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American Normal: The Hidden World of Asperger Syndrome / Edition 1

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Overview

Asperger's Syndrome, often characterized as a form of "high-functioning autism," is a poorly defined and little-understood neurological disorder. The people who suffer from the condition are usually highly intelligent, and as often as not capable of extraordinary feats of memory, calculation, and musicianship. In this wide-ranging report on Asperger's, Lawrence Osborne introduces us to those who suffer from the syndrome and to those who care for them as patients and as family. And, more importantly, he speculates on how, with our need to medicate and categorize every conceivable mental state, we are perhaps adding to their isolation, their sense of alienation from the "normal."

-This is a book about the condition, and the culture surrounding Asperger's Syndrome as opposed to a guide about how to care for your child with Aspergers. -Examines American culture and the positive and negative perspectives on the condition. Some parents hope their child will be the next Glenn Gould or Bill Gates, others worry that their child is abnormal and overreact.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

From the reviews:

"Osborne uses his considerable journalistic talents to interview a number of well-known … and some not-so-well-known people diagnosed with an enigmatic disorder known as Asperger’s Syndrome. … Recommended for readers at all levels." (K. M. Dillon, Choice Middletown, February, 2003)

"In the US, Asperger’s Syndrome - a psychiatric disorder … has become a rallying point for a diverse and often incompatible range of interests. While the UK isn’t showing any signs of jumping on the Asperger’s bandwagon … books and articles on the subject makes it hard to ignore. Osborne’s better than most because it takes the opposite tack, making the similarities between Asperger’s sufferers and unaffected people bigger than the differences. … This is an accessible book that’s enjoyable and informative … ." (Emma Thomas, Focus, November, 2003)

Library Journal
This collection of portraits has that admirable goal of seeking to illuminate what it's like to live with Asperger Syndrome (AS), one of the Autistic Spectrum Disorders, but it falters on many counts. First, Osborne, a medical writer for the New York Times Magazine, devotes too much space to historical figures who were never diagnosed with AS and probably did not know about the condition (e.g., Thomas Jefferson, pianist Glenn Gould). Second, he wrongly identifies inventor and educator Temple Grandin as someone with AS. Since she lacked speech until she was seven years old, she is always counted among those with moderate to severe autism despite her current success. Third, his interest in famous people who may have AS lacks clear value besides creating an Asperger "hall of fame." By sometimes trivializing the experience of the people featured, this book will not help those looking to assist someone with AS. Though little is written in this field, a better title would be Liane Holliday Willey's Pretending To Be Normal: Living with Asperger's Syndrome. Not recommended owing to its inaccuracies and muddled definition of AS.-Corey Seeman, Univ. of Toledo Libs., OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781441929464
  • Publisher: Springer New York
  • Publication date: 12/3/2010
  • Edition description: Softcover reprint of hardcover 1st ed. 2002
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface; 1 Asperger's and I; 2 Little Professors; 3 Glenn Gould, the Last Puritan; 4 Rain Men; 5 Diagnosing Jefferson; 6 Autobiographies; 7 The Poetics of Medicine; Further Reading; Index.
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