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eBook American Normal: The Hidden World of Asperger Syndrome ePub

eBook American Normal: The Hidden World of Asperger Syndrome ePub

by Lawrence Osborne

  • ISBN: 0387953078
  • Category: Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Subcategory: Other
  • Author: Lawrence Osborne
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Copernicus Books; 2002 edition (October 4, 2002)
  • Pages: 224
  • ePub book: 1965 kb
  • Fb2 book: 1280 kb
  • Other: mbr rtf doc txt
  • Rating: 4.3
  • Votes: 513

Description

While the UK isn’t showing any signs of jumping on the Asperger’s bandwago. ooks and articles on the subject makes it hard to ignore. Osborne’s better than most because it takes the opposite tack, making the similarities between Asperger’s sufferers and unaffected people bigger than the differences. Emma Thomas, Focus, November, 2003).

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Lawrence Osborne contributes frequently to "The New York Times Magazine, Lingua Franca, The New Republic, "and "Talk," and is the author of" Paris Dreambook, The Poisoned Embrace, "and "American Normal," Born in England, he lives in New York. Библиографические данные. American Normal: The Hidden World of Asperger Syndrome.

American Normal: The Hidden World of Asperger Syndrome (2002). Osborne, Lawrence (15 March 2004). The Accidental Connoisseur: An Irreverent Journey Through the Wine World. The Wet and the Dry (2013). Osborne, Lawrence (12 June 2007).

While the UK isn’t showing any signs of jumping on the Asperger’s bandwago.

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'American Normal: The Hidden World of Asperger Syndrome,'' by Lawrence Osborne.

Osborne looks at how individuals with AS, subject to all sorts of perceptions, live their day-to-day lives. jarlalex, July 29, 2007. It can be good to see all people with these labels as possessing unique characteristics that are pertinent in all human beings, or thinking that we all have a little bit of Asperger in all of us.

Автор: Osborne Lawrence Название: American Normal, The Hidden World of Asperger . Описание: Asperger's Syndrome For Dummies covers everything that both sufferers and parents need to know about the condition.

Описание: Asperger's Syndrome For Dummies covers everything that both sufferers and parents need to know about the condition.

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Asperger's Syndrome, often characterized as a form of "high-functioning autism," is a poorly defined and little-understood neurological disorder. The people who suffer from the condition are usually highly intelligent, and as often as not capable of extraordinary feats of memory, calculation, and musicianship. In this wide-ranging report on Asperger's, Lawrence Osborne introduces us to those who suffer from the syndrome and to those who care for them as patients and as family. And, more importantly, he speculates on how, with our need to medicate and categorize every conceivable mental state, we are perhaps adding to their isolation, their sense of alienation from the "normal." -This is a book about the condition, and the culture surrounding Asperger's Syndrome as opposed to a guide about how to care for your child with Aspergers. -Examines American culture and the positive and negative perspectives on the condition. Some parents hope their child will be the next Glenn Gould or Bill Gates, others worry that their child is abnormal and overreact.

Comments

Amarin Amarin
Excellent book (I say this as an Aspie who married an Aspie), but marred by some sad proofreading sloppiness. Specifically, the surname of the French educator and psychologist Edouard Seguin is persistently misspelled as "Sequin."
Buriwield Buriwield
This is the funniest, most perceptive book on the subject that I have ever read. The author's style and approach make this work stand out from the plethora of other books on the whole Asperger's Syndrome phenomenon.
Ventelone Ventelone
As an adult Aspie, I found Osborne's portrayal of Asperger's Syndrome to be tedious and tendentious. Even though the condition may be somewhat amorphous, there is a clear distinction between Aspies and non-Aspies. The otherness is what defines Asperger's Syndrome. Osborne attempts to raise the question regarding our very conception of normalcy and the long running theme of the book is the idea that perhaps everyone is on the spectrum in some way or another. That is, despite all its weirdness, there is nothing all that abnormal about Asperger's Syndrome. The message is hopeful in that it opens the gates to social acceptance, but I do think that he tends to underplay the severe problems that autistic individuals have in integrating into society.

However often it gets told, the story of the Aspie getting humiliated and then fired from a job, drifting downwards as he claws at any available opportunity, getting fired again, and again, before finally reaching a dead end, is perhaps THE story about Asperger's Syndrome. Geniuses have always been exceptions. Whilst it is heartwarming to think that men like Glenn Gould and Thomas Jefferson may have been autistic too, such trivia provides only a false sense of comfort to the 99.999% of Aspies who do not possess those extreme talents. What hope is there for the Aspie who does not possess the savant like skills in music? How many of us will ever turn out to be like Einstein?

Parts of the book had been published in the New York Times Magazine and as befits anything that is published in that august newspaper, the writing is of a high standard. However, Osborne writes as a man who is a professional writer. It is apparent that he has honed his craft and has learned how to reach for the metaphors and the similes. But the style feels a little too commercial, and the words often a little contrived.

Of the many and growing publications on Asperger's Syndrome, I would say that "American Normal" is perhaps one of the better offerings. Books written by Aspies tend to be wooden and excessively direct. Books written by parents of Aspies are usually too homely and thoughtlessly hopeful. Books written by the researchers are typically too specialized to be of any use to the lay reader. While I do sincerely believe that "American Normal" fails to shed any real insight into the lives and tribulations of an Aspie, it is useful for those who are beginning to apprehend the mysteries of the autistic mind. One should probably not be too critical of those who write of enigmas.
Anicasalar Anicasalar
I think Osborne made a strategic error in the way he wrote this book. I believe his intent was to identify and empathize with those who suffer from Asperger's Syndrome. To this end he showed us how he, a "neurotypical," does things that might be considered Aspergerish, such as giving in to an obsessive need to circle lamp posts or to watch every episode of the Japanese TV show "Iron Chef" or to only feel comfortable at Red Roof Inns, etc. In his interviews with Aspies he took a sometimes playful tone, and in his retrospective of people who may (or may not) have had AS, he emphasized the eccentric nature of their lives, not their suffering. The effect of this approach on Aspies themselves was to make them feel that he was trivializing AS. Some even felt he was making fun of them.

Furthermore, in his effort to suggest that AS can be seen as an alternative approach to life (or at least an attempt at one) he ran into those who want to make it clear that Asperger's is a neurological disease and that most (if not all) who suffer from it are not curious "little professors." They and their friends and relatives (and the therapeutic community administering to them) do not want to read anything that in any way might mislead the general public into thinking that Aspies are just weird eccentrics.

In other words, he missed the psychology of the larger AS community. People who are distinct minorities in a larger community, as Aspies are, and who feel discriminated against because they are different (and the larger society surely does discriminate against them)--such people are not likely to welcome a satirical or playful approach to their situation. They tend to be serious and understandably intolerant of anything that might threaten their dignity. And they are right in feeling this way because throughout human history it is only one step from making fun of people to ostracizing them.

Also one gets the sense that more than anything Osborne was satisfying his curiosity. He became the journalist who travels around interviewing AS people to find out what they are like. He reported what he saw and heard. For readers who know little or nothing about AS, this approach has its merit. For those who have AS or are friends or relatives of people with AS, this approach is not only not interesting, it is of little value.

The AS people also feel that such an approach does not best serve the general public. What they want are books that inform the larger community about AS in a factual manner complete with an understanding of the problems that Aspies have to deal with vis-a-vis governmental bureaucracies, school administrators, daily life, etc. They are not going to be pleased with a book about AS that is largely an entertainment. Osborne missed all of this. I am sure he was absolutely shocked and dismayed at the reception his book received from the AS community.

On a more positive note, like me say that Osborne is a very good writer. He worked hard to make his book accessible to the reader, and, yes, entertaining and very readable. He balanced the interviews with Aspies with information about historical figures like famed pianist Glenn Gould and our second president Thomas Jefferson and others who might have suffered from AS. He did this in an attempt to give as broad a picture as possible. He even compares AS to other neurological diseases such as latah and koro in an attempt to show how such disorders are affected by cultural norms in different countries.

What I think Osborne was trying to do is follow the ideas of Dr. Mel Levine, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, whom he quotes as saying that "American psychiatry embodies a deeply pessimistic, gloomily simplistic view of the world" and is "Unable to conceive of a healthy eccentricity..." And so it resorts to "reductionist labeling." In particular, the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders is replete with "dubious disorders" which "children are shoehorned into." (pp. xiv-xv)

He further observes (still relying on Levine) that "the codes [from DSM-IV] are quick and convenient, especially for the purposes of filling out insurance forms and getting reimbursed, but they bear little relation to the complexity of people's lives." In other words, the whole idea of syndromes as defined by the DSM-IV is a convenience for the administrating and "therapeutic" community, and not for the patients or those with neurological differences.

In the long run I think we are going to find that Osborne is on the side of the angels, and that his approach which emphasizes the similarities between those with AS and those they label "neurotypical" is better than an approach that stigmatizes people whose behavior is different.

Don't misunderstand me, please. I have seen people with autism and other mental disorders and they are very real and in some cases terribly disabling. However, I think whenever possible we ought to tolerate individual differences and not put depreciating labels on them.

Finally Osborne asks the telling question, "What would it mean to 'cure' a personality disorder?" "We might ask whether a personality disorder should be cured at all...Do we even really know what a personality is in the first place, and by what impertinence do we affect to lay down its laws?" (p. 185) The truth is in most cases we don't understand either the etiology of these so-called disorders or have any idea of what we can or should do about them. In some cases we might ask should we "fix" the individual or the society?

I think Osborne has made some important points here, and that an open-minded reading of his book would reveal the author as a person who has thought long and hard on the subject of AS and one who appreciates individual differences.
Hanad Hanad
I stumbled upon this book 15 years late, but I am so glad to have found such a gem: it is at once educational, enlightening, entertaining, but most importantly it is a testament of the author's sincerity, encyclopedic knowledge and compassion. Simply put, this book is totally engrossing to me. I so wish it could be twice as long as it was hard to put down once I started it. Great work!