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12 and HoldingA Guide to Asperger SyndromeA Lethal InheritanceA Mother's Courage: Talking Back to AutismA Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning AutismA Special EducationA Toss Of The DiceA Tribe ApartA User Guide to the GF/CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HDA Walk in the Rain With a BrainABC of Eating DisordersADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your LifeADHD Grown UpADHD in the Schools: Assessment and Intervention StrategiesADHD NationAdolescence and Body ImageAdolescent DepressionAggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAll Alone in the UniverseAlpha GirlsAmericaAnother PlanetAntisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAsperger Syndrome and Your ChildAsperger Syndrome, Adolescence, and IdentityAsperger's and GirlsAssessment of Childhood DisordersAttention Deficit DisorderAttention-Deficit Hyperactivity DisorderAttention-Deficit/Hyperactivity DisorderAutism - The Eighth Colour of the RainbowAutism and MeAutism's False ProphetsAutistic Spectrum DisordersBad GirlBeen There, Done That? DO THIS!Before I DieBetween Two WorldsBeyond AppearanceBig Mouth & Ugly GirlBipolar ChildrenBipolar Disorder in Childhood and Early AdolescenceBipolar DisordersBipolar KidsBlackwell Handbook of Childhood Cognitive DevelopmentBody Image, Eating Disorders, and ObesityBody Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in YouthBoy AloneBrain-Based Therapy with Children and AdolescentsBreaking PointBreathing UnderwaterBringing Up ParentsBullying and TeasingBullying PreventionBut I Love HimCan't Eat, Won't EatCaring for a Child with AutismCatalystChild and Adolescent PsychiatryChild and Adolescent Psychological DisordersChild and Adolescent PsychopathologyChild NeuropsychologyChild Well-BeingChildren and SexualityChildren Changed by TraumaChildren with Emerald EyesChildren with Sexual Behavior ProblemsChildren, Sexuality and SexualizationChildren’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness City of OneCommunication Issues In Autism And Asperger SyndromeConcepts of NormalityConcise Guide to Child and Adolescent PsychiatryConquering the Beast WithinConsuming KidsContesting ChildhoodCount Us InCrackedCrossesCutCyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy TeensDamageDemystifying the Autistic ExperienceDescartes' BabyDilemmas of DesireDirtyDisconnected KidsDoing SchoolDon't Bother Me Mom--I'm Learning!Don't Pick On MeDying to Be ThinEarly Intervention Programs and PoliciesEating an ArtichokeEducating Children With AutismEight Stories UpElijah's CupEmerald City BluesEmotional and Behavioral Problems of Young ChildrenEpilepticEthical Dilemmas in PediatricsEvery Girl Tells a StoryExiting NirvanaExploiting ChildhoodEye ContactFacing BipolarFamily HistoryFast GirlsForever YoungFreaks, Geeks and Asperger SyndromeFreewillFrictionGirl CultureGirl in the MirrorGirlfightingGirlhoodGirlWiseHandbook of Evidence-Based Therapies for Children and AdolescentsHandbook of Preschool Mental HealthHealing ADDHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHelping Hyperactive KidsHelping Parents, Youth, and Teachers 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FieldsMind to MindMommy I'm Still in HereMore Than a LabelMy Flesh and BloodMyths of ChildhoodNew Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar DisorderNew Look at ADHD: Inhibition, Time, and Self-ControlNo Child Left DifferentNo Two AlikeNon-Drug Treatments for ADHDNot Much Just Chillin'NurtureShockOdd Girl OutOdd Girl Speaks OutOne Hot SecondOne in ThirteenOphelia SpeaksOphelia's MomOur Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger SyndromeOut of the WoodsOvercoming ADHDOvercoming School AnxietyParenting a Child Who Has Intense EmotionsParenting Children With ADHDParenting Your Out-Of-Control TeenagerPediatric PsychopharmacologyPediatric PsychopharmacologyPediatric PsychopharmacologyPeople with HyperactivityPhobic and Anxiety Disorders in Children and AdolescentsPINSPlease Don't Label My ChildPraising Boys WellPraising Girls WellProblem Child or Quirky Kid?Problem GirlsPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsPsychotherapy with Children and AdolescentsPurgeRaising a Moody 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Revised EditionTaming the Troublesome ChildTemple GrandinThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook Of Child And Adolescent PsychiatryThe Anti-Romantic ChildThe Bipolar ChildThe Boy Who Loved Too MuchThe Boy Who Loved WindowsThe Boy Who Was Raised as a DogThe Buffalo TreeThe Bully Action GuideThe Bully, the Bullied, and the BystanderThe Burn JournalsThe Color of AbsenceThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeThe Depressed ChildThe Developing MindThe Dragons of AutismThe Einstein SyndromeThe EpidemicThe Evolution of ChildhoodThe Explosive ChildThe Eyes of van GoghThe Fasting GirlThe Field of the DogsThe Flight of a DoveThe Hidden Gifts of the Introverted ChildThe Horse BoyThe Identity TrapThe Inner World of a Suicidal YouthThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Kindness of StrangersThe Last Normal ChildThe Little MonsterThe Medicated ChildThe Myth of LazinessThe New Gay TeenagerThe Nurture AssumptionThe OASIS Guide to Asperger SyndromeThe Other ParentThe Perversion of YouthThe Philosophy of AutismThe Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Ride TogetherThe Rise and Fall of the American TeenagerThe Science of ADHDThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Survival Guide for Kids With LD*The Unhappy ChildThen Again, Maybe I Won'tTherapy with ChildrenThings I Have to Tell YouThings Tom LikesThrough the Glass WallThumbsuckerTotally WiredTouching Spirit BearTrauma in the Lives of ChildrenTreating ADHD and Comorbid DisordersTreatment of Childhood DisordersTwistedUnder the Wolf, Under the DogUnhappy TeenagersUnstrange MindsWastedWe've Got IssuesWeather Reports from the Autism FrontWhat about the KidsWhat in the World Are Your Kids Doing Online?What Works for Whom?What Would Joey Do?What's Happening to My Body? 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This is a welcome addition to the growing library about Asperger
Syndrome. Compared with most books, this takes a slightly different approach to
the subject by using a narrative approach and more specifically a combination
of life stories as told by five teenagers and one almost teenager plus some
additional life history material contributed by their parents. The authors used
a guided (but not structured) interview technique that combined freedom with
the coverage of certain specific areas that they wanted to highlight. They are
both researchers and writers. Latika Vasil has a doctorate in educational
psychology. Both are involved in various autism and Asperger Syndrome
The young people they interviewed were resident at the time either in
Singapore or in the U.K. but two of those in Singapore belonged to the
international community there and were not native to the country. This gave the
authors a wide range of experience to draw upon. Lee is, at the time of his
interviews, studying mathematics and computer science at Oxford University.
Rachel is at a specialist school in Greater London. Sarah, the almost teenager,
is Australian but attending an international school in Singapore. Chee Kiong
was born and bred in Singapore. He is currently studying at a junior college
there. Luke (Jackson -- he is the only one known by his real name) lives in
England and is already famous for two books that he has written about autism
and Asperger Syndrome. Simon is Australian/American but living in Singapore. He
is attending a British international school that provides specialist education.
The themes that emerged are very useful to both those having AS and
those wanting to know more about it. The first is how being diagnosed as having
AS helps the individual to start making sense of her/his life. It seems that it
is usually a relief to have an explanation for something one knows sets one
apart. However, the second theme, labeling and identity, adds a caveat to that.
Just as AS is one end of the autism spectrum, the high-performing end, so too
is AS a spectrum in itself. The savant totally lacking in social skills is only
one example. As part of the labeling theme, the researchers asked five
questions about whether the young people accepted their diagnosis, whether they
thought of AS as a disability, which parts of themselves they thought of as due
to AS and which not, whom they told about their AS, and how they dealt with
people's assumptions about it. None of them disagreed with their diagnosis; two
of them thought AS a disability especially as regards relationships whereas the
others viewed it very positively; most of them had managed to get beyond the label
and were accepting themselves as themselves; whom they told about their AS
depended very much on their situation -- they tended to keep it quiet with
friends and acquaintances if they were in a mainstream school but felt able to
share the information if they were in a specialist school; the main problem
which emerged about people's assumptions was that uninformed people (and often
those who should have been better informed) presumed that all those having AS
had the same traits.
The third theme is socializing and making friends. This was expectedly a
problem area for all of them but for some more than most. Friendship was most
likely to occur with someone in a similar position where they would not have to
pretend to be other than what they were. Dating was something that was going to
take place later than for their NT ('neuro-typical') contemporaries. The fourth
theme is schooling. Finding an appropriate school appears to be very difficult.
With Britain's schools basically in a market situation where their pecking
order is trumpeted by a league table, there is obviously no incentive to accept
let alone spend scarce resources on students with special educational needs.
The majority of international schools fare no better as most of them are
private for-profit institutions. Some small specialist schools are obviously
excellent as are some specialist centres inside mainstream schools. Over all,
however, schooling does seem to be a problem with bullying being a major part
of it. The fifth theme, family life, is interesting as it reveals that it
appears quite common for a second child in an AS family to have either AS or
ADHD. Mothers seemed to have good relationships with their AS children;
fathers, on the whole, less so. Relationships between AS children and their
siblings could be quite fraught but on occasion could be genuinely warm. The
sixth theme, rages and blues, deals with the anger and depression that often
accompany AS -- the anger resulting from frustration and the depression usually
from the social isolation.
The book has an excellent index and a very useful bibliography. It has
been excellently proof-read and reads very smoothly.
Books like this are so useful to parents, teachers, and, of course,
those who have AS. Knowing how other people cope, how positive they can be and
what heights of achievement they can scale is a tremendously valuable
contribution. This is a very worthwhile addition to the literature on the
© 2006 Kevin M. Purday
Kevin Purday works at The Modern English School,
Cairo, Egypt, and has a Master's degree in the Philosophy & Ethics of
Mental Health from the Philosophy Dept. at the University of Warwick.
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