Autism Singular Perspective in The Autistic Brain

Did you know, when Temple Grandin was born in 1947, autism had only just been named? Today it is more prevalent than ever, with one in 88 children diagnosed on the spectrum. And our thinking about it has undergone a transformation in her lifetime:
Autism studies have moved from the realm of psychology to neurology and genetics, and there is far more hope today than ever before thanks to groundbreaking new research into causes and treatments. Now Temple Grandin reports from the forefront of autism science, bringing her singular perspective to a thrilling journey into the heart of the autism revolution.

Weaving her own experience with remarkable new discoveries, Grandin introduces the neuroimaging advances and genetic research that link brain science to behavior, even sharing her own brain scan to show us which anomalies might explain common symptoms. We meet the scientists and self-advocates who are exploring innovative theories of what causes autism and how we can diagnose and best treat it. Grandin also highlights long-ignored sensory problems and the transformative effects we can have by treating autism symptom by symptom, rather than with an umbrella diagnosis. Most exciting, she argues that raising and educating kids on the spectrum isn’t just a matter of focusing on their weaknesses; in the science that reveals their long-overlooked strengths she shows us new ways to foster their unique contributions.

From the “aspies” in Silicon Valley to the five-year-old without language, Grandin understands the true meaning of the word spectrum. The Autistic Brain is essential reading from the most respected and beloved voices in the field.

This is the latest book by Temple Grandin, and it is absolutely fascinating. Ms. Grandin writes candidly, frankly and openly as she describes her own past, and gives a history of the diagnosis and treatment of autism. Her chapter about the physiology of the brain offers a wonderful metaphor of the brain as an office building for those were less familiar with that subject. Other chapters describe hyper- and hyposensitivity of perception among people with autism, the increase in numbers of people with autism, and the complexities of genetics. Here the reading slows down a bit, but there is much to absorb and learn. As the book proceeds, the writing becomes more and more passionate and inspiring. She acquaints us with many highly successful high-functioning people with autism, describing their special gifts and achievements, some of which boggle the mind.

Grandin used to generalize that autistic people all thought in pictures, for example. Now she has detected three types of brain functioning. The point is that her analysis is not the final word in how brains function. There are new scientific techniques developed such as functional MRI's, different kinds of brain scans and other medical techniques. Genetic research is promising to reveal more and more, too. Autism, schizophrenia, and other brain differences often have complex genetic factors. Her overview is useful for anyone who wants to know what it's like to be on the spectrum.

The Autistic Brain is brilliantly written. Every parent, relative, friend and teacher of an autistic child should buy and read this. Older autistic teens should also read this to get a better understanding of their differences and to take a peek at what they can accomplish.

What's really important is how she focuses on the strengths of autistic people - which is such a pleasant break from the other books that focus on the weaknesses and deficiencies. Unlike so many other authors who are on the outside-looking-in, her POV perspective provides a much deeper understanding of what is going on within minds that are "different".

There are so many things to appreciate about the book, starting with the admission of Dr Grandin that she now knows that not all autistic folks think in pictures. When was the last time you read a science minded author or expert admit they had changed their mind.

Chapter 8 From the Margins to the Mainstream is a must read for any parent with a child anywhere on the Autism Spectrum. Because she notes some wise advise which includes everything from the best jobs for Picture Thinkers,,Word/Fact Thinkers, and Pattern Thinkers.

She really hit the nail on the head when it comes to the educational system, and issues on accommodating the deficits, exploiting the strengths, not making excuses if you are autistic or have a family member who is. And the importance of disciplined learning about how to work and play well with others,managing ones emotions while also realizing that as an example crying can be helpful when done in the right place. Must read this book.