Dude, I’m an Aspie. Kid’s Edition – Matt Friedman
At the beginning of this blog, I wrote about how I would read all kinds of autism/SEND books regardless of my own biases towards the type of book. I am well aware of my bias against ABA, but another one I have is for books written by those self-diagnosed as autistic. I do not consider it possible to diagnose yourself. I consider it suspecting, and I believe that the distinction is important – especially as I have had self-diagnosed individuals tell me that I am not autistic because, as a female, I present with some very stereotypical autistic traits…. I am aware I have a bias against people who self-diagnose, and particularly those who then write about “Neurotypicals and Autistics” in some kind of dichotomous way…because these people could be Neurotypical themselves so I think it’s quite hypocritical. It is this aversion that has put a lot of books on my “I’ll read it later” pile – and this is the first one to come off the top.
Anyway – onto the book. It wasn’t until I went back to check the front cover, I realised I had the Kid’s Edition so I think that probably means this is a shorter version. As I’m sure you worked out – Friedman is a “self-identified Aspie”, and there’s the usual justification for this before the book moves into a combination of short written sections intermingled with illustrations which look like mini-versions of Captain Caveman. The artwork isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste but I thought the mini-cavemen were quite cool.
In terms of written content, it’s fairly average stuff covering (very briefly): social encounters, literal thinking, hypersensitivity, face-blindness, processing time, and eye contact. It also brings up the usual mentions of Asperger’s being a gift and vital to human evolution and bringing out the sweeping statements of positives. Then it ends with a message of acceptance at the end.
It’s very average. It’s specific to Friedman and his personality and traits so it’s applicability to other people may be limited (for example, not all autistic people are hypersensitive, a number are hypo-sensitive).
Value for money?
Paperback is £3.74. I personally would not pay that for the limited content in this book – especially given the generalisations. If it’s part of a school or library where it sits amongst other stories about autism then yeah – it’s good value for money there.