A cutting-edge account of the latest science of autism, from the best-selling author and advocate
When Temple Grandin was born in 1947, autism had only just been named. Today it is more prevalent than ever, with one in 88 children diagnosed on the spectrum. And our thinking about it has undergone a transformation in her lifetime: Autism studies have moved from the realm of psychology to neurology and genetics, and there is far more hope today than ever before thanks to groundbreaking new research into causes and treatments. Now Temple Grandin reports from the forefront of autism science, bringing her singular perspective to a thrilling journey into the heart of the autism revolution.
Weaving her own experience with remarkable new discoveries, Grandin introduces the neuroimaging advances and genetic research that link brain science to behavior, even sharing her own brain scan to show us which anomalies might explain common symptoms. We meet the scientists and self-advocates who are exploring innovative theories of what causes autism and how we can diagnose and best treat it. Grandin also highlights long-ignored sensory problems and the transformative effects we can have by treating autism symptom by symptom, rather than with an umbrella diagnosis. Most exciting, she argues that raising and educating kids on the spectrum isn’t just a matter of focusing on their weaknesses; in the science that reveals their long-overlooked strengths she shows us new ways to foster their unique contributions.
From the “aspies” in Silicon Valley to the five-year-old without language, Grandin understands the true meaning of the word spectrum. The Autistic Brain is essential reading from the most respected and beloved voices in the field.
If you want to know why an autistic person acts the way he or she does, "you have to go beyond" behavior and "into his or her brain," according to Grandin (Thinking in Pictures) and science writer Panek (The 4% Universe). Since 1987, when Grandin, a noted Colorado State University animal science professor, became "one of the first autistic subjects to undergo" an MRI, she has taken multiple "journey to the center of mind" in the hope that neuroimaging technologies will lead to a better understanding of autism. "From the start, medical professionals didn't know what to do with autism. Was the source of these behaviors biological, or was it psychological?" Now, 70 years after Johns Hopkins University M.D. Leo Kanner gave the first diagnosis, researchers are making huge strides. The authors urge parents, teachers, and society to focus on the strengths of autistics, and they devise a "three-ways-of-thinking model" by pictures, patterns, or words/facts to foster change in schools and the workplace. Grandin's particular skill is her remarkable ability to make sense of autistics' experiences, enabling readers to see "the world through an autistic person's jumble of neuron misfires," and she offers hope that one day, autism will be considered not according to some diagnostic manual, but to the individual. Illus.