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Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism Paperback – July 19, 2016
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"With the precision of a consummate scientist combined with the wisdom of a sage, Barry leverages his deep understanding of people with autism, revealing that individuals on the spectrum are just like everyone else - but perhaps just more so. This unique book is a must read for anyone desiring a deeper understanding, through the lens of a seasoned and mindful professional in the field of autism, answering the bigger question what it means to be human".
Stephen Mark Shore, Ed.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor of Special Education at Adelphi University
Autistic Self-Advocate, Internationally renowned author of 4 books,consultant
"Autism was initially described in 1943, and now with Uniquely Human, it is rediscovered 70 years later as a shared human experience. Autism is part of every community, and this tour of autism changes everything. Now, autism makes sense, and tomorrow looks a whole lot brighter for everyone. Stop what you are doing. Read this book. It's a masterpiece".
- Carol Gray, Educator, Developer of Social Stories, International Consultant to Individuals with Autism
"This is by far the most empathic, wise, and insightful book I have ever read about autism, and is one of the most empathic and wise books I've ever read about being human. I can't overstate the transformative power of this book: it breaks open the heart, extends vision where there was only fog, and inspires keen insight where there was only reflexive response."
-- Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, Vice President and Dean's Chair, American JewishUniversity, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and parent
"Uniquely Human is an amazing book! It will change our perception and understanding of autism. Barry Prizant has an intuitive understanding of autism spectrum disorders and the wisdom of four decades of experience. I strongly recommend this book to parents and professionals, and congratulate Barry for writing the book that needed to be written".
--Tony Attwood, Ph.D. Author of The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome
"I have read a million and one books on autism. "Uniquely Human" is the best book I have ever read, hands down...the paradigm of autism books. Thank you Barry for this incredible gift!!!!
- Navah Paskovitz, Mother of three boys with autism, parent advocate
About the Author
Barry M. Prizant, PhD, CCC-SLP, is among the world's leading authorities on autism, with more than forty years of experience as a scholar, researcher, and international consultant. He is an adjunct professor at Brown University and coauthor of The SCERTS Model: A Comprehensive Educational Approach, now being implemented in more than a dozen countries. Dr. Prizant has published more than 120 articles and chapters and has received many awards for his career in supporting autistic persons and related disabilities and their families. Dr. Prizant lives in Cranston, Rhode Island, with his wife, Dr. Elaine Meyer.
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So many therapists (both in school and private operations) don't "get it". They focus on the deficits and "extinguishing behaviors" when they should be asking "why is that behavior present"? My wife and I finally figured much of it out after trying therapy after therapy and enduring years of meltdowns and stress.
The "answers" for our son were
1) Our son has sensory over-responsivity. Parties, amusement parks, recess are all massively over-stimulating and stressful. We don't avoid these things but know he can handle only a few hours.
2) He has some challenges reading and absolutely hated to do it UNTIL we discovered how to use his "enthusiasms" e.g. Star Wars, Minecraft, World War 2, to get his engagement
3) He can relate better to folks if they meet him in "his world" - from there he comes to trust you and is willing to enter your world.
We just finished a two-week trip to Europe where we employed lots of sensory supports (e.g. ear muffs), using a rental car rather than public transportation (which is loud, somewhat 'unpredictable' and out of our control), we alternated "big" sensory days (e.g. amusement parks) with "low" sensory days - watching TV and going to the pool. And he had NOT ONE meltdown.
We had to discover all of these strategies by ourselves largely.
Having more folks like Dr. Prizant we could have discovered these strategies MUCH earlier.
My one suggestion is that the book seems to under-estimate the effort that comes with convincing (often intransigent and overworked) schools to try new approaches. That more than anything was the most stressful part of the journey - because that's where our son receives the most "therapy" time. And if you can't get those changes done you have to either move schools, move district or home-school. In the end, the school system we attended could not put him in a smaller classroom with peers so we had to involve a professional advocate and lawyers to get an outplacement.
Sometimes you can be "positive" minded as much as you want but the school administration needs to know you will do all you can to get what your child needs.
That said, I plan to buy three or four copies for many of the autism therapists in our world. If everyone could adopt Dr. Prizant's viewpoint I think special needs educators would achieve massive improvements in results and parent's lives could become much less stressed and uncertain.