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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"The Autistic Brain" by Temple Grandin, a Review

The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the SpectrumThe Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum by Temple Grandin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Have you ever worked with anyone who is living with autism? Over the years I have been in situations where I have interacted professionally and informally with folks who have some form of autism, but I have never looked into this subject. Therefore, recently, I decided it was time to look below the surface and find out more. Temple Grandin's 240 page paperback, "The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum" was the first resource I nabbed, and how grateful I am to have picked it up. Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University and accomplished author speaks on autism from the inside out. The book is her story dancing together with the life-stories of many others who live with autism.

"The Autistic Brain" is, surprisingly, an easy read. In spite of the fairly technical chapters on brain formation and functionality, and the different ways autistics think (word-fact, picture or pattern), the author keeps the reader's attention focused and flowing. Like a trail guide at a national park, she walks the person who is reading on the right track, moving to the side on occasion to point out significant scenery, and then resuming the trek further along to trail's destination. Grandin tackles nature and nurture in graceful ways that give hope and insight both to those who are living with autism and those who live around autistics. As the author puts it, "Neuroanatomy isn't destiny. Neither is genetics. They don't define who you will be. But they do define who you might be. They define who you can be" (174).

"The Autistic Brain" is a valuable and lucid asset. This book will benefit anyone with autism, giving them a sense of anticipation. It also should be in the hands of parents who have children (young, teen or adult) coping with this neurological irregularity, to encourage them and aid them as they support and love their child. I gladly recommend the book.


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