The Science and Fiction of Autism (Paperback)
  • The Science and Fiction of Autism (Paperback)

The Science and Fiction of Autism (Paperback)

Paperback Published: 01/09/2007
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Autism is a complex and incurable constellation of bizarre behaviors, impaired cognition, limited language, and most distressingly, a lack of responsiveness to other people, and it has been the center of impassioned debates for decades. What is it? What causes it? How can it be treated?

In The Science and Fiction of Autism, one of the country's leading experts in behavioral treatments approaches autism through the context of its controversies, showing where extraordinary and unfounded claims have falsely raised hopes, stirred fears, and ruined lives. Arguing that autism is an entirely biological disorder, however complex its neurological origins, Laura Schreibman lays waste to the beliefs that it is caused by "refrigerator mothers" or the MMR vaccine, as well as to the simplistic claims that it can be cured by a variety of unsubstantiated treatments.

Drawing from her own long clinical experience with autistic children and their parents, Schreibman arms her readers--students, educators, psychologists, and parents alike--with information and arguments to deal with the onslaught of good, bad, deficient, and irrelevant ideas about autism.

Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674025691
Dimensions: 210 x 140 mm


Most books on autism are either enormously long scientific tomes, or quick slick guides based mostly on what will sell. Laura Schreibman's book is something much rarer: scientifically reliable, but readable, pithy, and down-to-earth, full of quotations and examples from her years of work with autistic children. This will be an invaluable resource for parents, students, and novice clinicians eager for lessons and advice they can trust. - Bryna Siegel, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco and Director of its Autism Clinic

In this valuable, vivid little book, Laura Schreibman brings a wealth of practical clinical experience and deep research knowledge to answer many of the most contentious questions about autism, with a reassuring spirit and down to earth style. - Catherine Lord, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Michigan and Director of the University of Michigan Autism and Communication Disorders Center

[Schreibman] provides a comprehensive account of this mysterious disorder within the context of the controversies and contentions of the field...Although expertly guiding readers through a detailed analysis of characteristics, diagnosis and treatment, Schreibman never forgets to illuminate the human side of autism...This book is strongly recommended for parents and professionals dealing with this debilitating illness. - Publishers Weekly

Schreibman has written a solid if conservative book outlining our current understanding of and misperceptions about the causes and treatments of autism. - Corey Seeman, Library Journal

[Schreibman] provides a comprehensive account of controversies in the field of autism...Her approach is refreshingly undogmatic and pragmatic, emphasizing the importance of applying theory flexibly in relation to the particular needs and circumstances of the child...If Schreibman's book encourages both parents and professionals to adopt a more critical approach towards [campaigns by some parents promoting unorthodox biomedical theories and treatments], this will protect families from further 'crushed hopes, ineffective treatments and false starts.' It will also help to restore appropriate boundaries between parents and professionals. It may therefore make an important contribution to the welfare of children in general, and those with autism in particular. - Michael Fitzpatrick, Nature

For anyone wading through the sea of misinformation and conflicting reports swirling around autistic disorder, this book is a lifesaver. The author takes each controversy and scientifically breaks it down into what's proven, what's promising, what's unlikely, and what's just plain false. Further, it teaches the reader how to do the same thing--to critically evaluate the myriad claims surrounding this mysterious and devastating disorder. - Kristin Taveira, Newsday

For anyone close to an autistic person who wants to learn about the problem, this is almost certainly the best available manual...Schreibman describes pretty much every current approach to autism, and examines how well supported by evidence each proposed theory is, and how well each therapy works. There is no better straightforward source of answers than this book. - Ian Hacking, London Review of Books

Autism--its etiology and its treatment--has been, and continues to be, a subject of debate in several professions, and here Schreibman explains the controversies and the science behind them...She covers diagnosis, assessment, etiology, core deficits, and treatment, introducing readers to past and current thinking. The reference list, organized by chapter, will be a valuable resource for those who want to further their knowledge of autism. Schreibman's approach to this controversial disorder is refreshing, and her book will serve an audience ranging from professionals to those just learning about autism. - M. Thornton, Choice

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