Autism and Asperger Syndrome
Author: Simon Baron-Cohen
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Price: £9.99
This book was reviewed in the Daily Mail on 22 July 2008 by Charlotte Moore.
The following is a summary of her views.
This book summarised the mass of information and presents it in a clear way. Simon Baron-Cohen is a pioneer of autism studies. One of his strengths is that he doesn’t see autism as a disease or tragedy: he’s convinced that some autistic characteristics – incredible attention to detail, astonishing memory, a strongly systemising brain – lie behind much human discovery. He acknowledges the problems, but he also celebrates the uniqueness of autistic talent.
The book is divided into short sections:
• The history of autism
• How a diagnosis is made
• Treatments
• Interventions
The tone is no-nonsense and un-emotive. However there is much biological detail with descriptions of electrophysiology and neurotransmitter levels which the reviewer found difficult.
There are gaps – there is not much information about how to get respite care and only a sketchy section on education. Similarly although the opportunities for able adults is discussed, he has little to say about what happens to low functioning autistic children once childhood is over.
The reviewer concludes that this book is very readable, in spite of some gaps, and that it is good to have the key facts laid out in a digestible format.
Jane Gregory
specialist Speech and Language Therapist
July 2008

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