Uniquely Human is a gem of a book written by Barry M. Prizant and Tom Fields-Meyer. Barry Prizant is a speech therapist, researcher, international consultant and is among the world’s leading authorities on Autism who has nearly four decades of experience working with children/individuals with Autism. He shares his wealth of experience in this book. The unique aspect of this book is that its a beautiful blend of professional knowledge and wisdom that enables us to witness our children with Autism from a unique perspective. I believe this is one book which most Autistic people will like reading as its provides a deep and respectful understanding of Autism.
The book has two parts – Understanding Autism and Living with Autism. Part one has six chapters that delve into various aspects like Enthusiasms, Trust, fear and control, Emotional memory, Social understanding, etc. In the first chapter, the authors talk about ‘the power of listening and building trust’, and understanding the ‘why’ behind their behaviour. Echolalia is discussed in depth in the second chapter. I liked the chapter on obsessions, aptly called, Enthusiasms.
Part two – Living with Autism has six chapters – Wisdom from the circle, The real experts, The long view, Energize the spirit and The big questions. My favourite chapters are What it takes to ‘Get It’, which talks about three kinds of people – some who are ‘naturals’ in interacting with individuals with autism and understand them, second are people who are not naturals but have the enthusiasm to understand people with autism and the last are people who are goal oriented and focus on discipline without considering the sensory needs of the child. The significant traits shared by the first category of people who ‘get-it’ are empathy, sensitivity,shared control, humor , flexibility and trust.
My second favourite chapter is ‘Energize the Spirit’, which has this beautiful quote :
All in all, a wonderful book and a must read for every parent, caregiver and professional whose lives are touched by Autism. You can purchase it Here.
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