Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Can the World Afford Autistic Spectrum Disorder Book Review by ChristineMM

Title: Can the World Afford Autistic Spectrum Disorder?: Nonverbal Communication, Asperger Syndrome and the Interbrain
Author: Digby Tantum PhD

When I accepted a pre-publication review copy of “Can the World Afford Autistic Spectrum Disorder:Nonverbal Communication, Asperger Syndrome and the Interbrain
” by Digby Tantum PhD, not much information was available about it. Tantum is a scientist who has conducted studies about Autism and he founded a clinic for adults with Asperger’s. He lives in the United Kingdom.

In the Introduction it was explained that the book indeed is not about the title. What the book is about is the subtitle. The main focus is discussing the issues with nonverbal communication, its role in neurotypicals as well as what happens when people have problems with nonverbal communication.

Once I began reading this book, I realized this was written by a scientist with scientists as the reading audience. It is not, in my opinion, a book for laypeople parents of children with Autism. This is a more serious book that uses scientific terms and brain science terms left and right. For example the author tosses out the name of a study and the reader is supposed to already know all about what that study showed and its relevance to the discussion. Other times brain science is discussed in casual ways that made no sense to me, a layperson. I feel this is a book for academics, scientists and doctors who know much about neurobiology and Autism.

Tantum states he reviewed many studies that were published in the six months preceding the book’s publication and that the information was incorporated into this book. I skimmed through the notes and see that many studies from the 2000s are here including a lot from 2007 and 2008, so this book takes very recent studies into the author’s consideration when discussing his views and theories regarding nonverbal communication and its role in the lives of people on the Autism Spectrum. He also said he felt there was no sign of the research on the functioning of the brain from stopping any time soon, so as new information about neurobiology is known, more ideas and theories will appear.

I decided to push through the book rather than give up, as I was interested in learning more about nonverbal communication’s issues as related to Autism and Asperger’s. With effort and slow reading I believe I was able to grasp Dr. Tantum’s theories. I am glad I read it. I learned a lot.

Note: I'm rating this 5 stars = I love it as I feel the author did a good job expressing his theories and the challenges and issues with nonverbal communication. However note my opinion on who I feel the target reading audience is. If this book was stated to be written for laypeople and the author spoke too high over their level I'd rate it lower than 5 stars for bad writing since he 'talks over their heads'. I feel this is a niche topic book written for a niche audience and it seems to me the writing style and content would be a good fit therefore this is 'good writing' based on good research analysis and clear communication of his "Interbrain" analogy.

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1 comment:

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Okay, I am convinced I am part of the audience for whom this book was written. I intend to order it.