Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism (Paperback)
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Winner of the Autism Society of America’s Dr. Temple Grandin Award for the Outstanding Literary Work in Autism
A groundbreaking book on autism, by one of the world’s leading experts, who portrays autism as a unique way of being human—this is “required reading....Breathtakingly simple and profoundly positive” (Chicago Tribune).
Autism therapy typically focuses on ridding individuals of “autistic” symptoms such as difficulties interacting socially, problems in communicating, sensory challenges, and repetitive behavior patterns. Now Dr. Barry M. Prizant offers a new and compelling paradigm: the most successful approaches to autism don’t aim at fixing a person by eliminating symptoms, but rather seeking to understand the individual’s experience and what underlies the behavior.
“A must-read for anyone touched by autism... Dr. Prizant’s Uniquely Human is a crucial step in promoting better understanding and a more humane approach” (Associated Press). Instead of classifying “autistic” behaviors as signs of pathology, Dr. Prizant sees them as part of a range of strategies to cope with a world that feels chaotic and overwhelming. Rather than curb these behaviors, it’s better to enhance abilities, build on strengths, and offer supports that will lead to more desirable behavior and a better quality of life.
“A remarkable approach to autism....A truly impactful, necessary book” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), Uniquely Human offers inspiration and practical advice drawn from Dr. Prizant’s four-decade career. It conveys a deep respect for people with autism and their own unique qualities. Filled with humanity and wisdom, Uniquely Human “should reassure parents and caregivers of kids with autism and any other disability that their kids are not broken, but, indeed, special” (Booklist, starred review).
About the Author
Barry M. Prizant, PhD, CCC-SLP, is recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities and as an innovator of respectful, person- and family-centered approaches for individuals on the autism spectrum and with neurodevelopmental conditions. Dr. Prizant specializes in communication disorders and child and human development, and is a visiting scholar at Brown University. He has fifty years of experience as an international consultant, clinical scholar, and researcher. He is coauthor of The SCERTS Model: A Comprehensive Educational Approach, now being implemented in more than a dozen countries, and widely used clinical assessment instruments. Dr. Prizant has been an invited keynote speaker/presenter in more than twenty-five countries and has published four books, 140+ articles and chapters, and has received many awards for his career improving quality of life for autistic persons and related conditions and their families. He is cohost of Uniquely Human: The Podcast, with autistic engineer, Dave Finch (UniquelyHuman.com).
Tom Fields-Meyer is author of the critically acclaimed memoir Following Ezra: What One Father Learned About Gumby, Otters, Autism, and Love from His Extraordinary Son, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. The coauthor (with Barry M. Prizant) of Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism, and former senior writer for People, he lives in Los Angeles, where he teaches in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program.
"Refreshing--and constructive.... It should be required reading for all educators and practitioners working with autism....Breathtakingly simple and profoundly positive."
— Chicago Tribune
"A remarkable approach to autism....A truly impactful, necessary book."
— Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Uniquely Human is not just the perfect title for Barry Prizant's book, it's also an appropriate summation of Dr. Prizant's career. Though a clinical scholar, he is a humanist first, and always has been—a professional who is fascinated by unexamined lives that could be lived happily, yet aren't. With every brilliant, illuminating example in his book, he steers us away from the traditional fix-it mentality and towards the beatific, personally rewarding detective work that the entire spectrum world would be well served to adopt. Thanks be to Barry for the first-ever ‘must read’ written for parents, educators, and clinicians."
— Michael John Carley, Founder, GRASP; Author of Asperger's From the Inside-Out
"Uniquely Human is brilliant. A revolution.”
— Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes
"Dr. Prizant explains the causes of behaviors associated with autism. I love his approach for understanding problems with sensory overload, anxiety and discomfort. He provides common sense, practical advice based on a 40-year career working in the trenches with both parents and teachers."
— Temple Grandin, author of The Autistic Brain and The Way I See It