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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Gary P. Dupuy, MD (Ochsner Clinic Foundation)
Description: This is a book about understanding the basis and nuances of symptoms in children afflicted with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). It is a unique and well-written book that uses real life vignettes to describe and review the characteristic symptoms of autism and the social consequences and impact of these symptoms on family members and others.
Purpose: The purpose is to improve the understanding of peculiar behaviors and thought patterns of children with ASD so that others, including family members, loved ones, and healthcare providers, may have a better perception and approach to dealing with these children. Hopefully, this understanding will lead to a better outcome in the future and improved quality of life for all involved. The unique approach of this book and the high-quality presentation of the information meet this goal.
Audience: The target audience includes anyone who interacts with someone with autism spectrum disorders on a routine basis, including family members, loved ones, friends, or healthcare providers. It will also be useful for those who desire to improve their understanding of these conditions and the afflicted person's outcome. This book is written in a format that is easy to follow and understand for medical or nonmedical readers.
Features: The author, a child psychiatrist specializing in autism and Asperger syndrome, presents vignettes that are entitled with a patient's first name and subtitled with a peculiar characteristic specific to that person. On the surface, this may not sound very scientific, but this format is very effective in formulating a true feel for the origin of this child's peculiar behaviors by offering a perception from the child's eyes of why the behaviors occur. The author also effectively interjects definitions and evidence-based information into the vignettes making them educational and scientific. This approach leads to improved understanding and empathy on the part of the reader and, ultimately, improved outcome and quality of life for the child and family members.
Assessment: This is a must read for anyone involved in the life of a child with autism spectrum disorders. Its unique presentation offers unparalleled insight into the origin of the atypical behaviors of children with this affliction by entering their world, or "foreign country," as the author describes it, through their eyes so that these atypical behaviors are less confusing and disruptive to others. This, in turn, should lead to a more respectful and effective approach to dealing with children with ASDs. The book is well written, is easy to follow and understand, and complements other resources on this topic. Its true contribution and usefulness, however, lies in its powerful presentation that leads to improved understanding and empathy in the reader.