Sunday, May 22, 2011

Book #66: Be Different

Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian with Practical Advice for Aspergians, Misfits, Families & TeachersTitle: Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian
Author: John Elder Robison

So many of the books I've read lately about Asperger's talk about it as a disability to be endured, and with luck, overcome, at least in part. Few people seem to see it as a strength. I liked Be Different because John Elder Robison presents his life with Asperger's as a success because of his Asperger's, not in spite of it. He does recognize that he's not a social being, and that he sometimes makes mistakes because he doesn't interpret social situations the way neurotypicals (nypicals, in Robison-speak) does, but he also sees that he's had a lot of success in life because of his interests and his ability to hyperfocus on those interests.

For that reason, I loved Be Different. I spend so much of my time in fear for my kid-- will he be able to pass the school year, will he graduate from high school, will he serve a mission, live on his own, get married? Be Different shows that people with Asperger's can live very successful, fulfilling, attached, social, normal lives if they work at it and have people who care about them to guide them. I hope that I can be one of those people.


Shelly said...

Man, Shelah, this was an answer to prayers for me tonight. I just hopped on your blog looking for a good book to read because I need a BIG distraction right now. Our oldest has just been diagnosed with Asperger's and I just wanted to escape with a good read. Instead I'll be reading this book. I need this more. I'm worried about everything you mentioned and have been thinking about all the roadblocks that will be in his way. I need this book...Thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

Shelah- I've been following your blog for a couple of years now for the book reviews. Your reviews this week are hitting a soft spot as we're currently starting testing for our oldest to see if he might have Asperger's.
I'm wondering, would you be willing to share more about your journey with your son's Aspergers? (I understand if the answer is no- too personal, etc). There are plenty of us who would look forward to hearing from another mom.
Thank you for sharing these reviews.

Nani Lii S. Furse said...

Thank you for the book recommendation. We too have a son with Asperger's so I'm interested in reading about someone who has turned his life into a success because of it. Our son is now a teen; in our area it's hard to find professional help or support for older children who are on the autism spectrum. I would also appreciate any insights that you or anyone else might be willing to offer in the future. I read your blog often and enjoy the book reviews.