Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Book Review: We've Been Here All Along: Autistics over 35 Speak Out in Poetry and Prose
Edited by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg
Last time on this blog I lamented the "epidemic of autism" and the fact that it promotes flawed concept that autism is only a relatively recent "difference" in our society.
In fact Autism has been with us for a very, very long time, some say since the dawn of humanity.
We've Been Here All Along is a collection of stories and poems from 22 people with autism who are over 35 years of age. People born before the late 1970s. Before the "epidemic of autism" and before Asperger's Syndrome was even recognised as a possible diagnosis.
This is a collection unlike any other, full of amazing stories of men and women from all walks of life coping and not coping with the "curve-balls" that modern society throws them. It contains some amazing displays of empathy, so long considered impossible for those in the spectrum and the stories often highlight the ways in which society meets or misses the needs of individuals with autism. I was particularly impressed to see so many stories by females on the spectrum - a group which is sadly under-represented in most books on autism.
Many of these stories and poems are about how these individuals have all found happiness, satisfaction and acceptance on their own terms and the hurdles they have had to overcome to get there. Not one of these individuals is resentful of their autism and all seem to have benefited greatly from knowing and understanding their label.
This is a very positive book which parents of children with autism should most certainly get. It provides a very clear roadmap to success and it closes with a chilling example of exactly how the wrong social mindset can destroy the life of an otherwise perfectly capable young person. Each of the people in this book could well have met similar fates if our society hadn't become more mature and more tolerant in recent years.
I would urge everyone to pick up a copy of this brilliant book. It offers so much that other autism publications simply do not.
We've Been Here All Along is available as a paperback or a kindle ebook from Amazon and as an ebook on Kobo.
Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg blogs at: http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/