CRRL Health: Autism: Personal Experiences
Annotation:Dawn Prince-Hughes sees numbers as colors. To her, the number 5 is always a lovely shade of aquamarine. As an anthropology professor, she sees the Internet as the perfect place for a rise of autistic culture. The book's essays are written by autistic adults who face challenges every day in interacting with "neurotypicals" while pursuing the perfectly typical social and academic goals of the college years.
Annotation:"If you see a kid with autism on the street, don't yell at her if she's doing something wrong. She can't help it. Autism is really challenging," explains Christian, who tells about life with his sister, Mary Gwen, a beautiful girl who loves to swim. In these moving essays, Christian and many other kids tell what it's like to live with siblings who have autism.
Annotation:Intelligent and creative Temple Grandin gives a stirring account of a life lived coping with autism. She has a unique vision of the way autistic people think and also provides some clinical information. Ms. Grandin has also written another fascinating book, Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior.
Annotation:The little girl first described in her mother's book The Siege has grown up to become a talented artist but she still needs her family's support to draw away from the idyllic yet isolated world of her childhood.
Annotation:The author is an adolescent with Asperger's, which gives him the special insight about the subject, but he adds to this a sense of humor and a lilting writing style which makes the book compelling and particularly relevant for AS teens. He examines topics such as fixations and fascinations, diets, sleep, problems with socializing at school, dating, homework, dealing with bullies, moral dilemmas, and, even, an explanation of idioms that are particularly perplexing for those with Asperger's syndrome (e.g. "feeling under the weather?"; "bark is worse than his bite").
Annotation:John Robison longed to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits had earned him the label "social deviant." No guidance came from his mother, who conversed with light fixtures, or his father, who spent evenings drunk. ... It was not until he was forty that an insightful therapist told him he had the form of autism called Asperger's syndrome. That understanding transformed the way Robison saw himself--and the world. Its sequel, Be Different: Adventures of a Free-range Aspergian..., is also available.
Annotation:The Maurice family successfully used behavior intervention techniques to reverse the autism in their two young children. This is their story, and it includes the intense emotions that face the parents of autistic children in an unfriendly medical climate.
Annotation:As a result of his mother's intensive work with him, a young, autistic boy learned to write in English as well as his native Bengali. In poetic words, he tells what the autistic experience is like, both its beauty and its pain.
Annotation:"... tells the story of a woman who, after years of self-doubt and self-denial, learned to embrace her Asperger's syndrome traits with thanksgiving and joy. Chronicling her life from her earliest memories through her life as a university lecturer, writer, wife and mother, Willey shares, with insight and warmth, the daily struggles and challenges that face many of those who have Asperger's syndrome. The last part of the book consists of appendices which provide helpful coping strategies and guidance, based on the author's own experience, for a range of situations."
Annotation:John Elder Robison's son was quite a handful: "By the time Cubby was ten, he'd steered a Coast Guard cutter, driven a freight locomotive, and run an antique Rolls Royce into a fence. The one thing John couldn't figure out was what to do when school authorities decided that Cubby was dumb and stubborn--the very same thing he had been told as a child. Did Cubby have Asperger's too? The answer was unclear. One thing was clear, though: By the time he turned seventeen, Cubby had become a brilliant chemist--smart enough to make military-grade explosives and bring state and federal agents calling. Afterward, with Cubby facing up to sixty years in prison, both father and son were forced to take stock of their lives, finally coming to terms with being 'on the spectrum' as both a challenge and a unique gift."
Annotation:In this critically acclaimed book, Judy and Paul Karasik tell of growing up with and getting to know their autistic brother, David, from the 1950s until today. Told in Judy's words and Paul's cartoons.
Annotation:"Liane Holliday Willey explores the daily pitfalls that females with AS may face, and suggests practical and helpful ways of overcoming them. The focus throughout is on keeping safe, and this extends to travel, social awareness, and general life management. With deeply personal accounts from the author's own experiences, this book doesn't shy away from difficult issues such as coping with bullying, self-harm, depression, and eating disorders. The positive and encouraging advice gives those with AS the guidance to safeguard themselves from emotional and physical harm, and live happy and independent lives."
Annotation:"[This picture book] shows readers the challenges that children with autism face and the obstacles they overturn. It is lovingly written in the perspective of three-year-old Foster, who explains his experiences with his older brother, Gavin, who has autism.... oster's innocent approach is perfect for teaching others what autism is all about, and for letting other siblings of children with autism know that they are not alone. Angie Healy, the boys' mother, provides a how-to section at the end so families can create their own personalized books."
Annotation:Dawn Prince-Hughes, an anthropologist, tells of her journey from an early childhood of being an undiagnosed autistic to the moments of joy she experienced as an adult working with primates, being drawn ever closer to her fellow humans.
Annotation:"Dana Buchman knew almost nothing about 'learning differences' when her oldest daughter, Charlotte, was diagnosed with neurological, spatial, and motor skill disabilities as a toddler. .... Unfortunately, Buchman's well-developed ability to "fix" things would not serve her in her efforts to deal with Charlotte's disabilities; she would have to develop a new skill set to be able to see Charlotte as a person with unique abilities.... Confessing frequent anxiety, guilt, frustration, and anger, Buchman describes the difficult search to find the right school and care for Charlotte and the strain the process put on her marriage and family life."
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First-hand accounts by either individuals with autism or their parents and caregivers can add a helpful perspective.