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Thread: Book about Autism

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Default Book about Autism

    A book I am eager to read was featured on the CBC program Hot Type with Evan Soloman. The book is Animals in Translation by author Temple Grandin. She is a woman with autism who overcame her disorder to become an authority on animal behaviour.

    She explains how seeing in pictures allows her to understand how animals think.

    Info on CBC Hot Type

    Has anyone read the book yet?

    Steve

  2. #2

    Default Book about Autism

    Steve, she didn't overcome autism (that's not possible), but she has found ways to cope to be as successful as she is. And she has made her special interest (obsession, really) into her profession. The only autistic people who ever really make it in the workplace are the ones that are able to turn their special interest into their profession. Otherwise failure is almost guaranteed.

    Unfortunately, Temple Grandin is no more capable of understanding how other people think than most autistics (no theory of mind). She thinks that ALL autistic people think just like her. But we are all individuals, and so she is wrong on that one. Still, I hear it's a great book.
    German citizen, married to a Canadian for 28 years, four daughters, one son, eight grandchildren (and one on the way).

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Book about Autism

    I saw Temple interviewed on Oprah and she was very inspiring. I enjoyed the fact that she talked about her Moms' support and the fact that she believed in her so much that she was determined to teach Temple to work with her symptoms and challenges to be successful.

    Uschi:
    I have not read this book but what makes you think she thinks that ALL autistic people think just like her? She didn't come across that way in her interview but she did share a lot of her experiences and how she thought and made a few comments about generalizations about Autism that I was aware of, ie visual pictures etc. Isn't it fair to assume that she has educated herself on Autism just as many of us have educated ourselves on TS and that she can make generalizations on how other people think? ie how those with Autism think differently than those who do not?

    Don't you believe that we are all individuals regardless of any diagnosis and that it's okay to make statements around the commonalities when living with a diagnosis?

    I too would be interested in reading her book.. since being online and following your posts, Uschi, I feel I have a better understanding of Autism that I never had before. This has even caused me to assess what is going on with my little boys differently, I guess with an even more open-mind because I would not have thought about Autistic symptoms before.

    Looking forward to your feedback.
    Janet, mom of 4

    TSFC Homepage


    "Intelligence is always increasing; accommodation allows your intelligence to do what it has always done." Cassie Green, Washington College

  4. #4

    Default Book about Autism

    Well, this book was discussed at length in an AS forum I am part of, with excerpts quoted. And it appears that Temple Grandin thinks that ALL autistic people think in pictures like her. A lot of us do, and many don't. I often think in pictures, but not always. You could say that my pictures have captions (probably a poor analogy for want of a better one).

    Now Temple does not have AS, but rather Kanner autism, so there is a difference (albeit a minor one). She became high functioning because of the amazing support and help she had to develop to her full potential.

    That does not mean that she is capable of ever being married or having friendships with people who do not share her interests. Just as I lose interest in people who aren't willing to talk about the things that interest me. For instance, I get bored by most other women, because all they want to talk about is stuff like fashion, clothing, shopping, cooking, decorating their houses and kids. I have zero interest in fashion (I wear what I like and what is soft and comfortable, without being tight anywhere, not what is supposed to be fashionable at any given time), I abhor shopping for the most part, I don't enjoy cooking (that involves multi-tasking, and I am incapable of that and it causes overload), I don't care about decorating and I am seldom able to be interested in other people's kid's achievements and the latest thing they've done, unless it's something extremely funny or extraordinary in some way.

    So, many of my friends are men, because they talk about interesting things like politics, camping etc. (I don't like talking about sports, though). They also won't get all emotional and don't want to do things like hugging and kissing each other on the cheek (I can't stand that at all) all the time. I like a man's bear hug sometimes, they don't hug just to be polite, either. For the most part I don't like being touched, though.

    I have learned to ask about my friend's kids, and to take turns in conversations, and to listen to what people want to talk about. But it takes a great deal of energy to remember all those things, because I would be much happier just talking about my special interests and to 'lecture' everybody on what I have found out again on what I am researching at the present time (and sometimes that still happens, and I bore people to death :oops: ).
    German citizen, married to a Canadian for 28 years, four daughters, one son, eight grandchildren (and one on the way).

  5. #5

    Default Book about Autism

    Who is capable of being married to someone who doesn't share their interests? I don't htink that's an autism thing by any means. Human beings seek out people who are like themselves, who they can share interests with. No matter if you're autistic or not, you're going to have a hard time maintaining a healthy marriage if you have nothing in common and no similar interests!

    And we ALL get bored by people who talk about things we're not interested in. Everyone would rather talk about things that interest them than things that don't. And everyone tends to drop friends who don't share those interests. That doesn't signify autism either. That's why they say, "Birds of a feather flock together." It's an INABILITY (not unwillingness) to talk about anything other than your interest that is a red flag for autism. It's the inflexibility in conversation that is characteristic of autism, not the disinterest in various subjects.

    Obviously not saying you don't have autism! I'm sure you do - we all know ourselves best, right? But it's important not to take normal human characteristics and assume they are autistic tendancies. If we do that, EVERYONE will be diagnosed as autistic. If the line gets blurred as to what autism is, we won't be able to get people to understand those of us who have it and honestly need the understanding, right?

    I have similar problems. I have some things that just FASCINATE me and I research it constantly and I always wanna tell people all about it. I would be in heaven if I could talk about that subject all day! But I am CAPABLE of talking about other things without always changing the subject back to my interest. Still, I'd rather talk about science and politics and informational/intellectual things. And dear god I hate talking about fashion! Although my sister is a fashion merchandising major and she's getting me interested here and there little by little. I have to be in the right mood though. :P

  6. #6

    Default Book about Autism

    Well, what you're talking about, and what I am saying are two different things, really. I am talking extremes here, not what most people do. If I wouldn't consciously remember to take turns talking, and actually PLAN on doing it before I know I am going to talk to people, I forget (and even if then I remember, it's a struggle that takes a great amount of energy). If I attend a party or any social event where I have to remember to be polite, not insist I am right when I know I am, but people don't care etc., it might take me a week to recover. Meaning, that I don't want to really talk to anybody if I can help it for several days, because I am totally stressed out. Which obviously is unhelpful in a marriage.

    And because I didn't know all this, and didn't understand about human interaction and being matched well, I married somebody who doesn't share my interests at all. I hate having guests, because I feel my space is being invaded when people come into this house. I can barely stand having my husband and kids around a lot of the time, without strangers being in the house.

    Often when my youngest daughter brings friends home, I'll have to go upstairs into my own little room and close the door, or they go downstairs into the basement to watch movies. And that's a great improvement, the other four couldn't ever bring friends over!

    If I don't get at least two hours completely alone each day, no personal interaction, no phone calls, just me and my computer (or book), I stop being unable to function and fall into deep depression. In fact, I prefer my computer to people in general. I have to force myself to stay in touch with people and phone them once in a while, so I don't find myself alone without friends when I need somebody. That's a conscious decision, not a need. I don't need people for the most part.

    I also don't miss people. When my kids are gone, I don't miss them. I don't miss my grandchildren, either, who live a six-hour-drive away in Ottawa. I go to visit them once every two or three months, because it is right to stay in touch with your kids/grandchildren, and I want them to know me. I love the little ones. But (and I wouldn't say this to them or my daughter) I don't feel more for my own grandchildren than for the little boys I babysit. And being around my grandchildren overwhelms me after a few days. Four days with them wears me out emotionally, and it's a relief to leave (and again, I would never let on about that).

    Anyway, there is much more of course, but this is what I mean to convey when I say I am (and Temple Grandin is) different.
    German citizen, married to a Canadian for 28 years, four daughters, one son, eight grandchildren (and one on the way).

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