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NeuroTribes Audiobook

NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

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Publisher's Summary

What is autism: a lifelong disability or a naturally occurring form of cognitive difference akin to certain forms of genius? In truth it is both of these things and more - and the future of our society depends on our understanding it.

Wired reporter Steve Silberman unearths the secret history of autism, long suppressed by the same clinicians who became famous for discovering it, and finds surprising answers to the crucial question of why the number of diagnoses has soared in recent years.

Going back to the earliest days of autism research and chronicling the brave and lonely journey of autistic people and their families through the decades, Silberman provides long-sought solutions to the autism puzzle while mapping out a path for our society toward a more humane world in which people with learning differences and those who love them have access to the resources they need to live happier, healthier, more secure, and more meaningful lives.

Along the way he reveals the untold story of Hans Asperger, the father of Asperger's syndrome, whose "little professors" were targeted by the darkest social-engineering experiment in human history; exposes the covert campaign by child psychiatrist Leo Kanner to suppress knowledge of the autism spectrum for 50 years; and casts light on the growing movement of "neurodiversity" activists seeking respect, support, technological innovation, accommodations in the workplace and in education, and the right to self-determination for those with cognitive differences.

©2015 Steve Silberman (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

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  •  
    Speech pancake Pittsburgh, PA 10-15-15
    Speech pancake Pittsburgh, PA 10-15-15
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    "This book is a big deal!"
    What did you love best about NeuroTribes?

    I'm a service provider for people with autism, and this book really organized and crystallized the information I've been getting in bits and pieces for years. I felt the community described by this book and I agreed with so much of what Silberman was saying. I appreciated it on different levels- the natural history of autism was a really complicated progression. A lot of the questions and misinformation I frequently hear were addressed if not cleared up by the book. The anecdotes and personal experiences resonated with me, and made me feel like other people have seen and gone through the same kinds of experiences as me and the families I work with.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    It's not that kind of book... But I guess Leo was my favorite because I feel like I know kids like him, right down to the straw twirling.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I really appreciated that the author was sympathetic and gentle in talking about biomedical cures and the antivaccination movement, while also unquestionably calling them nonsense time-wasters.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The content set around WWII was shocking.


    Any additional comments?

    The only thing I felt I wanted was more discussion of how hard it is for caretakers. There was a huge call to action for families and communities to support children and adults with autism, but the author basically implies that being anything but a stay-at-home parent and full-time autism advocate will put your kid at a disadvantage. This is a pie-in-the-sky sort of sentiment- what are the single parents and lower SES families supposed to do? On the other hand, he does list a ton of community resources, internet listserves, and message boards, so if I wanted to follow up and learn more about what happens in the real world he did provide resources.

    22 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorijorn 10-29-15
    Lorijorn 10-29-15 Member Since 2015
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    "The long hard road to proper identity on the Autistic spectrum."

    If you are a parent, family member, teacher, clinician, advocate, friend or neighbor of an Autistic person...please read this book. This is the true history of the struggles and horrors and wrong roads taken to bring us to accepting the Spectrum of Autism. The book has many heroes who persevered for dignity and truth for the 1000's or millions affected by Autism. The book also documents the misguided self-serving individuals that took us on the wrong paths which wasted precious lives and valuable time and caused unforgivable heartache and blame. As a mother of a 34 year old Autistic woman, I now see why, in her early years, a clear diagnosis was nearly impossible. The goal is acceptance of these individuals and recognition of the gifts they bring to their friends, families and to our world. I don't need my daughter to be cured...I just need her to be accepted.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana Lyons Specht Walnut Creek, CA, US 02-24-16
    Diana Lyons Specht Walnut Creek, CA, US 02-24-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Informative and entertaining!"

    This book describes the history of autism and how it has been viewed over the last >150 years. It covers the tragic work of Andrew Wakefield (linking autism to the MMR vaccine), the evolving description of the condition in the DSM, the resulting "increase" of cases in Silicon Valley, and finally the emergence of the "Aspie" identity and the desire of the group to self-abdicate.

    I'm on the "Spectrum" myself, (so not objective), but I think anyone with the most remote connection to the Syndrome would benefit from reading this book.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Louise 10-19-15
    Louise 10-19-15
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    "Tears well shed"

    I have lost track of how many times I cried during this book and at times it was all I could do to continue listening. Silberman reveals many heartbreaking truths about the history of autism but still manages to lift you up when you need it. Rather than being a dry historical account NeuroTribes helped me to realise how much "malware" I had unconsciously taken on board by identifying the historical roots of those beliefs. Thoughts I have about being defective and worthless are not my thoughts at all but a part of a twisted ideal of normality and conformity. After reading this book I feel more awake to my innate worthiness as a living being on this planet. Not better or worse than anyone else just different. I also have a new appreciation for role environment plays and in cultivating a world that I fit into rather than trying to fit into a world where I don't belong. NeuroTribes is not just a historical curiosity but a paradigm smashing new understanding of reality. This book gets tough at times but it is totally worth every ache, every tear. Only through understanding the old paradigm can we start creating the new.

    18 of 19 people found this review helpful
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    Lillian M Guajardo 10-09-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Wealth of information"

    I'm a speech language pathologist who has recently begun working with autistic children . This book gave me good background and insight into autism and what families go through, as well as the different levels of autism . It was easy to understand and very informative . It gave me great ideas in working with this population. I highly recommend it. It was quite interesting and well-written

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    gaillardia Larkspur, Colorado, United States 11-03-15
    gaillardia Larkspur, Colorado, United States 11-03-15
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    "Paradigm changing"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have recommended this book to at least 10 people in the last few weeks. The section on the historical treatment of people with autism was difficult and could be hard for a parent to hear, but the rest of the book provides insight into the gifts of the autistic mind. This book changed the way I view the role of neuro-diversity in our society.


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julian 11-01-15
    Julian 11-01-15
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    "Brilliant"

    Neurotribes brings us the history of autism and how we came to understand this condition as we do today. And we are empowered to see through the autistic mind, the world as it looks like.
    I would recomend this book to everyone, spetially whom feel the urge for a cure.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-29-15
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    "thought provoking"

    this is a fantastic, interesting, thought provoking book. really gives one a lot to think about. helps frame neurodiversity in a positive light.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Philadelphia, PA, United States 03-01-16
    Susan Philadelphia, PA, United States 03-01-16 Member Since 2011
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    "Diversity Matters!!"
    What made the experience of listening to NeuroTribes the most enjoyable?

    It was such a refreshing viewpoint in a world where robotic people seem to be the norm.
    Of course, a kid who takes calculus in the 7th grade is obviously bright in some respects but socially, he may be inept. We need more than just scientists and human calculators. We need writers and artists and singers and players. I a tired of the labels attached to people. I want to know who they are, what makes them happy and what surprising talents they may exhibit.


    What other book might you compare NeuroTribes to and why?

    Freud, for example, was one strange guy! Yet, he is attributed with things that really were the pet projects of some of his later protege’s (including his daughter who had no education at all). I think Neuro Tribes is different than almost anything I have previously read. I did not really know what to expect from the title. It reminds me a little of the book “The Brain that Changes Itself” The concept of what our brain is and how it works is evolving very quickly.
    Autistic people(so called) inhabit the halls of Microsoft and silicon valley.


    What about William Hughes’s performance did you like?

    His reading was excellent. The book was sometimes difficult to follow(especially if you stopped it for any length of time), and I admit that I had to look up some of the people and the work ascribed to them.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No....I just hope they re able to help some of the young adults who may not have been able to take advantage of training available today in order to take advantage of some secret offering which might otherwise be overlooked by society.


    Any additional comments?

    I recommend this book very highly. I probably will have to look at it again.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keren Duchan 12-03-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Mixed feelings about this book"

    This is a long book with many characters spanning several decades. Some characters are historically key players in Autism research, others are minor, and others are anecdotal. I found it hard to keep track of all the names and context switches. It was also hard to follow when some quoted statement was ironically wrong, and other statements had a foresight of genius. I think this has to do with the writing mostly, but also to a lesser degree with the narration. I learned a lot from this book, but I feel it was jumbled. I also think it would have been better to write it in a more focused scope, for example just about the research without the anecdotes and social movements. To summarize, I found the writing style and the structure of this book to be confusing and long winded such as to detract from clarity.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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