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A Mind Apart: Understanding Children with Autism and Asperger Syndrome
Szatmari, Peter
Guilford Publications / Softcover / 2004-04-01 / 1572305444
Autism Spectrum (Self Help) / Canadian Authors
price: $34.50 (may be subject to change)
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hy would a child refuse to talk about anything but wasp wings-or the color of subway train doors? What does it mean when a nine-year-old asks questions about death hundreds of times a day? And how can parents build a close relationship with a little girl who hates to be touched? In this compassionate book, leading autism authority Dr. Peter Szatmari shows that children with autism spectrum disorders act the way they do because they think in vastly different ways than other people. Dr. Szatmari shares the compelling stories of children he has treated who hear everyday conversation like a foreign language or experience hugs like the clamp of a vise. Understanding this unusual inner world-and appreciating the unique strengths that thinking differently can bestow-will help parents relate to their children more meaningfully, and make the "outer world" a less scary place.


“This is a must read for anyone involved in the life of a child with autism spectrum disorders. Its unique presentation offers unparalleled insight into the origin of the atypical behaviors of children with this affliction by entering their world, or 'foreign country,' as the author describes it....Weighted Numerical Score: 96 - 4 Stars!”

—Doody's Electronic Journal

“We are far from having a complete understanding of autism and Asperger syndrome, but Dr. Peter Szatmari has done an unsurpassed job of shedding light on how children with these disorders feel and act. The cases he recounts in this book touch on many different aspects of autism, including both the numerous problems that children and their families face and the successes they can achieve. The book also bears witness to the courage and perseverance of parents who, all too frequently, must struggle to find appropriate support from clinicians and educators. An enlightening and welcome resource for many, many families, and one that should also be read by all professionals in the field.”

—Patricia Howlin, PhD, Department of Psychology, St. George's Hospital Medical School, University of London, UK; coauthor of Teaching Children with Autism to Mind-Read

“A landmark book in terms of style and content. Dr. Szatmari explores and describes the world as perceived by people with autism to explain their unusual behaviour and abilities, and discusses scientific theories and current therapies as well as causes and prognosis. The book is written objectively and engagingly, with literary skill and a sense of optimism that will be particularly appealing to parents. Dr. Szatmari clearly appreciates and admires the minds of children with autism, and is able to explain those minds to parents while providing realistic advice on remedial strategies.”

—Tony Attwood, PhD, author of Asperger Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals

“Dr. Szatmari's book embodies the best of that singular tradition in which science is matched against disability, one child at a time. A clinician, scientist, and keen observer of human nature, Dr. Szatmari weaves a deeply empathic and comprehensive account of autism and related disabilities. The stories he recounts illuminate the daily challenges and triumphs that children experience, while revealing his passion for discovery and healing. The result is extraordinarily rewarding reading for families affected by autism and for the professionals who serve them.”

—Ami Klin, PhD, Yale Child Study Center

“This unique and beautiful book takes you on a voyage to the unusual world of children and young adults with autism and AS. In close and personal detail, Dr. Szatmari describes the struggles of families to understand their children and to understand how they themselves are changed by their children. At the same time, the book brings to life key principles in our scientific understanding of these disorders. This brilliant work should be read by all parents and all clinicians involved in helping children with autism and AS.”

—Bryna Siegel, PhD, author of Helping Children with Autism Learn


1. Stephen: The Eccentric Entomologist
2. Heather: A World That Revolves around a Different Axis
3. Justin: Listening to the Architecture of the World
4. Zachary: An Obsession with Death
5. Sharon: Seeing Other Minds Darkly
6. William: A World without Metaphor
7. Teddy: Asynchronous Time, Asynchronous Development
8. Sally, Ann, and Danny: Accepting the Enigma, Moving Beyond the Cause
9. Trevor: Mobiles and "Miracles"
10. Ernest: The View from the Bridge
11. Frankie: Learning and Forgetting at School
12. Sophie: Acceptance without Resignation
Bibliography or Resources

About the Author:

Peter Szatmari, MD, has been working with children with autism and pervasive developmental disorders and their families for over 20 years, and has consulted to government agencies in the U.S., Canada, and around the world. He is currently Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Vice-Chair of Research, and Head of the Division of Child Psychiatry at McMaster University in Canada.

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