Book Club

NeuroTribes by Steve Silberman

This is a book about autism.  It is a big book, but is well written and goes fast.  90% of it is about the history of the diagnosis and treatment of autism.  Some of it is not pretty.  Great strides have been made in recent years.  The last part is about a movement lead by high-functioning autistic people which is much like the movement for the rights of disabled people.  For a long time there has been a search for a cure for autism.  These people are saying that its not a "disease" that needs to be cured.  Rather it is a different way of thinking and responding to the environment.  Autism is known to have a spectrum; think of Asperger's syndrome.  Children with autism (and their parents!) do need help.  But they also need educational opportunities and environments more suited to their way of seeing things.  The idea of NeuroTribes is that there is a spectrum of human thought and those of us who are "normal" need to recognize this and accommodate those who are in other places on the spectrum.

1. What did Kanner say about autism that impeded research for decades?

2. Is autism a modern phenomenon?

3. What are some of the things that have been cited as the cause of autism?

4. Are Idiot Savants autistic?

5. What are "neurotypicals"?

6. What are some drawbacks that autistic people see in those who are not?

7. What effect did the movie "Rain Man" have on people's perception of autism?

8. What do you think of the idea of neurodiversity?