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Hardcover The Science and Fiction of Autism Book

ISBN: 0674019318

ISBN13: 9780674019317

The Science and Fiction of Autism

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

Autism is a complex and incurable constellation of bizarre behaviours, impaired cognition, limited language and most distressingly, a lack of responsiveness to other people, and it has been the centre of impassioned debates for decades. What is it? What causes it? How can it be treated? In The Science and Fiction of Autism, one of the country's leading experts in behavioural treatments approaches autism through the context of its controversies, showing...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

One of the best books out there on autism

My grandson was diagnosed on the autism spectrum when he was 2 years old. I have been reading as much as I can on the subject. My son, a pediatrician, recommended this book. I heartily recommend it also.

Stylistically pedestrian but has useful information

How to write about autism in a populist tone and not lose the science pitch? This is the dilemma haunting this book. To be fair, it handles it it reasonably. This book will be of interest to parents with autistic children (Kanner or classical autism, rather than Asperger Syndrome). Understandably the book trots out a lot of what is in other works (diagnosis, behaviours, etc). The upswing is review of various treatments and interventions, including facilitated communication. As the author point out many of the treatments have been debunked, but then comes down very positively on the side of ABA. It would have been helpful if some of the counterarguments against ABA had been laid out. There are several interesting recommedations for improving services which may possibly pan out for parents groups and activist committees. It is difficult to make the transition from writing academic papers to popular print, and writing style is probably where the book is most shakey. It is not a page turner, but it is still relatively readable with a little perseverance.

Excellent Resource

This book is for people who: want to understand how the medical community thinks about autism; want a comprehensive overview of the various autism treatements and theories; or would like a framework for evaluating theories and treatments for autism. This book is not for people who: have embraced treatments not endorsed by the medical community and aren't interested in having those ideas challenged; want a book that entertains as well as educates; want to hear about the latest miracle cure. The author of this book comes from the mainstream medical community. If the author didn't tell you this up front, it would still be obvious from the way the book is written. Even though the book is written for a lay audience, its tone reminds me of technical papers like you'd find in a professional journal. There's nothing wrong with that as long as you can understand it, which you can. Still, it doesn't exactly make for a "fun" reading experience. Dr. Schreibman provides some truly useful information here. First, you get a pretty good overview of past and present theories of what causes autism. You get a similar overview of autism treatments, past and present. Third, you get a call for sanity when evaluating theories and treatments, and a framework in which to base that sanity (namely the scientific method). And finally, you get the author's science-rooted opinions of most of the theories and treatments she discusses. I was at least somewhat familiar with just about everything discussed in the book. There weren't a lot of new ideas here. But having everything spelled out in a single resource, complete with the theoritical basis for treatments, comparisons between various approaches, and the results of scientific scrutiny, I came away with a much better understanding. I also got a better feel for the medical community's perspective on these issues. I didn't always agree with Dr. Schriebman's conclusions, but that didn't diminish the book's value. As an aside, I find it interesting that in spite of the author's cheerleading for science-based evaluation, the medical community still seems to pick and choose which unproven aspects of autism to accept and which to disregard. With a complex and varied disorder like autism it is both impossible and inappropriate to completely remove subjectivity, as long as we don't ignore objective evidence. More of the medical community should learn to recognize that fact. I learned a lot from this book, and found how to fit a lot of what I already knew into the bigger picture. With a more complete perspective, new questions came up. I would love to sit down with the author to talk about autism treatment and research. I'd ask her the questions the book didn't answer, and I'd debate some of the conclusions that didn't make sense to me. You know a book is good when it makes you ponder questions you didn't know you had. If it wasn't so dry I would have given it five stars.

The first book you should read about autism

If you know someone who is dealing with autism and desire to know the truth about what this is, read this book FIRST. This book does not provide wishfull corollaries, inspiring anecdotes or mystical cures. It cuts to the bone in as simple a manner as is possible to tell you exactly what is known and just how much is not. It will undoubtedly anger highly emotional people that are convinced that some treatment cured their child that this book claims has no scientific validation. What needs to be understood is that there are treatments that work and have been verified to work. If a person reads this book actively, taking notes throughout, it provides insight into not only effective techniques but also techniques beleived to work but not yet verified. Further research on these obscure little bits can provide a wealth of ways to encourage new development. Of course it also provides a wealth of what NOT to do. Snake oil peddling that could cost a family their lifes' savings or drive them into bankruptcy and horrific debt. This book is the ounce of prevention worth more than the pound of cure.

Great addition to the literature

Schreibman contributes a new and comprehensive review of the current issues in autism.
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