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Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  1,336 ratings  ·  174 reviews
Essential reading for any parent, teacher, therapist, or caregiver of a person with autism: a groundbreaking book on autism, by one of the world's leading experts, who portrays autism not as a tragic disability, but as a unique way of being human.

Autism is usually portrayed as a checklist of deficits, including difficulties interacting socially, problems in communicating,
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by Simon Schuster (first published August 1st 2015)
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4.42  · 
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 ·  1,336 ratings  ·  174 reviews

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This book had One Good Idea and exploited it from every angle. Maybe that works for a text book and maybe it reads well as positive enforcement for someone dealing with a child with autism but it didn't work for me.

The One Good Idea was that obsessions should be viewed as Enthusiasms. Encouraging these enthusiasms, such as being obsessive about train timetables can be used as behaviour modifiers both by bribery, 'if you don't talk to anyone about trains but go along with them for the next hour w
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autism-books
If I could give this book six stars, I would. Every parent of a newly diagnosed child should be given this book to read. This book is wonderful and I wish I had it to read nine years ago, when my son was diagnosed as autistic.

I love how the author delves into the reasons why people with autism do some of the things that they do- echolalia, "stims", having a "fidget" object they carry around with them, or needing to stick to a routine, and having what to us NT's seem like unusual or illogical fea
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you could only read one book about Autism this is the one.
Lisa Ahn
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Definitely one of the best books I've read on Autism and Asperger's. Prizant takes a very inclusive, whole-child approach. He emphasizes observation and listening in order to understand individuals with autism. I love his focus on asking "why" in the face of puzzling behaviors. He looks for underlying stressors and is always searching for ways to communicate and help. A very positive approach.
Mike Freeman
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Necessary book offering alternative philosophies to ABA and other rigid ASD therapies. Stresses the importance of imprinting positive emotional memories and fostering general happiness in kids to both enrich their lives and - incidentally - promote learning growth. Well-written and structured by someone with over forty years of field work. Recommended for parents, therapists, and teachers.
Janis Hill
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I would like to thank Simon & Schuster for providing me with a free ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an open and honest review.

If you haven’t guessed from my rating – this is a fantastic book! Everyone – and I do mean EVERYONE – who interacts with children and teens on the spectrum should have a copy of (and read) this book.

How wonderful to see such an excellent mind set about how to approach and interact with those on the spectrum. As a mum to a newly diagnosed HFASD son I hav
Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Finally, we have a truly humanistic perspective on autism. If everyone read this book, there would be a lot more tolerance and understanding of neurodiversity in the world. Prizant provides readers with a deep understanding of the strengths, challenges, and coping efforts of individuals with autism. He carefully balances an understanding of autism as a difference in neurological wiring with an understanding that the word autism does not limit or wholly define an individual. All autistic behavior ...more
Whitney Holley
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely wonderful book about being a positive influence in an autistic child's life. I found myself marking and highlighting so many passages. The stories shared cover all age ranges- Into adulthood- and I found that particularly helpful. Mostly this book is an affirmation that as a parent I have a say in my child's life and I can trust my instincts. Prizant must be a deeply empathetic human being and his philosophy on autism can be applied and used to better parent and teach all human beings ...more
Xtie Vosseller
Jan 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Quick, brilliant read for ANYONE... everyone.... all of you. :-)
Brenda Brown
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In addition to giving fantastic information on Autism, this author gives first hand knowledge of how to handle different situations that might occur with a child. He has gone into homes, schools, institutions and after studying different children in their environment, has discovered some unique ways to empower the child and enlighten the teachers. Teachers who have studied these behaviors need to listen to the child and then be able to access the situation based on the childs needs/experiences/l ...more
Ashley C. Nemec
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone that lives or works with a person with ASD has to read this book.

As a professional working in various educational programs for students with ASD, I often felt as if there was something more we can be doing to benefit these kids. Dr. Prizant has given a voice to the various strategies, thoughts and responses I've used in my career I just viewed as gut reactions while working in the field. There are times I have felt criticized by colleagues in the field for not following a popularly acce
Aug 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: disability
There were a lot of good thoughts and good advice in this book but I was put off by some of the language and Prizant's surprising lack of familiarity with autistic culture - specifically that he is either not aware or doesn't respect that autistic people have reclaimed words like "autistic" and "stimming." I think it is still an excellent read for professionals, parents, teachers, and anyone else who needs to have explained to them that autistic people have thoughts and feelings just like any ot ...more
Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
MUST-READ! Absolutely a must read for every parent, family member, educator, provider of care, and even those who want educate themselves with Autism. Finally a book with such deep understanding of Autism Spectrum for what it is: ..."Autism isn't an illness. It's a different way of being human..." Indeed! Truer words have never been written. Highly recommend reading this wonderful, compassionate book.
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autism
One of my favorite books for helping families and staff to understand and truly support children and adults on the spectrum. Very respectful, full of appreciation for the beauty of diversity, and a fairly easy read. Recommend for anyone new to autism, especially, but really anyone who has someone with autism in their life.
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As an autistic individual, this book cannot be more amazing! Every parent, teacher, relative, and professional must read this book! Dr. Barry Prizant finally puts into words what I and many others as autistic individuals already knew but could not say.
Katherine Briccetti
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is truly groundbreaking. I work with kids on the spectrum (and have one of my own) and read tons about autism, and I learned new things from this book. It's definitely one of the best books of the year.
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The best book I have read on autism. Truly allows you to move into the mind of a person with autism and try to understand.
Danielle DeLong
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
BEST book I’ve read about ASD and I’ve read a lot of books about ASD:)
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a phenomenal book! As a parent of 2 children on the spectrum, I received a wealth of knowledge from Barry Prizant and found myself regularly highlighting passages to share with my husband. Prizant has such a wonderful, respectful approach to understanding autism. It was very refreshing to read! One thing that stuck in my head is his use of the term "Enthusiasms" to replace the oft-used negative term "Obsessions" to refer to current interests of an individual on the spectrum. I will definite ...more
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the book I wish I could have read when my son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS almost 6 years ago (of course, it wasn't written then). While I did not find many answers in this book, I found a whole lot of hope, and a wonderfully person-centered approach to dealing with behavior issues. I highly recommend this book not only for parents, teachers, and caregivers, but also for grandparents and others who might not understand that the autistic child's behaviors are not the result of stubbornness ...more
Aug 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely outstanding! A must read for parents, teachers, therapists, and anyone else that knows and loves an individual with autism.
Dawn Livingston
This is a must read book for those that are curious about Autism to those that come into contact with Autistic individuals whether they be doctors, teachers, parents or siblings.

This book goes behind the behaviors that define the autistic person and explain very well the need to understand the causes of those behaviors and the benefit in doing so.

Just the introduction alone was worth getting the book for. The part that stands out is:

"Autism isn't an illness. It's a different way of being human
Cecily Kyle
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In my field of work as and Education Assistant for the public school district in my area, I work with kids diagnosed with ASD and this book was recommended on several occasions and I was so happy to finally be able to get my hands on a copy.
I loved everything about this book and I really think it will help me in my career by shifting the way I think about children with ASD and how to best communicate with them. I loved the concept of asking "why?" It all just made so much sense and affirmed tha
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Uniquely Human is a comprehensive and helpful book for people who have someone on the autism spectrum in their families or people who educate persons on the spectrum.

It is not exactly practical but it offers plenty advice and covers the basic questions people have when hearing the diagnosis.

My only complain is that it is not yet translated to the Lithuanian language.
Kimber Burgess
Dec 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-book-list
There is one main great idea in this book especially for parents of autistic children. Ended up skimming the second half as it really just repeated the same idea as the first half. Would love to have more examples of kids that are non-verbal with severe SIB.
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent stuff for anybody who loves and or works with a child with autism. Prizant gets it.
Massanutten Regional Library
Eppie, Page patron, July 2019, 5 stars:

A great perspective on autism. All family members, educators/those who work with autism, and just humans in general should read this!
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Yes, yes, yes! As a person with Autism I highly recommend this book to all parents and educators, even if you don't have a special needs kid. This man gets it.
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Recommended to me by a dear friend of mine with autism, this book is a interesting and well-written overview of many of the common challenges facing people with autism, along with suggestions for how to best deal with them. (I'm adopting the authors terminology of "person with autism" rather than "autistic person" here, though in truth I'm not sure where I stand on that particular disagreement)

The main focus is on what it's like to be the parent(s) of a child with autism. It's a hopeful book, fr
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
I grabbed this book from the library just to browse through, but ended up reading the entire thing. I really appreciated this author's approach with children on the autistic spectrum. His main focus was trying to understand the motivations behind some of their behaviors and addressing those rather than straight behavior modification. He argues that the extreme sensitivities that some children are born with make the world a bewildering and frightening place and some of the odd behaviors (or even ...more
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Barry M. Prizant, PhD, CCC-SLP, is among the world’s leading authorities on autism, with more than forty years of experience as a scholar, researcher, and international consultant. He is an adjunct professor at Brown University and coauthor of The SCERTS Model: A Comprehensive Educational Approach, now being implemented in more than a dozen countries. Dr. Prizant has published more than 120 articl ...more
“Consider Ricky, a teenage boy with autism who was a talented pianist. Ricky once volunteered to entertain the residents of an assisted-living center. He had never visited such a facility, but his parents told him what a lovely, caring gesture it would be. They also informed him that some of the elderly people he would see had terminal illnesses and other challenges, so surely his music would help to lift their spirits. On the day of his performance, a few dozen residents gathered in a recreation room to listen. Before he sat down to play, Ricky introduced himself, said how happy he was to be there, and added this: “I’m very sorry that some of you are going to die soon.” 0 likes
“While a 2013 study found that, over time, a very small percentage of children experienced such improvements in symptoms that they no longer fit the DSM autism diagnosis, the study found no way to predict which children would show such gains, or why.” 0 likes
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