AUTISM AND SENSING / Edition 1

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Overview

Expanding on themes of her previous book, Autism: An Inside-Out Approach, Donna Williams explains how the senses of a person with autism work, suggesting that they are 'stuck' at an early development stage common to everyone. She calls this the system of sensing, claiming that most people move on to the system of interpretation which enables them to make sense of the world. In doing so, as well as gaining the means of coping with the world, they lose various abilities which people with autism retain.

The book contains no figures.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Tracy Smith-Simko, MA (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: In this book, the author takes the reader through a fascinating explanation of the experience of autism. Unlike the usual textbook approach so many educators rely upon, this author, herself autistic, uses her own experience and an artistic style to provide insight into the perceptual world of autistic persons.
Purpose: The author's purpose is to provide the reader with an understanding of where the barriers and difficulties in understanding autism originate, how they can be overcome, and more generally, how an appreciation of perceptual differences can enhance one's experience of themselves and others in a diverse world. She argues that greater understanding will come from viewing autism as a difference, not necessarily as a deficit, through describing the development of perceptual abilities of the autistic not shared by persons without autism. These are worthy objectives, particularly given the misunderstandings that often occur with people who interact with the autistic, which are also addressed here.
Audience: Anyone interested in understanding the experience of the autistic person would benefit from reading this book, including educators, physicians, psychologists, students, and client families. The depth of this work is profound and especially interesting, given the first-hand experience of the author and the craft with which she moves the reader beyond their outer behaviors and directly into the inner realities.
Features: Rather than directly talking about autism as such, the author illustrates the experience of autism through descriptions of the development of perception, the transition from sensation to interpretation, relevant aspects of emotions acquired "mind-interests," mental and emotional motivation, and the impact of language on development. Personal examples effectively elucidate her points.
Assessment: This book is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the experience of being developmentally disordered.
Tracy Smith-Simko
In this book, the author takes the reader through a fascinating explanation of the experience of autism. Unlike the usual textbook approach so many educators rely upon, this author, herself autistic, uses her own experience and an artistic style to provide insight into the perceptual world of autistic persons. The author's purpose is to provide the reader with an understanding of where the barriers and difficulties in understanding autism originate, how they can be overcome, and more generally, how an appreciation of perceptual differences can enhance one's experience of themselves and others in a diverse world. She argues that greater understanding will come from viewing autism as a difference, not necessarily as a deficit, through describing the development of perceptual abilities of the autistic not shared by persons without autism. These are worthy objectives, particularly given the misunderstandings that often occur with people who interact with the autistic, which are also addressed here. Anyone interested in understanding the experience of the autistic person would benefit from reading this book, including educators, physicians, psychologists, students, and client families. The depth of this work is profound and especially interesting, given the first-hand experience of the author and the craft with which she moves the reader beyond their outer behaviors and directly into the inner realities. Rather than directly talking about autism as such, the author illustrates the experience of autism through descriptions of the development of perception, the transition from sensation to interpretation, relevant aspects of emotions acquired "mind-interests," mental and emotionalmotivation, and the impact of language on development. Personal examples effectively elucidate her points. This book is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the experience of being developmentally disordered.
Booknews
The author, herself autistic, expands on themes of her previous book, , explaining how the senses of a person with autism work, suggesting that they are stuck at an early development stage common to everyone. Williams claims that most people move on from a system of sensing to a system of interpretation to make sense of the world; in doing so, they gain the means to cope with the world but lose various abilities which people with autism retain. Distributed by Taylor & Francis. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

4 Stars! from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781853026126
  • Publisher: Kingsley, Jessica Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/1/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 131
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword 9
Introduction 11
1 Origins 13
2 Who's Me? 19
3 The Essence of 'Social' 25
4 The Everything of Nothing 33
5 The Mechanics of Sensing 49
6 In Resonance 55
7 Giving Self a Chance to Answer 73
8 The Getting of 'Clever' 79
9 'Seeing Ghosts' 85
10 War or Growth? 91
11 Blah Blah and Ideas 97
12 Progress? 103
13 Beyond an Exchange of Cultures 107
14 Multiplicity 115
15 Psychic? 121
16 Why Nobody's Talking 125
17 Imagine 131
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2005

    A challenging and innovating philosophical exploration

    Donna Williams is not an expert but an explorer of ideas. Here we see an intriguing theory about Autism as a state before the ability to process information with meaning and conscious awareness a place of Sensing. As someone who didn't grasp meaning of what she saw or heard until very late in childhood, Donna describes what the world was like in a preconscious state of pattern, theme and feel. She contrasts this strikingly with what it was like to then develop awaress of meaning in incoming language and to look past the purely sensory and pattern form of objects to try to find their intellectual concept and, hence, link them with thought and language. In this sense, Autism And Sensing is an amazing exploration because most people on the Autistic Spectrum who do communicate developed the capacity to understand meaning or hold conscious awareness long before Donna did. Hence they usually can tell us what it was like to have Autistic behaviours or facinations but they can't so easily tell us what it was like as a whole to navigate a world without meaning or what it was like to be almost out of childhood and discover meaning existed and try to learn its system and use it as most people do. She covers things like how this changes identity and sense of self which tells us a whole other social-emotional dimension to what people with Autism may experience in moving what may for them be like moving between two very different worlds. Donna described the more intellectual but literal world of people with Asperger's who have always known and relied upon a relatively fluent system of meaning, but contrasts it strongly with the Autistic end of the spectrum when everything is known through movement and the body rather than the mind. Its a challenging concept given we don't have a clear idea yet where Autism ends and Asperger's begins. But if Donna is right then this book may help us indicate who is where on the spectrum according to how they process information rather than how 'Autistically' they behave and to shape learning and development programs accordingly both for those who, like Donna, were able to later develop some processing skills more akin to Apserger's and those with Autism who are not but could be, nevertheless, relatively able. Donna's writing and structure is always unusual but then we are reading the work of someone who didn't learn to understand three sentences in a row until she was nine years old. This in itself is informative if we judge it on its own terms. What's without doubt is that it takes a great deal of courage to write on a subject as intangible as Sensing and then give it to a world of readers who will read it with minds that have always known Interpretation and meaning.

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