Mental Health Bookclub discussion

2018 Group Reads - MH Nonfiction > January - NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

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message 1: by Ean (new)

Ean Here's the Goodreads lowdown of Steve Silberman's New York Times bestseller:

Winner of the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction

A groundbreaking book that upends conventional thinking about autism and suggests a broader model for acceptance, understanding, and full participation in society for people who think differently.
What is autism? A lifelong disability, or a naturally occurring form of cognitive difference akin to certain forms of genius? In truth, it is all of these things and more—and the future of our society depends on our understanding it. WIRED reporter Steve Silberman unearths the secret history of autism, long suppressed by the same clinicians who became famous for discovering it, and finds surprising answers to the crucial question of why the number of diagnoses has soared in recent years.
Going back to the earliest days of autism research and chronicling the brave and lonely journey of autistic people and their families through the decades, Silberman provides long-sought solutions to the autism puzzle, while mapping out a path for our society toward a more humane world in which people with learning differences and those who love them have access to the resources they need to live happier, healthier, more secure, and more meaningful lives.
Along the way, he reveals the untold story of Hans Asperger, the father of Asperger’s syndrome, whose “little professors” were targeted by the darkest social-engineering experiment in human history; exposes the covert campaign by child psychiatrist Leo Kanner to suppress knowledge of the autism spectrum for fifty years; and casts light on the growing movement of "neurodiversity" activists seeking respect, support, technological innovation, accommodations in the workplace and in education, and the right to self-determination for those with cognitive differences.

message 2: by Ean (new)

Ean Did Neurotribes elicit any strong emotion or reaction from you? How and why?

What do you think of the author's position on autism having always existed and that there is no epidemic going on today?

message 3: by Ean (new)

Ean Has anyone started Neurotribes yet? It's a big book chocked full of info thats for sure. I wonder if there's an abridged version...

message 4: by Di (new)

Di | 326 comments Mod
I'm reading it! Currently reading chapter 11. When I finish, I'll post my opinion.

message 5: by Di (last edited Jan 15, 2018 08:57AM) (new)

Di | 326 comments Mod
So I just finished the book and rated it 5 stars.
For me it was easy to read, the timeline was mostly consistent (other science books I've read like to jump around obnoxiously) and I found out a lot about autism.

I felt utterly disgusted and revolted while reading about Nazi experiments and elimination of "unworthy" children. Starving them to death just seems so cruel. And to think the doctors were happily obliging!
Lovaas also made me feel nauseous with his hunger method, but I still respect him a minuscule bit for the development of ABA method.
I personally believe there is no need to read horror stories, just pick up a book about the history of psychology.
How happy I am to live in this day and age where mental illness doesn't automatically mean institutionalization!

But this book made me happy too. I'm happy that there are several methods to try, some diets, several hobbies and tablets and programmes that could help a kid cope. I also agree that programming and academia might be ideal for people who think differently (provided they power through school to get there).

I completely agree with author's position on autism, that it has always existed and that there is no epidemic going on today. I did know the criteria had changed and having a background in biology and some statistics, I know that even the slightest change in definitions can bring about a huge change in patient count. Now I know all the criteria changes and the current "epidemic" seems such bullshit. I have read antivaxxers favorite article written by Andrew Wakefield and noticed that that article had so many problems and I'm glad this book explains all of them.

Overall I liked this book a lot, maybe would've preferred bit more knowledge on specific therapies and maybe a bit more about scientific research on autism (but then again, all that science makes a book harder to read).

If anyone is interested, another book club called Science and Inquiry have also read this as group reads. Here are their opinions.

RM(Alwaysdaddygirl) Griffin (alwaysdaddyprincess) (alwaydaddygirl) | 540 comments Mod

I got the book late. My fault. I was able to download the ebook from the library.

Not being rude, I do not like the book. I did not finish it.
I would prefer if the author had autism or training in the field or knowing a love one that has it or volunteer experience.


message 7: by Di (new)

Di | 326 comments Mod
Maybe they should have emphasized more that it was more history than practical guidance and coping mechanisms. I believe many people were disappointed because they started reading it because they wanted suggestions on how to help their loved ones and not a history textbook. Didn't bother me tho, but maybe I'm weird :D

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