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The Science and Fiction of Autism
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Critical Evaluation of Issues in Autism 2. Characteristics of Autism 3. Diagnosis and Assessment 4. What Causes Autism? 5. Are There Core Deficits in Autism? 6. Developing Treatments That Work 7. Are Other Treatments Effective? 8. Miracle Cures or Bogus Treatments? 9. Early Intervention, "Recovery," and "Best" Treatment 10. Educate Autistic Children! Epilogue Notes Index

Promotional Information

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

About the Author

Laura Schreibman is Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Director of the Autism Research Program at the University of California at San Diego.

Reviews

Schreibman (director, Autism Research Program, Univ. of California, San Diego) has written a solid if conservative book outlining our current understanding of and misperceptions about the causes and treatments of autism. As an expert on behavioral treatments for autism (e.g., Applied Behavioral Analysis, or ABA), she focuses on the ABA approach as the most effective and clinically proven solution for children with autism. Other treatments, ranging from promising new behavioral interventions (e.g., Stanley Greenspan's floor time) to mostly discredited ones (e.g., holding therapy) are generally discounted or outright dismissed owing to a lack of definitive medical and scientific evidence of success. What results is a highly conservative approach to autism that focuses mainly on ABA and related behavioral treatments. A more balanced view can be found in Mitzi Waltz's Autistic Spectrum Disorders: Understanding the Diagnosis and Getting Help. Despite its shortcomings, this book is recommended for all academic and public libraries with autism or education collections.-Corey Seeman, Univ. of Toledo Libs., OH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

[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 20050801 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 20050915 [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 20051103 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 20060116 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 20060511 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 20060601

One of the tragedies of autism is that, as Schreibman writes, "[t]he field... is littered with the debris of dead ends, crushed hopes, ineffective treatments, and false starts." Drawing from her own extensive clinical experience, psychologist Schreibman, director of the Autism Research Program at UC-San Diego, provides a comprehensive account of this mysterious disorder within the context of the controversies and contentions of the field. Arguing that autism is entirely biological in origin, Schreibman systematically discounts past and present popular causal theories, such as "refrigerator mothers" and the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine. Although expertly guiding readers through a detailed analysis of characteristics, diagnosis and treatment, Schreibman never forgets to illuminate the human side of autism. The disturbing, and often tragic, impact of simplistic and unsubstantiated treatments, like facilitated communication, secretin and holding therapy, serve as evidence that "bad science can lead to as much mischief as no science." It reminds parents that, despite how far researchers have come, it will take years of research to fully understand the biology of autism. This book is strongly recommended for parents and professionals dealing with this debilitating illness. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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