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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: 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.