The Politics of Autism (Hardcover)
The Politics of Autism investigates the truths and fictions of public understanding about autism, questioning apparent realities too sensitive or impolitic to challenge. Is there really more autism? How has the count expanded by diagnosing autism over other conditions? Have scientific methods in autism diagnosis gone hand-in-hand with autism increases? Are mild autism cases really a 'disorder, ' rather than personality variant? Can autism be quiescent in childhood but truly first recognizable in adulthood? Why does popular media often portray people with autism as odd geniuses ignoring the kind of autism most have? Siegel tackles thorny issues and perennial questions: How do we weigh likely treatment gains with treatment costs? Why does our autism education persist in teaching academic subjects some never master? Why do we fail to plan realistically for autistic adulthood? Which parents get caught up in non-mainstream 'treatments' and fear of vaccines? Readers will see an insider's view of controversies in autism research. Siegel's views, sometimes iconoclastic, always frank and informed, challenge broad unexamined assumptions about our understanding of autism. Each chapter addresses different issues, data, and social policy recommendations. A chapter-by-chapter bibliography with URLs provides both popular media and scientific references.
Dr. Bryna Siegel is a developmental psychologist, founder and Executive Director of the Autism Center of Northern California. She is retired as Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. Her career spans 40 years of working on autism diagnosis, education, and treatment. Her interest in the politics of autism grows from years of work on autism diagnosis, autism education, and observing the lives of families living with autism.