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This book if by no means perfect-don't get carried away
on 17 February 2009
I have Asperger's Syndrome, an adult and married with a son.
I am extremely disappointed with this book. I had extremely high expectations as other reviewers talk about this book "In short...this is a Bible on Asperger's Syndrome". Others refer to the author as Saint Tony. In my opinion an unwarranted myth is being built up around Tony Attwood as though he is some sort of Guru or God, the final authority who knows every thing there is to know and is not to be questioned when it comes to Asperger's Syndrome.
The title made me a little wary as COMPLETE means, finished to the maximum extend, in other words there is nothing more to be added. The front flap of the book further states THE DEFINITIVE HANDBOOK which again suggests this is the final authority on Asperger's Syndrome. One of the reviewers on the back cover uses the word FLAWLESS to describe this book, again suggesting that the book is perfect.
This book if by no means perfect or complete, it does contain important information, but don't get carried away.
Where this book is NOT COMPLETE and falls apart for me is as an adult with Asperger's there is too much, in fact the vast majority of the book is directed towards the parents and others who deal with children with Asperger's. There is only a very short chapter on Long-term Relationships. Once one has a basic knowledge of Asperger's Syndrome then only 10 lines under the Key Points and Strategies Box (successful strategies to overcome difficulties) of the Long Term-Relationships chapter is of necessity to read. The book would therefore have benefited from having at least a chapter or two on self-help for adults.
People who do genuinely meet the criteria for Asperger's Syndrome, usually are struggling with delays and deficits that are much less difficult than those described in this book.
I'm sorry to say I think this book was quite inaccurate in many of its assumptions and portrayal of the way Asperger's think with the tone of the book being rather on the negative side. Here are just two examples, there are many, many more, too many to refer to.
"Conflict and confrontation with adults can be made worse by non-compliance, negativism, and a difficulty in perceiving the differences in social status or hierarchy, resulting in a failure to respect authority of maturity."
Notice the difference with Brenda Boyd's respect, understanding and acceptance of Asperger's Syndrome:
"No one is treated in any way differently purely on the account of his status."
Important to note, as an Asperger I DO perceive the differences in social status and hierarchy however as Brenda Boyd correctly writes, it is just that I DO NOT treat anyone any differently purely on the account of his status or where he comes on the hierarchy.
"the partner and now parent with Asperger's Syndrome probably has little understanding of the needs and behaviour of a typical child" Rubbish - just asked my son.
The two parts of the book I found interesting and useful were the boxed Key Points and Strategies at the end of each chapter and how each chapter began with a quote in bold from Hans Asperger.
"One can spot such children instantly. They are recognizable from the small details, for instant, the way they enter the consulting room at their first visit, their behaviour in the first few moments and the first words they utter." (As happened when I was professionally diagnosed)
- Hans Asperger (1944)
Interesting to note I've heard many a psychologist say there needs to be a lengthy diagnostic Assessment Process before a diagnosis of Asperger's can be made. This book rather labours over the detail of how an assessment is carried out.
Overall I found this book to be highly repetitive and written in an uneasy style. Also disjoined due to the way Tony Attwood is trying several times per page to continually be politically correct by using terms such as, "Mother and Father" of the Asperger instead of the usual Parent's, "His or Her" instead of Their and worse of all the continual usage of "He or She" instead of as Brenda Boyd would use - the Asperger's or People with Asperger's or He - as the vast majority of Asperger's are male. I found this to be exceedingly condescending, talking down to one as though the reader has a fourth rate mind.
What further broke the clear flow of my reading was every time the author used another's material, instead of putting a small asterisk or number by the said material to refer one down to the bottom of the page where is written were the material came from, he put it immediately in brackets next to the said material.
"At present we know that between 3 and 11 per cent of referrals to forensic psychiatric clinics are for young offenders with Asperger's Syndrome (Person and Branden 2005; Siponmaa et al. 2001). There are also advantages in having a designated national forensic assessment unit specifically for people with Asperger's Syndrome (Ekkehart, Staufenberg and Kells 2005)."
There are a few useful tools here and there in this book but nothing I would suggest someone go buy the book to get at. Instead pop along to the local library and save your money. After borrowing it from the library make a decision as to whether or not this is a resource you really need.
If you are an adult looking for a self help book this isn't the book. For this I recommend "The Aspergers Couple's Workbook" by Maxine Aston and as a good back-up "Asperger Syndrome and Long-Term Relationships" by Ashley Stanford.
If one is looking for great place to start for parents of an Asperger child, it is also useful for Adult's with Asperger's or their partner I would plump for "The Asperger's Answer Book - The Top 300 Questions Parents Ask" as it is a far easier read and explains our Asperger traits in a far more simply and cleanly way, especially the 16 pages or so of chapter 5 "Thinking Patterns".