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

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  693 ratings  ·  85 reviews
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 th ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 3rd 2007 by Bloomsbury USA (first published March 6th 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Velvetink
3 and a half stars. Kamran Nazeer with high functioning autism, writes about his journey to seek out people that he went to a "special school for children with autism" with during his childhood. He seeks to find out what happened to them and how they have fared since and to compare his own progress. He only manages to track down a mere handful before his trip and so the book is divided into sections of their respective histories and current lifestyles. One of his childhood friends didn't make it ...more
Heather
At first, I was kinda of passive about whether or not I liked this book, and at some points I felt a little bogged down, but what a concept. The successful adult-autism-author goes back to his former classmates and teachers in a sorta of "where are they now" look at adults living with autism. Hear this variety of stories has helped me consider a lot of things i am finding hard to express as I type this...

I heard the author being interviewed on NPR. If I hadn't, I'm not sure I ever would have com
...more
Synesthesia (SPIDERS!)
It annoyed me when that one fellow kept locking the writer in the bathroom for talking over his puppets. I know he's autistic, but that's no excuse. That's so rude.

This book is interesting. There's a bit of political talk you might not like if you're a conservative, as Kamran Nazeer is a political speech writer. Still, it's a fascinating look at adult autistic people. A perspective you just don't get enough of. Most perspectives are usually parents wringing their hands . We need to have more ad
...more
Sarah
My Review: It’s wonderful to hear from an individual with autism. So frequently doctors, professionals, researchers, and parents write books about their clients and their children. While they have important and valuable insight, their description of the actual realities of autistic individuals are starkly lacking.

Mr. Nazeer brought up an insightful point about the nature of labels. Autism doesn’t predispose an individual to anything. Genius, idiocy, mediocrity- these are all things that accompa
...more
Patti
Mar 24, 2007 Patti rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in autism from the perspective of the autistic
Kamran is an autistic adult who writes about his own experience with the condition as well as the experiences of three former classmates. It's an interesting display of the wide range of ways autism affects different people. I was struck by Kamran's "autistic" writing style. Certain sentences were technically grammatically correct, but I would need to read them several times because they contained unfamiliar sentence patterns. It was almost as though I was reading a technical manual, rather than ...more
Megatherium
Some people on the ASD fail. Some succeed. That's about as profound as this one gets.

And quite frankly too little time was spent on any one character for me to feel any particular sympathy or empathy for any of them. This book seemed to degenerate into the literary equivalent of channel surfing. Suicidal soap opera *flip* successful speech writer *flip* puppet obsessed computer genius that you would do well to avoid spilling your milkshake on *flip* gay ASD bicycle messenger under thumb of contr
...more
Tracey
Apr 03, 2008 Tracey rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tracey by: Shoshanapnw
When he was young, Nazeem attended a special classroom for autistic children in the early 1980's; abouyt 20 years later, he contacted several former classmates to spend time visiting/living with them to see how they are coping with the Real World. He also meets with the parents of a classmate, the head of the school and one of the teachers and hasvery meaningful conversations with all of them.

Not surprisingly - the writing tone is distant, almost clinical; yet Nazeem attempts to reflect on both
...more
Julia
Kamran Nazeer now works as a policy adviser in Whitehall, but he was sent to a school in New York City for young autistic children, when he was four. He looks up four of his classmates and describes what their lives are like now, as adults, or were when he found them. Andre is a computer scientist who uses puppets to communicate. Randall is a bike messenger in Chicago and in relationship with wealthy Mike. Craig wrote speeches for senators and Senator Kerrey, when he ran for president. He didn’t ...more
Laura Cushing
From the ages of 4-7, the author was in a school program for autistic children. As an adult, he tracks down the other children from his class and sees where their lives have taken them. One is a professional speech writer. One is a scientist, who speaks through his puppets. One is a bike messenger boy. One committed suicide. He also talks to the teachers involved with the program too. Along the way you get a lot of insight into the autistic mind, and into the lives of people who fall somewhere o ...more
Sally McRogerson
This is wonderful additional reading after "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" and anyone that enjoyed that book will hopefully enjoy this. The author was at a small school for autistics in New York in 1982. Over twenty years later he decides to follow up his school mates and see how they are and what they are doing. The result is a wonderfully personal but informative read and I greatly enjoyed this insightful book.
Linda
I truly felt like an idiot while reading this.

Although I even have an experience in working with autistic kids, there were so many things I completely misjudged or simply didn't know. "Send in the Idiots" is a fantastic explanation of how diverse, full of wisdom (the one we, the real idiots don't have) and real is the inner world of autistic people and how does it express itself.

The stories of Kamran's group mates are deeply explaining but at the same time they are not affixing author's truth.
...more
Tara
Nazeer went to a school for children diagnosed with autism or other types of “special” needs. Nazeer, as an adult, goes back and finds his classmates to see what they have been doing since they were in school together. Nazeer’s classmates were living different kinds of lives with different levels of functioning. One of his classmates was a speech writer. Another classmate locked Nazeer in a bathroom after he had disagreed with a puppet named Ben Gurion. Nazeer was eventually released by his frie ...more
Jill
This book is well researched, and you can tell much thought was put into it, as well as love. Sometimes that makes for a sloppy composition, but this was edited to perfection. Non-fiction books mostly tend toward the all-knowing, which leaves no room for imagination. Memoirs, on the other hand tend toward the all-feeling, which is another kind of knowing, but not one that necessarily educates. Nazeer somehow bridges those two, offering a different take on a topic that many have written about, bu ...more
Becka Robbins
The premise here is fascinating. The author, an autistic man with a life marked by success in many regards, contacts his fellow autistic elementary school peers, with whom he has had little contact since childhood. Each chapter is a portrait of an unusual and remarkable individual, and his or her life, told by someone with a similar neurological profile.

The book should be a quick read, but its difficult to find a groove in the style, like reading an awkward translation of a foreign language. Ev
...more
Allyse
Oct 26, 2007 Allyse rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the curious
I'm in the process of reading Send in the Idiots. It is about autistic peoples lives and is written by a man who is autistic himself. In the story he tells about his experiences as he finds out about the lives of some students that he went to a special school with when they were all about 9/10/11 years old. It's really interesting because it's a more social book than Temple Grandin's book (the vet who is autistic and created the hug box) anyway...if you enjoyed The Curious ncident and enjoyed ge ...more
Katina
The author, Kamran Nazeer, is autistic and attended a school for autistic children in NYC while growing up. Over time, he lost contact with his fellow students and now, grown up and working as a successful policy analyst (?) in London, he decides to find his former classmates and learn about the paths their lives have taken. A handful of them agree to be included in this book, which is a non-fiction account of their encounters with the author and his thoughts on what it means to be on the autism ...more
Rebecca
Great book. The other side is clearly that of a patient versus the 'carers' or care givers. The author provided insight into how some autists perceive the carers in their lives & their motivations. The writing style was hard to adjust to at first, but then I settled into it with a clear understanding of this how this autist's mind works- in a straightforward, pragmatic telling with little flourish. It relates to the discussion in the book around politics of affinity version explaining an arg ...more
Heather
Dec 29, 2007 Heather rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone.
Shelves: non-fiction
The author was in a special program in the early eighties at a school in NY for children with autism. There were five children in the class, including himself. Now, in his late 20s, he decides to track those classmates down, to see how they are faring, and if they are more or less functioning in the day-to-day world.

This is a very short book, but it gives the reader a slight peek into the ideas and habits of people with high-functioning autism. The author seems completely fascinted with the cop
...more
Sasha Boersma
While a difficult read, it is worthwhile. The author, who is autistic (likely HFA or Aspergers) explores the lives of his former classmates from early junior school days. The three he connects with plus the parents of the fourth demonstrate the spectrum itself. From one who communicates best via puppets to one who struggles with human connection and executive function to one who is an established speech writer in Washington, to one who took her life, likely out of frustration with her life in th ...more
Melissa Wilson
I normally don't like individual stories of someone's life with autism, but in reading this book I realized that even though autism can vary greatly between all aspects of each individual that it is extremely important to read about it. Even if it doesn't effect my daughter in the same way.

What the author wrote about what some individuals with autism struggle with:

Fluency, Conversation skills, Local Coherence (that term was a first for me), sensitivity to touch, etc. I almost gave the book 4 st
...more
Stephen
Not an easy read but one that brings a unique and interesting take on autism and how it is viewed by those diagnosed, service providers (referred to as "carers" in the book) and society as a whole. The author acknowledges that his and his elementary school classmates who he tracks down for the book do not necessarily represent the full spectrum of autism, tending to the higher functioning end, but his conclusions about the tendency to view all accomplishments of those diagnosed as being related ...more
Rebecca
Interesting book -- not only for the subject matter but also in the author's style of writing. He was diagnosed as autistic at the age of 4, and enrolled in a school for children with autism. 20 years later he re-connects with 3 former classmates and his teacher. At first I found myself annoyed at some of the detours his story seemed to take, but then I realized it all goes back to his need for coherence. Anyways, an informative read for someone that does not have a family member or close friend ...more
Maria La france
In portraying the adult lives and coping mechanisms and triumphs and pitfalls of living as adults with Autism, its a wonderful depiction of humanity in general. Kamreer shows us that we ALL have coherentizing behaviors, little habits that we do to help us cope with the everyday of life. The idea of conversation as performance is also wonderful to grasp. That an autistic person could be gay and in a committed relationship is a victory of sorts. The people who loved the autistic individuals and th ...more
Thais
Devo ammettere che mi aspettavo di meglio. Pensavo che il libro raccontasse di un gruppo di bambini autistici, invece è il resoconto di uno di loro che, da grande, ha rintracciato i suoi vecchi compagni e descrive come sono ora. Ma lo fa in un modo che non è riuscito a coinvolgermi molto (complice anche la traduzione, a tratti imbarazzante). Non so, non mi ha presa. Non mi sono affezionata a nessuna delle persone descritte. Inoltre in certi punti sembrava più un saggio per spiegare che cos'è l'a ...more
Karen
Interesting, thoughtful, touching.
Valarie
At first, this appears to be a random assortment of biographical sketches of the author's former classmates. When you take into account that the author and all of the subjects were diagnosed with autism, though, the book takes on a whole new meaning. Nazeer eloquently explains the problems of special education and conventional attitudes toward autism. His insights into the workings of our society - from a man who is generally placed outside of social groups - are valuable for anyone, autism scho ...more
Elizabeth
I lost interest when the author got all technical. Went on and skipped large chunks of background that I didn't find interesting. Much more interesting to see the people interact because I learn by reading about the experience, not the science behind experience.
Angela
This book has an interesting premise. Kamran Nazeer is autistic and hunts down a few of his fellow autistic classmates to see how they're doing as adults. There's an engineer who uses puppets to communicate, a speech writer who worked for Kerry's presidential campaign, and an account of Kamran spending time with the family of a girl who committed suicide. The insights he shares are enlightening, eye opening, and interesting even if the writing style itself is a tad dry. I enjoyed this book.
Michael
Kamran Nazeer examines the lives of four of his former classmates, with whom he attended a private elementary school for autistic children. Throughout the book, he challenges assumptions about autism - that autistic people are savants, that autistic people are mentally handicapped, that autistic people have no prospect for improvement. In each case, he gives examples - from their lives & his own - that the autistic spectrum is varied & complex - and not what most people think it is.
Emily
Very, very interesting book written by an autistic man who wants to see how his childhood friends turned out. He describes his experience as a child with autism and a student at a school for autistic kids. As an adult, he contacts several of his childhood classmates and visits them to see what happened to them as they grew up. Some of the outcomes are happy, others are not.

The book goes a long way to make autistic people seem just like the rest of us.
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