Skip to content

Maverick Mind

Select Format

Select Condition ThriftBooks Help Icon


Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good

Save $18.26!
List Price $23.95
Almost Gone, Only 2 Left!

Book Overview

A scientist and therapist describes her struggle to communicate with her own son Whitney, a child diagnosed with autism, her intensive search for answers and solutions, and her discovery of the many... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A stunning account of a real journey from infantile social isolation to integration

Reminiscent of the pains and passions of her like-minded predecessors in Paul de Kruif (A Man Against Insanity, 1957) and Oliver Sacks (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, 1985), Florance records here a first-person account of her investigatory clinical observations and discoveries for a non-specialist readership. Coining the term `Maverick Minds' to describe her highly-visual/low-verbal functioning patients (the key example of the book being one of her own children), the author relates a personal 15-year adventure to include the sufferings (and eventual pleasures) evolving around the development of a potentially `closed' autistic-like behaving boy, to relatively high-functioning, literate, collegiate scholar. With a maverick enthusiasm (in the usual sense of the word) and a stubborn determinism to solve the mystery of her son's aberrant infant behaviour, Florance tells of how she embarked upon a number of scientifically-informed remedial educational intervention practices and training schedules of her own design, whilst stubbornly rejecting the classical diagnoses of her own child as being `autistic'. This method of enquiry (so often neglected in the pursuit of clinical categorisation and prognostic intervention pattern-matching, in my view), was ardently pursued by Florance in an attempt to determine (and focus upon) what the young `autistic-like' boy could do, rather than remaining content to determine what he could not do, in order to develop her training techniques. Many of this book's 18 chapters repeat this theme (though not always explicitly), and it is in tribute to Florance, both as participant investigator and author, that her perseverance and tenacity has resulted in the brighter future now available to her son, and to many others who may now be able to benefit from her writings, and continued clinical work. Those familiar with the lives of autistic children (whether with specific or more broad-spectrum component diagnoses), will not be surprised to read the authors' frequent references to the life and work of Helen Keller (and her barrier-breaker, Annie Sullivan). Indeed, it is entirely appropriate that Keller's experience be recounted as an example in guiding the non-technical (or less neurophilosophically inclined) reader to understand the authors' logic, as they recount the various stages of the developing `maverick mind' from infantile social isolation, through protolinguistic competency, towards gradual (although significantly delayed) social integration with age-matched peers, as said to have been exhibited during her son's adolescence. I would personally have preferred to also read of the ontological developing brain story which might accompany Florance's arguments (complete with discussion of the emerging plasticity of specific neural circuits in the brain), but perhaps that may await a further volume. Although little clear evidence for emerging neural connectivity development is currently available in addressing Floranc

An invaluable book, unfairly dismissed by some other reviewers

Some readers have contributed negative reviews of this book, saying Dr. Florance "reinvented the wheel" with therapies already in use by "autism professionals" as of the date of publication. Please remember that Whitney was born 20 years ago, before autism was the "epidemic" it's been called today -- and long before many parents of "autistic" children were comfortable discussing their children's diagnoses. This has been only a recent development. It was not so long ago that autism was a taboo subject, blamed on "refrigerator mommies" for "withholding" affection from their children -- so who would want to "confess" to being the mom of a child with autistic symptoms? And, then, as now, a child's untreated autistic symptoms can force parents to withdraw from society along with their children. It's hard enough to get a sitter for "normal" children; try to find someone willing to mind a child who bites instead of talking! The therapies Dr. Florance used were unique at the time, and her rationale for what works -- and what fails -- is much better articulated than in many newer books on the subject. In the early days, as the book makes clear, Dr. Florance was alone to figure out how to help her son, with little research to guide her. It was her good fortune to discover that her own professional training and experience, as well as her scientific mindset, allowed her to "unlock" Whitney's mind so she could understand him. What's more important, she allowed him to develop social and academic skills that others told her were inconceivable for a boy in Whitney's condition. Spoiler alert: this book has a very happy ending. If you have or work with a child diagnosed as autistic, it's worth your while to read Maverick Mind to begin to understand that diagnosis is far less important than finding what works -- if a happy ending is YOUR goal.


Our family has been lucky enough to meet Dr. Florance and her 3 children after reading her book. It not only gave faces to the names, but it was a joy to see how wonderful they are as a family. Dr. Florance's book has helped our family understand another way of looking at how our brain functions. This book is not a tutorial, however it is a window for some autistics who you know can understand everything that is said to them and can communicate in their minds, just not through their voice. My husband is a neurosurgeon who has a lifetime of not understanding how his brain worked "differently" from others, our 5 year old is gifted and absolutely a visual learner, and our 4 year old son has been diagnosed with autism and PDD since he was 2 years old. After months of different therapy that seemed to just to be going through the motions, one of our therapist brought us this book and it was like turning a light bulb on. Our son, so much like Florance's, can run a computer, a dvd player, and appears to understand everything said to him, yet cannot form correct speech. This book is for those who want to learn how their child's brain is working and then how to possibly find ways to "re-wire" or concentrate on areas to eventually bring those "pictures" to words. I would highly recommend this book for those who enjoy a heart-warming story of a mother's "gut instinct" and determination; and also for those who are looking at another way to understand how some highly visual learners and some autistics are "wired" differently.

Straight From The Heart

Straight From the Heart -- A must read for those with family members struggling with language or learning disabilities -- Dr. Florance fights conventional wisdom with intense passion and delivers a riveting story filled with a treasure trove of creative ideas in detailing how she managed to help her son,Whitney. Maverick Mind is a powerful story that will truly change peoples'lives!!!

A Triumph!

The Maverick Mind *needs* to be a bestseller simply because of the triumph of the story itself. There is so little like this in our world today. There's so much "giving up" and resignation that people do because "the experts" are all swamped and jaded and the system is so flawed. We give away the value of our uniqueness and our hope de facto because it's so emotionally and physically draining to fight the system and so few of us have the energy and the skills. We go to our school meetings and we get bashed and deflated and sad and often, we lose when our greatest treasure is at stake: the dignity and well being of our children.This book is not about an autistic boy who "is healed." Maverick Mind is about a genius child who presented to the world as being so different he looked hopelessly disabled, but his tireless unconditionally loving family headed by a mom who happened to be a gifted and educated "brain scientist" out-smarted and out-lasted and at times simply ignored the nay sayers. They focused all their energy on the most valuable entity in existence...that of the fullness and potential of a single human life. It's the embodiment of a dream outcome that all parents who have children with "issues" hope and pray for.This is a book that any parent who has ever felt the pain of having their child rejected, labeled, and scarred, especially in the academic arena, will enjoy reading. Once read, you will immediately gain new energy and a different perspective that will enable you to go at it with renewed strength.LL, Mother, Ranch Owner, Retired Hi-Tech Project ManagerIdaho
Copyright © 2023 Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell/Share My Personal Information | Cookie Policy | Cookie Preferences | Accessibility Statement
ThriftBooks® and the ThriftBooks® logo are registered trademarks of Thrift Books Global, LLC
GoDaddy Verified and Secured