Saturday, May 27, 2017

Book Review: Aspertools by Harold Reitman M.D.

Aspertools: The Practical Guide for Understanding and Embracing Asperger’s, Autism Spectrum Disorders and Ñeurodiversity
by Harold Reitman M.D. with Pati Fizzano and Rebecca Reitman
2017 Souvenir Press Ltd 

Aspertools is an unusual book, coming out, proudly displaying references to Asperger’s Syndrome in a post-DSM V world.  That's right; Asperger’s is no longer recognised in its own right but is folded into the general autism spectrum.

Aspertools takes a very different approach.  It's not necessarily a book directed at people with Asperger’s or even those on the general autism spectrum. This is a book that aims at the neurodiverse; the people who different somehow.  Those whose differences have neurological reasons.

It's a great premise and Harold makes it clear from the outset that not all chapters will apply to all people. Just read the book and use what you learn from the chapters that do while ignoring those that don't.

As his daughter,  Rebecca says;  “Brains are like snowflakes - no two are alike”

Aspertools was an absolute pleasure to read with the consistent formatting, great headings, clear text and short chapters making it a book that can be easily picked up or put down at a moment's notice. Perfect for today's busy world.

Each chapter is structured into;

  • A helpful hint (short explanation of the issue)
  • A principle (generally a rule or two related to the issue)
  • Imagine you're an Aspie (the situation from a different point of view)
  • An action plan (ways that you can address or modify the issue)
  • Tip from Pati (the point of view of an experienced special needs life coach)
  • Thought from Rebecca  (Harold's adult daughter's perspective on things)

The chapters cover a variety of topics including; dealing with anxiety, hyper-senses and meltdowns, breaking up complex tasks, routines and transitions, social interactions and executive functioning.

It applies to a wide age range but I feel that it's at its best when dealing with kids and young adults from their teens and upwards.

I particularly loved the sections on “Imagine you’re an Aspie”. While I don’t personally have to imagine this, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to explain my differences to others. Harold does this in a much better way than I’ve seen in any other book.

Aspertools: The Practical Guide for Understanding and Embracing Asperger’s, Autism Spectrum Disorders and Ñeurodiversity by Harold Reitman M.D. with Pati Fizzano and Rebecca Reitman is available from Amazon in Kindle or Paperback format.

Harold is also the writer/producer of the movie, The Square Root of 2 which is about his daughter Rebecca and was filmed before her Asperger’s diagnosis. It looks to be very interesting.

Honesty clause: I was provided with a copy of Aspertools free of charge for review purposes.


Anonymous said...

Doesn't neurodiversity include Williams syndrome and Down syndrome too? Those sure aren't neurotypical either!

Does the book asked them to imagine being Aspie and asked Aspies to imagine having Williams or Down Syndrome? :)

Gavin Bollard said...

Not being qualified to talk about Downs or Williams Sydnrome, I really can't comment except to say that Dr Reitman said that some chapters would apply to other forms of neurodiversity and some wouldn't

Here's the "Imagine you're an Aspie" bit from the Hypersenses chapter. Others would be better placed than me to say whether or not it applies;

Imagine you're an Aspie.

You're in your room, contentedly tapping on your keyboard, listening to the soft music coming through your earphones. Without warning someone pulls off the earphones and yells, "You'd better clean this pigsty up right now !"

It's your mom. Having your earphones yanked off, your mom yelling at you. It's too much for your brain to handle.


You're at a family event and you see your Uncle Dave approaching. You like him, but the two of you are not especially close. You are expecting him to greet you by shaking hands. Instead, he suddenly gives you a bear hug. He's squeezing you and the pressure on your skin is unbearable. This triggers an anxiety attack-the last thing you want today, in front of all your relatives.