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The Autistic Brain
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.
“[Grandin’s] most insightful work to date…The Autistic Brain is something anyone could benefit from reading, and I recommend it to anyone with a personal or professional connection to autism or neurological difference.”—John Elder Robison, author of Look Me in the Eye
“In The Autistic Brain, Grandin explains what she’s learned in recent years about her brain and the brains of others with autism.” — USA Today
“Grandin has reached a stunning level of sophistication about herself and the science of autism. Her observations will assist not only fellow autistics and families with affected members, but also researchers and physicians seeking to better understand the condition.” — Jerome Groopman, The New York Review of Books
“Her visual circuitry extends well beyond where neurotypicals’ circuitry stops. Grandin is wired for long-term visual memory. She is sure that one day, autism will be explained by neurobiology. Her new book, The Autistic Brain, outlines that quest.” — Los Angeles Times
“Grandin has helped us understand autism not just as a phenomenon, but as a different but coherent mode of existence that otherwise confounds us…She excels at finding concrete examples that reveal the perceptual and social limitations of autistic and “neurotypical” people alike.” — The New York Times
“Autism is a spectrum, and Temple is on one edge. Living on this edge has allowed her to be an extraordinary source of inspiration for autistic children, their parents—and all people.” —Time
“The Autistic Brain can both enlighten readers with little exposure to autism and offer hope and compassion to those who live with the condition.” —Scientific American
“The right brain has created the right book for right now.” — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“An iconic example of someone who puts her strengths, and even her limitations, to good use.” — KQED, San Francisco
“Temple Grandin has yet again been of enormous service to the millions of autistic individuals worldwide, to anyone labeled with a disability, and to the rest of us curious about the brain and the intricacies of human experience.” — New York Journal of Books
“The Autistic Brain is an engaging look at life within the spectrum. It’s also an honest one.” — HealthCare Book Reviews
“A tremendous gift, not just to patients and their families, but also to teachers, mentors, friends, and everyone who is interested in understanding how our brains make us who we are…This is a book everyone should read.” — Dr. Ginger Campbell, Brain Science Podcast
“Highly recommended for anyone who knows or works with people on the spectrum.” — Library Journal (Starred Review)
“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.” — Publishers Weekly
“An important and ultimately optimistic work.” —Booklist
“An illuminating look at how neuroscience opens a window into the mind.” —Kirkus
About the Author
Temple Grandin is one of the world’s most accomplished and well-known adults with autism. She is a professor at Colorado State University and the author of several best-selling books, which have sold more than a million copies. The HBO movie based on her life, starring Claire Danes, received seven Emmy Awards.
RICHARD PANEK is the prize-winning author of The 4% Universe and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Science Writing.