When anthropologist Roy Richard Grinker's daughter was diagnosed with autism in 1994, it was considered a very rare disorder, occurring in only about 1 in every 10,000 children. Within ten years, rates as high as 1 in 150 were being reported, and the media was declaring autism an epidemic. Unstrange Minds documents Grinker's quest to find out why autism is so much more common today, and to uncover the implications of the increase. His search took him to Africa, India, and East Asia, to the National Institutes of Mental Health, and to the mountains of Appalachia. What he discovered is both surprising and controversial: There is no true increase in autism. Grinker shows that the identification and treatment of autism depends on culture just as much as on science. As more and more cases of autism are documented, doctors are describing the disorder better, school systems are coding it better--and children are benefiting. Filled with moving stories and informed by the latest science, Unstrange Minds is unlike any other book on autism. It is a powerful testament to a father's quest for the truth, and is urgently relevant to anyone whose life is touched by one of history's most puzzling disorders.
About the Author:
Roy Richard Grinker is Professor of Anthropology and Director, George Washington University Institute for Ethnographic Research. He is the author of four other books, including the widely acclaimed In the Arms of Africa: The Life of Colin M. Turnbull. He lectures widely at universities and to parents and professionals involved in autism. He lives in Cabin John, Maryland.