read: 28 November 2003
Buten has worked with autistic children for most of his adult life. He believes he somewhat inderstands them; in some cases he seems to want to be someone with autism. This book is a short look at his work with autistics and an attempt to get inside the mind of someone with severe autism.
Buten employs the device of describing what it might be like as someone with autism to deal with the sensory imact and overload of a normal day to day life. He posits these experiences -- such as getting into a bed and having to have the covers all arranged just so -- as first person experiences and then follows up by saying “of course this isn’t how I see it, but how I might see it....” which can get somewhat confusing. He discusses his work in various centers for children with autism, trying to deal with children who have extreme difficulty even being in the same room with other people, much less interacting with them. Buten seems to see himself as the person who “gets it” who can help these children where others fail. While I found his anecdotes inspiring and his tone cheerful and readable, I wondered if other people shared this same high opinion of him. Not that it matters terribly, it’s an interesting read, but definitely a one-sided one.
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