Explores representations of ‘high-functioning’ adult autism in autobiographical, scientific and fictional texts to demonstrate the value of Cultural Studies towards understanding autism as a subjective condition and social category.
Reviews and Endorsements:
James McGrath demonstrates how pejorative narrative, including diagnostic labels, has defined how society regards Autism. We learn how ‘experts’ have constructed Autism discourse with little reference to those experiencing it and how this leads to their lack of agency. This excellent book rephrases autism as an impairment to a lifelong identity, providing a deeper understanding of it.
— Rachel Forrester-Jones, Professor in Social Inclusion and Director of the Tizard Centre, University of Kent
This book is an absolutely vital, timely and necessary critique of the cultural representations (and misrepresentations) of autism which make life so much harder for the growing numbers of autistic people fighting to have their own voices heard. This engaging book also has much to teach those experts in autism who unthinkingly peddle damaging stereotypes about it.
— Kate Fox, poet and comedian
This is a fantastic and essential addition to the scholarly literature on autism … refreshingly nuanced [and] as richly narrativised as the texts it analyses. [The] footnotes are written with the soul and depth of a skilful poet and are far more than just side-notes: they are full of poignancy and craft, and linger long after finishing the book itself.
— David Hartley, author
For clinicians working in the field of autism there is often the conflict of remaining up to date with the necessary clinical/scientific publications and keeping abreast of information more readily accessed by the wider population who may assume (often incorrectly) that expert professionals in the field have the time and inclination to read/watch/ be aware of everything on the subject of autism. This book provides a useful conduit between the two – written by an expert by experience and academic in his own right, the book boasts a bibliography of over 300 books, films, TV programmes, articles, poems and websites and eloquently discusses them in the context of how these media portrayals might make the public perceive autism. An understanding of the impact of an autism diagnosis on both the person being assessed and the wider community is an essential pre-requisite for any clinician wishing to maintain a holistic and well-rounded approach to their professional role. Naming Adult Autism combines a wealth of information with a high quality writing style and, although it might at times challenge the medical perspective, it does so with the kind of integrity and critical thinking that surely must be appreciated by any good clinician.
— Alison Stansfield, Clinical Lead and consultant psychiatrist, Leeds Autism Diagnostic Service
About the Author:
Dr James McGrath is Senior Lecturer in Literature and Cultural Studies at Leeds Beckett University. His poems appear in various literary magazines. He has also published on popular music, particularly The Beatles and Joy Division