Uniquely Human is a groundbreaking book on autism by one of the world's leading experts, who portrays autism not as a tragic disability but as a unique way of being human.
Autism is usually portrayed as a checklist of deficits, including difficulties interacting socially, problems in communicating, sensory challenges, and repetitive behavior patterns. This perspective leads to therapies focused on ridding individuals of "autistic" symptoms. Now Dr. Barry M. Prizant, an internationally renowned autism expert, offers a new and compelling paradigm: the most successful approaches to autism don't aim at fixing a person by eliminating symptoms but by seeking to understand the individual's experience and what underlies the behavior.
In Uniquely Human, Dr. Prizant suggests a major shift in understanding autism: instead of classifying "autistic" behaviors as signs of pathology, he sees them as part of a range of strategies to cope with a world that feels chaotic and overwhelming. Rather than curb these behaviors, it's better to enhance abilities, build on strengths, and offer supports that will naturally lead to more desirable behavior and a better quality of life. In fact, argues Dr. Prizant, attempts to eliminate "autistic" behaviors may actually interfere with important developmental processes.
While it never discounts the difficulties of living with autism, Uniquely Human offers inspiring stories and practical advice drawn from Dr. Prizant's four-decade career working in universities, schools, hospitals, and private practice. It conveys a deep respect for people with autism and the qualities that make them special. Filled with humanity and wisdom, Uniquely Human offers a compassionate and insightful perspective that parents, professionals, and family members will find uplifting and hopeful.
©2015 Barry M. Prizant, PhD (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
So much good stuff here. I particularly appreciated his emphasis on behavior as communication, not as something to eliminate. (What are they trying to say with their actions?) As a parent of a teenager with autism, I think treatments can get very caught up in "fixing" our loved ones. What if we concentrate on helping build a happy life for them, creating positive experiences out in the world, and feeding them spiritually? Isn't that what we all want? Isn't that what human beings want? Loved the book.
The narrator has a somewhat robotic intonation, in that he completely ignores any sense of the author's voice and gives equal weight to every part of the sentence. When I listened to the audio sample, I assumed that was an auto-generated computer reading of the sample, but it's accurate. I had to work really hard to follow the meaning of the text.
The reading is so poor that I can't judge the content of the book. The writing feels tedious and self-congratulatory, but I can't tell if that's the narrator or the author. For example, Dr. Prizant seems to constantly remind us of his role as an advisor to school districts. But it's possible the narrator gives the phrase "In my role as advisor to the school district" too much emphasis.
There are gems of knowledge in the book itself, such as its description of the circular logic of autism symptoms, as well as its description of anxiety and emotional dysregulation, but I can't recommend listening to the narrated version for them.
Barry Prizant has spent a career working with people with autism and his insight and gentle approach are clearly brought out in the book.
The best part is simply asking "Why?". Why do people exhibit certain behaviors?
The stories from his career, dealing with a variety of individuals with autism.
As I have a son who has just been diagnosed with autism, I cried at some of the stories, but overall it gave me a lot of hope.
The narration is a bit on the stolid side, but I think eventually, the slow, deliberate pace helped to tell the story better.
This book helped me with understanding my 4 year old with level 2 autism. It reminded me that I am not alone and to ask for help. That I am not the only person who feels helpless and grieving for the loss of what I thought was. This book didn't make me feel more guilty for my grieving but rather helped me to move pass it and help my child. Wonderful stories of children like mine and families to learn from.
This is the best book on Autism I've ever read. I have a 5 year old with Autism. I have been researching Autism every day since he was 18 months old. This book is the best! If your family lives with Autism, or you just want to know more, this is the book for you! NOTE: The narration was a bit monotone. I was so interested in the subject to care, but some might find it boring. Please don't let this stop you from getting the book though. Plan on listening to bits at a time.
As a professional who works with children with autism, I find this to be a great book to recommend to parents with children on the autism spectrum. It is inclusive, thorough, and compassionate while being informative.
It's so wonderful to read a book that truly shows the right way to see, interact, and live with our autistic family members. Anyone working with, or plans to work with, the autistic population, "needs" to read this book.
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