Review of “NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity” by Steve Silberman

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Thanks to Penguin House/Avery via NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I admit that I was excited, really excited, when I heard about this book. After reading all 544 pages, I found myself more than a little let down. I was expecting to read about new research, treatment/therapy options, and ways for families to support one another and the autistic person they help care for. The book was largely about the history of autism and ASD morphing into the clinical diagnosis and diagnostic criteria we know today. The history was just dry. Lots of people (clinicians, parents, advocates, etc.) discussed, sometimes too many at one time. Though the Nazi experimentations and eugenics histories were appropriately horrifying, I’d read about them before. I was really hoping for new news.

Though there were some histories of persons and families that I could connect to, I didn’t feel as though I had really learned anything after reading this book. Yes, many people in the past (and present, I’m sure) have been misdiagnosed and overlooked which (at least perhaps partially) accounts for more recent diagnostic spikes. Yes, people with ASD are making and have made amazing contributions in our society. Especially in the areas of technology and the arts. Yes, we should focus more time, money, and energy on identifying services helpful to individuals and families and making them accessible to all. Again, this is just not new news.

My rating: 2 stars