Understanding Autism (for Dummies, by Stephen Shore)

The title of this post is taken from the title of a book about autism – Understanding Autism For Dummies, by Stephen M. Shore, Ed.D., and Linda G. Rastelli, MA, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. in September 2006.

Our regional Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) recently had the pleasure of meeting Stephen Shore and listen to him talk when he agreed to participate in a workshop on autism we organized for the Autism Awareness Month.

Stephen Shore, currently in his forties, was diagnosed with autism when he was a child and was non-verbal until he was four. His parents were advised to institutionalize him, but didn’t do it. Instead, his mother “worked” with him until he was ready to be admitted to school. That was the sixties, before “Early Intervention” and any other mandated support for disabled children existed. Now Stephen Shore has a doctoral degree in education, is a very-well recognized speaker on autism, and in addition to Understanding Autism For Dummies, is the author of Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome (Second Edition), and editor of Ask and Tell: Self-Advocacy and Disclosure for People on the Autism Spectrum.

If you ever get a chance to see Stephen Shore talk, go. You won’t regret it – he’s a very engaging speaker. You can get a feeling of what he’s like from the clips he posted to his web site, in the “In the News” section.

What I liked about Understanding Autism For Dummies is that although it starts with the basics, it is not just any old introductory book to autism. I actually bought the book for myself, for future reference, after reading a copy I got from the library. Even the introductory section, titled “Understanding Autism” has a wealth of information – it covers the current diagnosis, talks about the spectrum, the present understanding of the causes, and brief discussion of available interventions, all in a plain, simple to understand language.

On the publisher’s web site you can see part of the first chapter and the complete table of contents in pdf.

In closing, I just want to quote here briefly the beginning of the section titled “Living with Autism as an Adult.”

“Adults with autism often get less attention than children with autism. We believe this needs to change, […], and we’re not the only ones. Adults with autism and Asperger’s need help choosing careers, navigating the complexities of higher education, and understanding social relationships.”

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