Burt's Reviews > The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum

The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin
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Sep 10, 2013

it was amazing

Her best yet.
So many times while going through this, I pictured Obama after the Zimmerman verdict was delivered, trying to get a country to understand what it's like to live as a black man in America. Temple takes on a task no less daunting in trying to help Neurotypicals appreciate the experience of a life lived inside the head of someone on the autistic spectrum. She describes how even her own assumptions about autistics were off the mark initially. Explaining the difference between the inside person and the outside person, the one who feels and the one we observe, and listing examples of how the inside person is just as "normal" as the people who make the rules and decide what's acceptable behaviour and not, she makes her case. Think all autistics are incapable of deciphering facial expressions? Think some can't understand as much as anyone else if the presentation of images are slowed down? Think again. That's what you'll do over and over. You'll gain a new way of looking at "normal" in the process. The autistic spectrum has just as much variance as neurotypical when you consider that normal is just a mathematical concept that does not exist in the real world. Ever met a family with 2.4 children? Then why assume all people with an autistic spectrum diagnosis have a normal way of seeing the world? When she takes the DSM-5 to task, I wasn't just smiling, I was cheering.

Required reading for anyone who likes to call themselves enlightened. An excellent consideration of walking a mile in those shoes for the rest of us, even if those are your shoes. This scientist lays out a roadmap of the brain, your brain and mine, and explains how recent advancements in neurology have moved the ideas associated with autism from psychology (it's all in your mind) to neurobiology (it's about your brain). She then extrapolates some very compelling concepts and future areas of study she deems worthy of consideration. We are all the richer from having had this woman living among us and expressing her thoughts about the experience. This work isn't just about the advances in science or medicine, it's about their impact on our understanding of the human experience. Yours, mine... theirs. Even if you like to pretend you're normal. We're more alike than you suspect. She shows us how.
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09/10/2013 marked as: read

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Linda Strawn Very good review!


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