Essential reading for any parent, teacher, therapist, or caregiver of a person with autism: 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. Dr. Barry M. Prizant, an internationally renowned autism expert, offers a new and compelling paradigm: the way to help a person with autism change for the better, he argues, is to change ourselves--our attitudes and our 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 in 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.
"With the precision of a consummate scientist combined with the wisdom of a sage, Barry leverages his deep understanding of people with autism, revealing that individuals on the spectrum are just like everyone else - but perhaps just more so. This unique book is a must read for anyone desiring a deeper understanding, through the lens of a seasoned and mindful professional in the field of autism, answering the bigger question what it means to be human."--Stephen Mark Shore, EdD, clinical assistant professor of special education at Adelphi University, autistic self-advocate and author
"Autism was initially described in 1943, and now with Uniquely Human, it is rediscovered 70 years later as a shared human experience. Autism is part of every community, and this tour of autism changes everything. Now, autism makes sense, and tomorrow looks a whole lot brighter for everyone. Stop what you are doing. Read this book. It's a masterpiece."--Carol Gray, educator, developer of Social Stories and international consultant
"Uniquely Human is an amazing book! It will change our perception and understanding of autism. Barry Prizant has an intuitive understanding of autism spectrum disorders and the wisdom of four decades of experience. I strongly recommend this book to parents and professionals, and congratulate Barry for writing the book that needed to be written".--Tony Attwood, PhD, author of The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome
"Refreshing--and constructive.... It should be required reading for all educators and practitioners working with autism....Breathtakingly simple and profoundly positive." (Chicago Tribune)
"Uniquely Human is brilliant. A revolution."--Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes
Barry M. Prizant, PhD, CCC-SLP, is among the world's leading authorities on autism. He is an adjunct professor at Brown University and coauthor of The SCERTS Model: A Comprehensive Educational Approach, now being implemented in more than a dozen countries. Dr. Prizant has published more than 120 articles and chapters, and has received many awards including the 2014 Honors of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2005 Princeton University-Eden Foundation Career Award in Autism, and the 2013 "Divine Neurotypical Award" of GRASP. Dr. Prizant lives in Cranston, RI, with his wife, Dr. Elaine Meyer, and their teenage son.
Tom Fields-Meyer is author of the critically acclaimed memoir Following Ezra: What One Father Learned About Gumby, Otters, Autism, and Love from His Extraordinary Son, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. A former senior writer for People, he lives in Los Angeles, where he teaches in the UCLA Extension Writers' Program.
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Uniquely Human is also available as an eBook from Special Needs Project.
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