Send in the Idiots: Stories from the Other Side of Autism
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Send in the Idiots: Stories from the Other Side of Autism

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by Kamran Nazeer
     
 

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In 1982, when he was four years old, Kamran Nazeer was enrolled in a special school alongside a dozen other children diagnosed with autism. Calling themselves the Idiots, these kids received care that was at the cutting edge of developmental psychology. Now a policy adviser in England, Kamran decides to visit four of his old classmates to find out the kind of lives

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Overview

In 1982, when he was four years old, Kamran Nazeer was enrolled in a special school alongside a dozen other children diagnosed with autism. Calling themselves the Idiots, these kids received care that was at the cutting edge of developmental psychology. Now a policy adviser in England, Kamran decides to visit four of his old classmates to find out the kind of lives that they are living now, how much they've been able to overcome—and what remains missing.

Bringing to life the texture of autistic lives and the limitations that the condition presents, Nazeer also relates the ways in which those can be eased over time, and with the right treatment.Using his own experiences to examine such topics as the difficulties of language, conversation as performance, and the politics of civility, Send in the Idiots is also a rare and provocative exploration of the way that people—all people—learn to think and feel. Written with unmatched insight and striking personal testimony, Kamran Nazeer's account is a stunning, invaluable, and utterly unique contribution to the literature of what makes us human.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“[A] touching book...these words...may in themselves ease the agony of parents and grandparents who have seen their children inexplicably skid away into a place where they seem untouchable, locked into an inscrutable world of their own.” —Washington Post Book World

“[An] innovative examination of autism...[Nazeer's] memorable writing style, humorous but stripped of all subjectivity, is superbly adapted to convey something of an autistic's world view.” —New Yorker

“It's a question that everyone has asked themselves: What happened to those kids I knew in grade school? But when those kids were in an autism classroom, it's a question you never expect to get answered...until now. This is a brilliant look inside a world of outsiders--a story not just of autistic children and their fate in the world, but of how all of us grow, grow apart, and sometimes even find our own way in the long journey from childhood to adulthood.” —Paul Collins, author of Sixpence House and Not Even Wrong

Publishers Weekly
Nazeer, a successful British government policy adviser, was diagnosed early on with autism; he now seeks out the fate of four autistic classmates at his former New York City school. He first encountered the "idiots" (as one of them called the group) more than 20 years ago, in an unnamed private school that has subsequently closed. In addition to interviewing the former pupils, all but one (who committed suicide) enjoying varying degrees of success in the greater world, Nazeer also visits the school's former director and special-needs teacher to learn how teaching autistic students has evolved. Considered a neurobiological disorder, autism largely confines a child to his or her own mental world. Andre, for example, living in Boston with his sister, became a competent computer researcher and manages to mediate the challenges of ordinary conversation through the use of a puppet. Randall, a courier in Chicago, demonstrates how early "parallel" play led to a satisfying love relationship (developing empathy is difficult for the autistic). Craig became an accomplished speechwriter until his awkward social skills derailed him, while Elizabeth immersed herself in playing the piano before withdrawing completely. Nazeer delicately interweaves his own story of being "cured" for an enlightening journey through the unreachable mind. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781582346205
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
04/03/2007
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
5.47(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.62(d)

Meet the Author

Kamran Nazeer grew up in New York, Jeddah, Islamabad, and Glasgow. He has a PhD in Legal Philosophy from Oxford and currently works as a Policy Advisor for the British government. He has published work in U.K. newspapers and magazines.

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Send in the Idiots: Stories from the Other Side of Autism 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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