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How to Understand Autism
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In this clear and accessible introduction to autism, Alexander Durig provides a host of ideas and examples that enable the reader to understand the phenomenon of autism, recognize different kinds of autistic perception and behaviour, and prepare for interaction with autistic people. To help 'normal' people understand and lose their fear of autism, Durig discusses the notions of 'slight' autism, being or becoming 'autism-friendly', and the mental well-being of autistic-people. The author explains how autistic perception 'works' and how it yields autistic behaviours', to enable readers to see the world through the eyes of an autistic person, and thus change the way they perceive autism.
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Table of Contents

Introduction. 1. Social thinking and computer thinking. 2. How social thinking and computer thinking work together. 3. Exploring the experience of autism. 4. How to begin communicating with autistic people. 5. How we are all autistic to one extent or another. 6. The practical side of understanding autism: tips for teaching and interacting with autistic people. Conclusion. References. Index.

About the Author

Alexander Durig received a Ph.D. in the social psychology of perception from Indiana University in 1992, where he was awarded a National Institute of Mental Health post-doctoral fellowship and spent two years as a visiting professor. Alex then spent 5 years as a professor at California State University, San Marcos. His first book, Autism and the Crisis of Meaning, was published in 1996. He has published in numerous academic journals. Alex speaks publicly to healthcare professionals, psychologists, sociologists, linguists, and families whose lives have been impacted by autism.

Reviews

'In this intriguing book Alex Durig vigorously explores the murky - almost mystical - borderland between autism and normality. Durig's well-written and creative challenge to conventional thinking about autism is sure to arouse controversy while it broadens perspectives.' - Bernard Rimland, Ph.D., Director, Autism Research Institute 'Alex Durig presents a clear, alternative paradigm to professionals, parents, and adults who "don't get" autism. Durig is a seminal thinker. In explaining autistic perception and behavior, his insight is as significant a contribution to understanding human thought and behavior as the writings and teachings of L.S. Vygotsky, A.R. Luria, Herb Lovett, Tony Attwood and Deirdre V. Lovecky. Using a unique approach, Durig emphasizes the spectral nature of autism. He rejects the autism industry's misdirected medical/scientific stereotypic views about autism, approaches that fundamentally disparage and disrespect human differences. Durig is critical of "expert" characterizations wedded to terms implying the fix-it/cure it baggage of moralistic disapprobation such as disease, disorder, deficits, dysfunctional, and disabled. For professionals and lay readers alike, Durig explains why perceiving autistic individuals through the lens of "normalization" does not work. He clearly explains why medical, scientific, and education industry efforts to squeeze individuals on the spectrum into diagnostic boxes (that leak!) have accounted for documented, continued failed efforts to improve the quality of life of their clients/patients/students/children. By presenting autism as a different mental process of meaningfully perceiving the world, Durig proposes a model of individual human differences based upon two critical constructs: Social Thinking and Computer Thinking. Rather than using language and terms that have historically distorted experts' characterizations of autism, he presents the reader with a clear, intuitively correct visual chart model designed to enlighten the reader, and, for the first time, successfully explain human differences in perception and behavior in humanistic, empathetic terms. For anyone involved with autistic spectrum issues, Durig's book is a "must read".' - Roger N. Meyer, author of Asperger Syndrome Employment Workbook

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