Skip to main content

Book Review: "The Way I See It" by Temple Grandin, Ph.D. (Second Edition)

I have to say that I've generally (and quite successfully) avoided reading anything by Temple Grandin until now. It's not that Temple is bad, quite the contrary, she's arguably the most influential and inspirational person on the spectrum.

My reasons for avoiding her work have all been about trying to stay "spoiler free" and figure things out for myself.

The first thing I have to say about this book is that it looks like an autobiography. When reviewing books, I usually don't read the back cover or anything past the title and subtitle on the front cover. I skip the table of contents and go straight to the book. This enables me to judge the book by its cover - and then by its contents. I felt that the book looked like an autobiography but I was very pleasantly surprised. This book is a collection of Temple's essays and interviews and it covers a much broader area of study that any biographical work could.

The fact that the essays are grouped into categories helps too. They seem to follow a logical progression and they feel like they naturally go together. It helps that the essays are short too because this means that they stay on topic and that you, the reader, will often feel ready to start a new chapter without a break.

There are 63 essays, 14 of which are new in this second edition. The average length of each essay is about five pages. They cover the broad areas of diagnosis, education, senses, non-verbal autism, behaviour, social functioning, medications, research and adult issues including employment. I don't think that I've seen another book which covers the spectrum so comprehensively.

The book contains some amazing discussions including; choosing a guide dog for individuals with autism, the evaluation of medications, different styles of thinking in autism, bullying, perfection issues, the similarities between autistic and scientist brains (really) and choosing a college.

Occasionally Temple's age shows through, particularly when she's discussing manners or video games but even so, many of her points are quite true and well argued. There's also a feeling of TMI (too much information) when she discusses her own health experience but again, the positive is that you know that she's holding nothing back. Even Temple's thoughts on medications are interesting. There seems to be no ulterior motivation here and Temple doesn't hold back on condemning certain medications while praising others. It's all very interesting.

I was totally blown away by this book. I was amazed at how often Temple's own experience and feelings echoed my own but at the same time she opened my world to possibilities that I hadn't even considered. In one chapter for example, she talks about the problems that many people on the spectrum have with Menieres disease (tinitis). I have a major issue with ringing in my ears but I'd always assumed that it was to do with my deafness - maybe it isn't.

There's absolutely no reason why everyone on the spectrum shouldn't have this book. It's the best I've seen. Truly. In fact, the only reason I can think of to not read it is my own... being "spoiler free". Of course, now that I've more than scraped the surface of autism and aspergers syndrome, Temple's book has given me a whole lot of new directions to explore.

"The Way I See It" (Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition) by Temple Grandin, Ph.D. is available from Future Horizons and Amazon. It's the most comprehensive book about the spectrum (from inside) that I've ever read and it covers everything from babyhood all the way through to adulthood.

Honesty Clause: I was provided with a review copy of this book free of charge.

Comments

Adelaide Dupont said…
(My favourite bit of THE WAY I SEE IT was about bikes and cars).
E.M. said…
Wow, thanks for the comprehensive review. I liked Thinking in Pictures, and now I'll definitely have to read this.
Sarah said…
I went and ordered this book - and two others - after reading your post, Gavin. Looking forward to getting them this week in time for our vacation!
Thanks,
Sarah, Indiana, USA

Popular posts from this blog

Why do Aspies Suddenly Back Off in Relationships (Part 2)

In part one, we looked at the role that Change Resistance plays in causing aspies to suddenly go "cold" in otherwise good relationships. This time, I want to look at self esteem and depression; Self Esteem The aspie relationship with themselves is tedious at best. People with Asperger's commonly suffer from low self esteem. As discussed in earlier posts, this low self esteem often results from years of emotional turmoil resulting from their poor social skills. Aspies are often their own worst enemy. They can over analyze situations and responses in an effort to capture lost nonverbal communication. This often causes them to invent problems and to imagine replies. Everything made up by aspies will tend to be tainted with their own self image. This is one of reasons that people with Asperger's will sometimes decide that they are not good enough for their partner and that they must let them go. Sometimes, the aspie will develop a notion of chivalry or self-sacri

Aspie Myths - "He Won't Miss Me"

I apologise for the excessive "male-orientated" viewpoint in this post. I tried to keep it neutral but somehow, it just works better when explained from a male viewpoint. Here's a phrase that I've seen repeated throughout the comments on this blog on several occasions; "I know that he won't miss me when I'm gone because he's aspie" Today, we're going to (try to) bust that myth; Individuals I'll start off with a reminder that everyone is an individual. If all aspies were completely alike and predictible, they'd be a stereotype but they're not. Each is shaped by their background, their upbringing, their beliefs and their local customs. An aspie who grew up with loud abusive parents has a reasonable chance of becoming loud and abusive themselves because in some cases, that's all they know. That's how they think adults are supposed to behave. In other cases, aspies who grew up in those circumstances do a complete a

Aspies and Sexuality

A word of warning: This post may cover adult topics - though really nothing "juicy" so it's probably safe. You may want to read it carefully before allowing minors to look at it.   The Myths   In the last week, prompted by some "off the wall" questions, I have been reading a lot of discussions about autistic people (including "aspies") and sexuality. I am amazed at the opinions of otherwise respectable people in the medical profession. I have found a whole bunch of statements including; All autistic people are gay Most autistic people are asexual (derive no pleasure from sex). Autistic people are sex maniacs Preferences Reading a lot further afield and having discussions with other aspies makes it clear to me that aspies come in all sizes shapes and forms. Their preferences vary just as much as neurotypicals. On Page 246 of "Asperger's Syndrome: Intervening in Schools, Clinics, and Communities" By Linda J. Baker, Lawrence A., they