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Phoebe, an autistic nine-year-old girl, is taken into police protection after a chance comment to one of her teachers alerts the authorities that all might not be what it seems in her comfortable, middle-class home. Experienced foster carer Rosie accepts the youngster as an emergency placement knowing that her autism will represent a challenge – not only for her but also for the rest of the family.
But after several shocking incidents of self-harming, Pica and threats to kill, it soon becomes apparent that Phoebe’s autism may be the least of her problems.
Locked for nine years in a secret world of severe abuse, as Phoebe opens up about her horrific past, her foster carer begins to suspect that Phoebe may not be suffering from autism at all.
When Temple Grandin was born in 1947, autism had only just been named. Today it is more prevalent than ever, with one in 88 children diagnosed on the spectrum. And our thinking about it has undergone a transformation in her lifetime: Autism studies have moved from the realm of psychology to neurology and genetics, and there is far more hope today than ever before thanks to groundbreaking new research into causes and treatments. Now Temple Grandin reports from the forefront of autism science, bringing her singular perspective to a thrilling journey into the heart of the autism revolution.
Weaving her own experience with remarkable new discoveries, Grandin introduces the neuroimaging advances and genetic research that link brain science to behavior, even sharing her own brain scan to show us which anomalies might explain common symptoms. We meet the scientists and self-advocates who are exploring innovative theories of what causes autism and how we can diagnose and best treat it. Grandin also highlights long-ignored sensory problems and the transformative effects we can have by treating autism symptom by symptom, rather than with an umbrella diagnosis. Most exciting, she argues that raising and educating kids on the spectrum isn’t just a matter of focusing on their weaknesses; in the science that reveals their long-overlooked strengths she shows us new ways to foster their unique contributions.
From the “aspies” in Silicon Valley to the five-year-old without language, Grandin understands the true meaning of the word spectrum. The Autistic Brain is essential reading from the most respected and beloved voices in the field.