Dr. Tony Attwood
Different . . . Not Less: Inspiring Stories of Achievement and Successful Employment from Adults with Autism, Asperger's, and ADHDby Temple Grandin
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This book is a compilation of success stories from adults with autism and Asperger's Syndrome. Each shares what helped them during their childhood and young lives that made them the independent adults they are today. One of the most important missions Temple Grandin has is making sure people with autism and Asperger's make something of their lives. As Temple says quite bluntly, being on Social Security is NOT a job choice. These unique individuals often have great potential in parts of their minds that neurotypicals never even start to tap. This needs to be shared with the world. However, in order to share their hidden genius, they have to overcome many social obstacles. The point of this groundbreaking work is - it is possible, and it is WORTH it. Let these crusaders, handpicked by Temple herself, show how it can be done. Let this work by Dr. Temple Grandin inspire you to your true potential. You will soon see why it means so much to her.
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Different, Not LessInspiring Stories of Achievement and Successful Employment from Adults with Autism, Asperger's, and ADHD
By Temple Grandin
Future HorizonsCopyright © 2012 Temple Grandin
All right reserved.
The people in this book have had their difficulties—especially in the area of relationships. For some of these individuals, this arena has been more difficult than employment. One of the reasons why they sought out a diagnosis was their difficulty with relationships. For most individuals on the spectrum, the road to successful employment started with teenage jobs, such as paper routes. Having a paper route taught the basic work skills of being on time and having to do it every day. Today, the paper routes are mostly gone, but a good modern substitute for a young Aspie is dog walking. Like a paper route, it has to be done every day. Other good jobs for teenagers on the spectrum would be fixing computers, making PowerPoint presentations, maintaining and updating Web sites, working in a farmer’s market, writing for the church or community newsletter, selling art, or helping an elderly neighbor.
When I was a teenager, I did hand-sewing for a seamstress, cleaned horse stalls, built carpentry projects, and painted signs. The crucial skill that has to be learned is how to do work that is assigned by other people. In my design work, I often had to modify my designs to either fit the building site or satisfy some whim of the client. There are some people on the spectrum who can get hired easily by showing a portfolio of artwork or programming code. However, they cannot keep a job because they do not get assigned work done. They are either rigid and inflexible in modifying a project to satisfy the boss, or they refuse to do work that is outside their area of interest. When kids do jobs in middle and high school, it teaches them valuable work skills, such as flexibility and doing assigned tasks. If a teenager is creating a Web page for a real-estate office, he will learn that he cannot decorate it with science-fiction characters. When I made signs as a teenager, I did not paint horses on a sign for a beauty shop. I had to learn how to do work that other people wanted.
Recently, I had a lady walk up to me in the airport and say, “Your book, Thinking in Pictures, saved my marriage. Now I understand my engineer husband, and we are able to work things out.”
Each contributor in this book has a unique story, and my intent is that their stories will provide hope and insight to individuals on the spectrum, as well as parents, teachers, and professionals.
People on the autism spectrum always keep learning. It is never too late to learn new skills, improve relationships, or learn better work skills. To grow, a person on the spectrum has to “stretch.” Stretching is a good analogy, because sudden surprises cause fear. Even individuals my age can learn new skills. When I was writing this introduction, I talked to a family member of a woman in her 60s who has autism. Within the past year, she discovered that the way she dressed herself improved her life, and now she enjoys nicer clothes. The mind of the person with autism can always keep learning. It is never too late to change. A person on the spectrum needs an employer, spouse, or friend who will calmly coach him when he makes social mistakes. He has to be instructed on how to behave, like a character in a play. In my own life, I have gained great insight from reading the writings of other individuals on the spectrum.
- Dr Temple Grandin
Excerpted from Different, Not Less by Temple Grandin Copyright © 2012 by Temple Grandin. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What People are Saying About This
This is an inspiring book. The stories of achievement will be encouraging for parents of a young child with an autism spectrum disorder and will be especially inspirational for adolescents and young adults who are feeling despondent that autism could deprive them of a successful career or relationship. This book has antidepressant qualities to rival those of medication.
Dr. Tony Attwood
Meet the Author
Temple Grandin (born August 29, 1947) is an American doctor of animal science and professor at Colorado State University, bestselling author, and consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior. As a person with high functioning autism, Grandin is also widely noted for her work in autism advocacy and is the inventor of the hug machine designed to calm hypersensitive persons.
Grandin is listed in the 2010 TIME 100 list of the 100 most influential people in the world in the category “Heroes”
Tony Attwood (born 9 February 1952,Birmingham, England) is an English Psychologist who lives in Queensland, Australia and is an author of several bestselling books on Asperger's Syndrome. He speaks on autism and Asperger's Syndrome around the world.
His book, Asperger's Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals has now been translated into 20 languages.
Attwood also has a clinical practice at his diagnostic and treatment clinic for children and adults with Asperger’s Syndrome, in Brisbane, begun in 1992.
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The book would be good for a teen or perhaps even a young adult on the spectrum to show them what others have been able to achieve in their lives. That said as a 50 something highly functioning adult on the spectrum I found the book depressing as the people in the book have achieved such high professional levels of achievement something I have never been able to come close to doing.
The stories in this book represent a fairly wide range of experiences for people with Autism, Asperger's and ADHD. Some of the individuals had happy, if mostly isolated childhoods, others struggled well into adulthood and some were still struggling (see Moppy's chapter). Some of the writers have had remarkable journeys and careers as they learned about themselves and what their gifts and talents are. Not all of the writers immediately embraced their late diagnoses, however as Karla Fisher puts it, she came to realize it gave her a "framework…to understand her health and determine her quality of life". There were times I did need to put the book down because the difficulties were palpable and raw. However, I liked the way each contributor broke their stories into sections, and particularly appreciated the sections on mentors and life lessons, which hopefully readers can use to see what helped others succeed and navigate a world where they so often feel different. Temple makes some great points in the epilogue, where she states that it concerns her that young people who have autism now too often fixate on their autism, when they would be better off cultivating their special interests. She also states her point of view about the elimination of Asperger's Syndrome in the recent changes to the DSM-V in her final note.
I agree with the previous reviewer: for those of us discovering our autism/Asperger's late in life, it is perhaps too late to start over. We tried our best, stumbling around in the dark, but a rather large number are trapped in poverty and disability, maybe even wards of the states without rights. We have gifts, even advanced degrees, sometimes many advanced degrees, but scratch out an existence dependent on family or SS disability. So, yes, this book can add to our already large burden of guilt and failure. But for parents and for young girls and young women, it is NOT too late. So, for you, this may help inspire and guide you. For others, not necessarily. Good luck.