Remapping the World of Autism
by Roy Richard Grinker
Grinker is an anthropologist and the father of an autistic child. Unstrange Minds is an in-depth look at the history and cultural context of autism, in conjunction with personal accounts of living with the disorder. In the first half of the book, Grinker looks at autism in the US- especially the issue of the growing rate of reported cases, which he argues is due to greater public awareness and improved medical diagnoses, not outside causes like vaccines. (For more on this position, read this statement). In short, he posits that we see more autism now than a decade ago because it is easier to recognize, not because more people have it. The author explores different attitudes towards autism in other cultures, from the Navajo in America to India, South Africa and South Korea. The second half of the book is a memoir of his own life with his autistic daughter. Including a wide range of information: statistical numbers, diagnoses and treatment, cultural perceptions and individual anecdotal stories, this book is a beautifully written examination of autism. It is very easy to read and quite interesting, even for someone like me (personally, I don't know anyone who has autism).
Rating: 4/5 Published: 2007, 340 pages