The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism Q/A

Sometimes in the next few days weeks, I’m going to catch up on the piles of work that I’m behind on and post a review of The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, a remarkable new book written and compiled by the editors of the website of the same name. In the meantime, you can check out Steve Silberman’s rave (he tapped the title as his book of the year). Here’s a snippet:

My favorite book of the year on autism was curated and self-published by a group of parent-warriors with the express purpose of sparing other parents the grief, isolation, and confusion that followed their own kids’ diagnoses. Called the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, it offers helpful, positive, pragmatic, evidence-based advice for making the life of your kid and your family more rewarding and more joyful, starting today. I can’t think of a better holiday gift for someone with a loved one on the spectrum. With current estimates of autism prevalence running at 1 in 110 people in the US, the book deserves a wide readership.

Over the past year, I’ve gotten to know some of the writers and editors behind TPGA, and without fail, every interaction I have with them leaves me marveling at their kindness, insight, and intelligence. The latest example of this is an interview Shannon Des Roches Rosa did with me in advance of tomorrow’s paperback publication of The Panic Virus (more on that anon). It’s one of those rare interviews (Silberman’s Q/A with me back in March was another) in which I ended up thinking about things in a whole new way. Here’s a summary:

TPGA editor Shannon Rosa talked with Seth last year about the motivation and goals behind The Panic Virus; she spoke with him again last week about his book’s intended audience; the critical and oft-misconstrued distinctions between vaccine court rulings and scientific proof; the frequently misunderstood role of vaccine reporting and compensation programs like VAERS and NVICP; and how pediatricians, OB/GYNs, and parents themselves can all contribute towards improved — and best — vaccine information practices.

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6 Responses to The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism Q/A

  1. Tim says:

    It always surprises me a little how books on autism are so oriented towards childhood and teens.

    This might well be because parents who are new to it are the ones who need books, but autism is a life long problem, and can really go either way in early adulthood.

    I was in special school for other reasons, and watching my peers come of age has been at times quite troubling. Children with mental disabilities are seen as victims and treated with sympathy, while adults get a lot less. It can be hard for them to deal with.

    For instance, they might come out of the sheltered environment of a residential school where they have supervised social contact, and suddenly be living with parents, unable to function well enough outside the house to develop a social life. Que isolation and depression.

    Or they might be caught between the requirement to remain incapable, for the certain support of Social Security, versus the risk of trying to get a job and a place in society, with failure jeopardising both SSI and self esteem.

    If you are the parent of someone badly effected by autism, there is an extent to which you are always parenting a child. But not completely. I think the success of a shift into adulthood is depended on how prepared the parents are, often with little support from transitioning social services. Would be nice to see some books on that.

    • Chris says:

      I was flipping through my book spreadsheet (where I list the books I have read), and noticed one that I read years ago. It was a series of essays by autistic adults. It might be what kind of what you are thinking of: Aquamarine blue 5 : personal stories of college students with autism

  2. tim says:

    Please note the double post and remove one, my apologies.

    // No need to apologize, Tim – thanks for posting and sorry for the delay in putting it up.
    - Seth

  3. Maddy says:

    It’s probably a bit late in the for me now my children are older but it sounds like a valuable resource and I very much respect the authors.

  4. Thanks for writing this up, Seth. It was wonderful to talk with you, and always a learning opportunity, which I appreciate.

    Tim, while the book is full of practical advice for anyone new to autism — most of whom will likely be parents of young children — it also includes the Autistic experience throughout the generations, with several adult contributors: one woman who was diagnosed at age 50, another who is in his 70s. At least two posts address the adults job prospects issue. But, yes, we could always do better in terms of addressing the needs of autistic adults who require life-long support — especially as my son may well be one of those adults.

  5. autism rights now says:

    Please see “No justice for severely-autistic adult in california” to see what can happen to our adult autistic children when they get older, and we can no longer take care of them and are forced to seek out of home placement, because we aren’t offered the right kinds of in home helps.

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