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Autism and Sensing: The Unlost Instinct Paperback – 1 May 1998

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers (1 May 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853026123
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853026126
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 0.9 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 692,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

This is a book about experience of sensing not the mechanics of perception. As well as being deliciously descriptive it is also gently philosophical, and I found it soothing and calming to read. The basis of the book is the idea that most people move quickly on from sensing the world to interpreting it, but that autistic people either remain in the sensing stage or never quite fully let go of it. I identified with a lot of the thoughts and experiences related here. This is my favourite of all of Donna Williams's books. -- Asperger Information.net gives a fascinating and detailed insight into an intelligent, gifted, autistic woman's experience of her world based on what she calls her "preconscious sensing" and resonating, rather than conscious thought and mental interpretation. For those working with autistic children or adults who are still withdrawn and non-communicative, this book explains why they are so hard to reach, even by caring adults... by the end of this book I had an in-depth understanding of the rich, vibrant inner world of the autistic. -- Young Minds [Williams'] work does provide a fascinating insight into many aspects of the world of autism and, in so doing, provides a mirror that reflects back distortions in the world of so-called "normal" people. -- The Therapist Donna Williams continues to provide insights into the ways in which a person with autistic spectrum disorder experiences the world. Donna's books increasingly strive to make sense of her memories of childhood and of her development into an adult who can share her contrasting way of being. In this book she suggests that, for people with autism, their senses become 'stuck' at an early stage of development, rather than being subsumed into an interpreting, mind-based way of coping with the world: the system of interpretation Donna suggests that, for most people, the development of mind dominates more primitive emotions which continue to be experienced by people who are 'stuck' at the sensing level. We should be grateful that the author was eventually able to make the leap into our world of interpretation and can share with us such valuable insights. This is a book to be read and considered by all who live or work with people with autism, in order to appreciate their 'complementary' way of experiencing the world. -- Child Language Teaching and Therapy This is a fascinating book in which Donna Williams elaborates on the ideas proposed in her previous autobiographical works. Ms Williams suggests that we all go through a developmental process from purely sensing the world, to being able to interpret it. People with autism are either 'stuck' in the sensory phase or, if they emerge from it, do so at a later stage and with great difficulty. According to this model, the benefits of being able to interpret arise at the cost of losing true sensing ability. That is, the 'feel' of people, the 'smell' of colours, the texture of objects which give the author understanding of her environment, these are experiences no longer recognisable to those of us who have moved on to interpret instead. Many parents would recognise aspects of their children's behaviour in those described in this book. I was intrigued by the author's idiosyncratic use of language, to describe her experiences: in one instance she used 'lemons' to define 'the sensation of acute and intense exposure to anxiety, resulting in an involuntary or instinctual aversion response', based on the physical reaction evoked by eating lemons. Anyone who enjoyed her previous work will no doubt find this equally riveting. -- Communication

Review

This is a book about experience of sensing not the mechanics of perception. As well as being deliciously descriptive it is also gently philosophical, and I found it soothing and calming to read. The basis of the book is the idea that most people move quickly on from sensing the world to interpreting it, but that autistic people either remain in the sensing stage or never quite fully let go of it. I identified with a lot of the thoughts and experiences related here. This is my favourite of all of Donna Williams's books. (Asperger Information.net)

gives a fascinating and detailed insight into an intelligent, gifted, autistic woman's experience of her world based on what she calls her "preconscious sensing" and resonating, rather than conscious thought and mental interpretation. For those working with autistic children or adults who are still withdrawn and non-communicative, this book explains why they are so hard to reach, even by caring adults... by the end of this book I had an in-depth understanding of the rich, vibrant inner world of the autistic. (Young Minds)

[Williams'] work does provide a fascinating insight into many aspects of the world of autism and, in so doing, provides a mirror that reflects back distortions in the world of so-called "normal" people. (The Therapist)

Donna Williams continues to provide insights into the ways in which a person with autistic spectrum disorder experiences the world. Donna's books increasingly strive to make sense of her memories of childhood and of her development into an adult who can share her contrasting way of being. In this book she suggests that, for people with autism, their senses become 'stuck' at an early stage of development, rather than being subsumed into an interpreting, mind-based way of coping with the world: the system of interpretation Donna suggests that, for most people, the development of mind dominates more primitive emotions which continue to be experienced by people who are 'stuck' at the sensing level. We should be grateful that the author was eventually able to make the leap into our world of interpretation and can share with us such valuable insights. This is a book to be read and considered by all who live or work with people with autism, in order to appreciate their 'complementary' way of experiencing the world. (Child Language Teaching and Therapy)

This is a fascinating book in which Donna Williams elaborates on the ideas proposed in her previous autobiographical works. Ms Williams suggests that we all go through a developmental process from purely sensing the world, to being able to interpret it. People with autism are either 'stuck' in the sensory phase or, if they emerge from it, do so at a later stage and with great difficulty. According to this model, the benefits of being able to interpret arise at the cost of losing true sensing ability. That is, the 'feel' of people, the 'smell' of colours, the texture of objects which give the author understanding of her environment, these are experiences no longer recognisable to those of us who have moved on to interpret instead. Many parents would recognise aspects of their children's behaviour in those described in this book. I was intrigued by the author's idiosyncratic use of language, to describe her experiences: in one instance she used `lemons' to define `the sensation of acute and intense exposure to anxiety, resulting in an involuntary or instinctual aversion response', based on the physical reaction evoked by eating lemons. Anyone who enjoyed her previous work will no doubt find this equally riveting. (Communication)

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a book about the experience of sensing not the mechanics of perception... it is philosophy, not science. The basis of the book is the idea that most people move quickly on from sensing the world to interpreting it, but that autistic people either remain in the sensing stage or never quite fully let go of it. I identified with a lot of the thoughts and experiences related here and found it interesting and enjoyable to read. I think there are many people who might not 'get' where this is coming from though... from those who do not understand her philosophical approach and mistake it for bad science to those who take every word literally and mistake this for a book about the paranormal. This isn't a book suitable for everybody, but if you have enjoyed Donna's other books or are in to self analysis and exploration I think you'll find this delicious.
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By A Customer on 20 Nov. 1998
Format: Paperback
sometimes hard to grasp the intent of the writing but never the less it is informative and magnetic a real insight into feelings and experiences of an autistic person
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
great book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 7 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense reading 14 Sept. 2005
By Thoughtswordsbooks - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Though slim, this book is dense and intense. Perhaps it is one of the most provacative books on autism as it gets into the core of what's going on with many people--though certainly not all--on the spectrum. It was an incredible window into my daughter's world that helped me to understand and make sense of what I felt I knew about my daughter but couldn't put into words. Donna found those words beautifully and effectively.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and Fascinating 28 Jan. 2006
By Suzie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a book about the experience of sensing not the mechanics of perception... it is philosophy, not science. The basis of the book is the idea that most people move quickly on from sensing the world to interpreting it, but that autistic people either remain in the sensing stage or never quite fully let go of it. I identified with a lot of the thoughts and experiences related here and found it interesting and enjoyable to read. I think there are many people who might not 'get' where this is coming from though... from those who do not understand her philosophical approach and mistake it for bad science to those who take every word literally and mistake this for a book about the paranormal. This isn't a book suitable for everybody, but if you have enjoyed Donna's other books or are in to self analysis and exploration I think you'll find this delicious.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Donna does it again! 19 Mar. 2001
By Linda S Holmes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
To date, this is absolutely the most fascinating and wonderful book about Autism! She has an amazing gift to explain an entirely different world, her own and so many of my friends. This book has given me extraordianry insight and understanding for my friends who live with Autism. I think this is a must read for everyone!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A work of genius 17 Feb. 2006
By John Falicki - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am a philosopher and expert hypnotist, and this book is the finest exposition of 'low-level' perception and apperception that I have ever read. Anyone interested in issues of consciousness and altered states of awareness should read this superbly well-written book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Packed full of food for thought 28 Jan. 2008
By Mary Bedy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting, interesting, interesting. I have, as far as I know, no characteristics related to autism, but I am truely amazed at Donna's excellent ability to describe the varioius "shifts" in perception related to her autism. Thank goodness she has the ability to describe her experiences so that people might better understand autism, and the workings of the human brain in general. I can especially relate to her description of "lemon-ness" (you have to read the book - too difficult for me to paraphrase here). This little book, as one other reviewer mentioned, is packed full of insight. Thanks, Donna, for an excellent read.
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