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|2||The Autistic World||17|
|3||Autism and Sense Organs||23|
|4||Autism and Emotions||35|
|5||Communication and Language||45|
|6||Intelligence, Autism, and Savant Skills||55|
|8||Rhythms and Self-Stimulations||73|
|10||Health and Allergies||89|
|11||Autism and Teenage Years||97|
|13||Idiosyncrasies and Special Traits||117|
|Epilogue - For Autistic People||127|
Posted March 7, 2000
As an autistic man myself, with a published autobiography, I should like to take this opportunity to recommend, in the strongest possible terms, this, another book from Jessica Kingsley Publishers. It is 'Through the Eyes of Aliens' by Jasmine Lee O'Neill. I had ordered a copy for myself because, I must admit, the title fascinated me. (It correlated with a major point that I made in my own book.) It turned out to be the most rewarding purchase I have made in I don't know how long. In reading it, I was, at first, conscious of many differences in the view of autism between her and me. Then, as I read on, I realized that it was a difference only in perception, not in substance. We saw the same thing, but from different standpoints. Yet, although we had written independently (I had never heard of her until I saw her announcement in the catalogue next to mine), my mind boggled at how many of the same observations we made, even, at times, to using the same words. Our writing styles may be quite different, but I attribute that to the fact that, whereas I am a mathematician, she is a poet. I tend to do a logical development of ideas to get to a point, and I categorize a great deal. I seem to ask, 'Where might I be wrong? If so, show me.' Her approach is much more intuitive, but she often makes a point (very briefly, through her choice of words) that I go through substantial analysis to make, but she does so in a more vivid manner than I could. A typical response to her might be, 'Who couldn't agree with that?' On more than one occasion, my response was the greatest adulation that one writer can give to another: 'I would have loved to have written that.' Another difference of note is that my realization of being autistic is something I have come to quite recently, while she seems to have always known of that in herself. I often talk of my discovery as being 'liberating'. However, that is mostly in finding out why I could never find the right size round hole for myself, and, as a result, at long last, of being able to start digging my own square hole. She obviously experiences a joy in being as she is, in a way that I might not have enough years left to achieve. She also, unlike myself, has been able to develop many specific nuts-and-bolts suggestions on how the non-autistic (especially parents) can and should relate to the autistic, while I mostly deal in overviews and generalities geared to giving insights (which is a specialty of the mathematician), leaving such details to the parents themselves. A major point that she makes, better than anyone, is that autistic people have the capability of making their lives beautiful, if they are only allowed to be what they are. I should like to wrap this up by saying a bit more about her approach and about her writing style. First, her book is not autobiographical. Mine had to be, because I related my discovery to previously unexplained things in my past life. Yet, in reading many of the things that she wrote, I was able to increase my insights into myself. In addition, from the feedback that I have gotten from the parents of autistic kids, my book has helped to put their minds at ease about their kids. Her book should put their hearts at ease. For those involved with autistic people, or those who simply want to know more about this misunderstood disability, Jasmine's book is required reading.
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