meal to support specific points and observations she is making but she never gives even a brief over-arching narrative of her complete life, which sometimes makes the book feel a bit fractured..
That said, this is a very positive and empowering book with absolutely nothing of the "misery memoir" about it and I recommend it very strongly.