Remapping the World of Autism
On Sale: January 1, 2007
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"This is a wise and compassionate book, informed by academic
rigor, deep personal feeling, and a sensitivity not only to
the difference that is autism but also to the variety of
human experience across cultures and classes. Grinkerâ€™s
research is as wide-ranging as it is open-minded, bringing
together the precision of social science and the artistry of
memoir, balancing the academic and the anecdotal to build
polemical arguments about the nature and prevalence of
autism. He speaks of how people have responded to the
illness, and of how else we might respond, and in doing so
challenges us to make a better world." â€”Andrew Solomon,
author of The Noonday Demon, winner of the National Book Award.
This global exploration of autism by an anthropologist --
and father of a child with autism -- is the first book to
show that the autism "epidemic" holds surprising new promise
for better diagnosis and treatment. Unstrange Minds
documents Grinker's quest to find out why autism is so much
more common today, and to uncover the implications of the
increase. His search took him to Africa, India, and East
Asia, to the National Institutes of Mental Health, and to
the mountains of Appalachia . What he discovered is both
surprising and controversial: the high rates of autism may
not be proof of an epidemic.
Grinker shows that the identification and treatment of
autism everywhere depends on culture just as much as on
science. With the rise of parent advocacy, mainstreaming in
education, public awareness, and the decline of the stigma
of brain-based disorders, there are more people in the world
today with a diagnosis of autism today than at any time in
history. Doctors are describing and treating the disorder
better, epidemiologists are counting it better, school
systems are coding it better -- and children are benefiting.
There is more research, more special education, more
philanthropy, more understanding of how families struggle to
cope. Finally, after all these years, weâ€™ve realized that
autism is a major public health concern.
Filled with moving stories from throughout the world, and
informed by the latest science and Grinkerâ€™s own experience
raising a daughter with autism, Unstrange Minds is unlike
any other book on autism. It is a powerful testament to a
father's quest for the truth, and is urgently relevant to
anyone whose life is touched by one of history's most
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