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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? 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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 Understand Medications for Behavioral and Emotional ProblemsHelping Students Overcome Depression and AnxietyHelping Teens Who CutHollow KidsHope's BoyHow Infants Know MindsHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tHurry Down SunshineI Am Not Joey PigzaIdentifying Hyperactive ChildrenIf Your Adolescent Has an Eating DisorderIn the Company of CraziesIncorporating Social Goals in the ClassroomIntegrated YogaIntrusive ParentingIssues for Families, Schools and CommunitiesJake RileyJoey Pigza Loses ControlJoey Pigza Swallowed the KeyJuvenile-Onset SchizophreniaKim: Empty InsideLearning and Behavior Problems in Asperger SyndromeLearning Disorders and Disorders of the Self in Children and AdolescentsLearning Outside the Lines Let Kids Be KidsLiberation's ChildrenLife As We Know ItLisa, Bright and DarkLook Me in the EyeLoserLove and SexLove That DogMad at SchoolMaking ADD WorkMaking American BoysManicMastering Anger and AggressionMaverick MindMedicating ChildrenMind 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? Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhat's Happening to Tom?When Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen Your Child Has an Eating DisorderWhose America?Why Don't Students Like SchoolWill's ChoiceWinnicott On the ChildWorried All the TimeYou Hear MeYoung Minds in Social WorldsYoung People and Mental HealthYour Child, Bully or Victim?
Boy Alone is a book about the author's life growing up in a family with an autistic brother (named "Noah"). The author, Karl Taro Greenfeld, is a quite skilled, and inveterate, writer, based in New York City. The book is replete with sobering biographical details, with a substantive emphasis on how Noah's autism, in real life terms, has affected the lives of Noah, the author, and their parents. Greenfeld's writing spots details with an eagle's sharp eye, exudes emotions and feelings palpably, and sears readers with the flames of fiery candor. His detailed, emotion laden, and frankly written memoir will likely fascinate readers.
Biographical details drawn selectively from the lives of the author, Noah, and their parents substantively embody the book.
Numerous snippets of recounted conversation, grafted into the book's body, further enliven its substance.
But there may be critical concern as to whether the selected biographical details and fragmented quotes forming the book's substantive essence have been recollected accurately by Greenfeld.
The cloth of the book's substance is interwoven further with many strands of pensively critical musings.
Curious readers may wonder whether the cloth's composition would have been the same if it had been composed relatively more contemporaneously with the events later giving vent to the musing of Greenfeld.
Noah's autistic life, from the time of infancy, is fleshed out by Greenfeld in biographically detailed, and critical, fashion.For instance, the care and treatment of Noah is detailed critically; the reader is informed about behaviors exhibited characteristically by Noah (such as: spitting, hair grabbing. and tantrums); and the issue of Noah's institutionalization garners Greenfeld's detailed attention.
In the critically sobering judgment of Greenfeld, Noah has been subjected to dubious therapies, and abused by supposed caregivers. He has been in one institution after another; and along the way, according to Greenfeld, Noah has been damaged, hurt, and almost certainly raped.
Throughout the book, Greenfeld is likewise very frank in describing his emotions and feelings regarding Noah, as they have evolved over time. Indeed, the book is a reservoir filled deeply with Greenfeld's conflicted emotions and feelings, including: love, jealousy, worry, denial, hope, despair, compassion, guilt, shame, happiness, sorrow, resentment, frustration, and anger.
Joined to the book's far end is a "Bibliography" of materials germane to autism.
The information and insights presented by Greenfeld, directly or indirectly, raise myriad questions. The book's question raising nature, in fact, is a powerful pillar of didactic strength.
Some of the issues pertain to the care and treatment of autistic persons. What, for instance, is optimal therapy for autistic: young children? Adolescents? Adults? Is it humane, legal, ethical, or medically proper for an autistic person to be subjected to aversive, behavior modification "therapy" in the forms of being: physically beaten? Refused water? Refused food?
Other issues appertain to institutionalization. For example, if the parents of an autistic person are unable or unwilling to care for the autistic family member at home, how affordable is institutionalization? How might family psychodynamics be impacted by the institutionalization of an autistic family member? What, realistically, can institutionalization do for an autistic person? What types of "treatment procedures" are used at institutions housing autistic persons? How adequate is staffing at such facilities? Are institutionalized autistic persons protected adequately against abusive, and criminal, behavior, including rape?
Each autistic person has a unique life experience. And likewise, every family member of an autistic person has a uniquely personal life.
Also, the states of medical research, clinical medicine, and the law, pertinent to autism, are changeable.
But Greenfeld's riveting personal account of growing up in a family with an autistic sibling will very likely grip readers' attention tenaciously with the power of gut wrenching, anecdotal details, heartfelt emotions, and unapologetically blunt candor.
Professionals who may be gripped firmly, by the tentacles of the book's absorbing (of readers' attention) contents, include: autism specialists, developmental disability specialists, neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, behavioral therapists, speech therapists, cognitive scientists, neuroscientists, geneticists, neurobiologists, primary care physicians, pediatricians, special education teachers, social workers, health policy makers, and legislators.
© 2010 Leo Uzych
Leo Uzych (based in Wallingford, PA) earned a law degree, from Temple University; and a master of public health degree, from Columbia University. His area of special professional interest is healthcare.