How can you help someone you can’t even understand? When it started becoming apparent that my son’s condition was autism, I was somehow lost in ‘Holland’, so to speak.
One of the first books that gave me an eye view of what’s ‘inside’ a person with autism is Dr. Temple Grandin’s book “Thinking in Pictures”, a second-hand book we bought online a few years ago.
It was one thing to read about autism facts and completely another thing to learn these facts first-hand from someone who actually has autism and one who’s already an adult.
Aside from sharing her own experience, explaining her behavior that would seem strange for other people who are neurotypical, she presented the diverse cases of people under the spectrum, each one in one or more ways different from the other with a different approach to be used. She is not exactly like my son or any other person with autism but people with ASD have similarities in some aspects. Her personal sharing of her sensory difficulties as a kid was the beginning of true understanding for me. Dr. Grandin’s book offered explanation to sensory sensitivities layer by layer.
It was like having that rare chance to take a peek inside and see what’s ‘really’ going on.
It made me understand why, during that time, it was easier for my son to memorize numeric symbols newly introduced to him rather than pictures of family members whom he sees practically everyday. Moreover, she tackled medications that some people with autism have to take as well as the gluten-free casein-free diet.
To say it’s an interesting book is an understatement. I watched the movie as well where Temple Grandin’s role was excellently portrayed by Claire Danes. While the movie was very touching and visually entertaining, I would still recommend parents, teachers, therapists and all those working with people with autism to read the book first in order not to miss out vital information which most movies cannot capture.
Dr. Grandin’s very profound thoughts, which she would often write in her diary, were not only limited to her autism and remarkable skills but extended all the way to her views about life, kindness towards animals, science, culture and religion – all brimming with wisdom and honesty. Her book is marked by her struggles and victories in career and relationships that will inspire a lot of people with similar challenges. Definitely a must-read!
To God be the glory!