*** NeuroTribes by Steve Silverman

 

I have many quibbles with NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, the main one being that the author focuses on high-functioning individuals on the autism spectrum, starting with his example of Lord Cavendish. If all autistic adults were like him, surely many would wish for autistic children — and although the author does bring up other examples, he for the most part presents fairly well-adjusted adults and children, with dedicated parents and resources to help. Not exactly a realistic portrayal of life in the trenches.

That being said, the book presents a vivid history of autism and Asperger’s syndrome, from the first researchers of autism, Hans Asperger himself and Leo Kanner, to the Nazi purges of the disabled, including autistic children and adults, the awful experiments that (non-Nazi) doctors inflicted on autistic children while searching for a cure , and the dreadful “refrigerator mother” theory of Bruno Bettelheim, and finally the rise of parent (and patient) activists. In an age when “autistic” is thrown around carelessly, it’s interesting to see how long it took for the theory and acceptance of it to take hold.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Non fiction

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s