Finding out about Asperger Syndrome, High Functioning Autism and PDD – Gunilla Gerland
An easy-read introduction to (high-functioning) Autism Spectrum Disorders for newly diagnosed children and young people, and as a quick-start guide for others.
Gerland has put together a very short (45 pages) introduction to autism, designed to give small snippets of information in one easily digestible book. This books aims for variety rather than depth and moves from one topic to another without really exploring any in-depth. Which is fine, it is the aim of the book after all.
A young man with Asperger’s syndrome once described how he feels when things are difficult: ‘Everything goes in all directions’. I think it describes the feeling very well.
So whilst the relative brevity of the book makes it very straight-forward and manageable for it’s audience, it does mean that the book struggles in a number of areas. When it is discussing difficulties – Gerland makes the decision to start this section off with a brief passage on Motor Difficulties. Which aren’t part of the diagnostic criteria and (whilst semi-common) are by no means a universal criteria.
The section on the sense also suffers from the small word-count, and just as it seems as though the section is about to get started – it ends. The entire section on “Thinking Differently” is just the tired old posthumous armchair diagnosis of Einstein which – by this point – has become very tiresome.
All of which means the book is limited in its usefulness. It is a reasonably rounded approach, maintaining positivity whilst also acknowledging the existence of difficulties, but with autism awareness being what it is now this book might not be as useful as other, newer and similar books.
Is it value for money and is it worth reading?
It’s around £6 – and I’m not sure that it’s worth that today. Especially as there are other, better books that do the same thing this book aims to do. If you can find a cheap copy somewhere then maybe give it a read.