We realised our son was autistic when he was four years old. We bought and read a number of books. This was the first I read and I am a massive fan of Professor Baron-Cohen's plain speaking but very uplifting manner. The autistic mind is differently wired, but how many times have I read the word 'abnormal' - it isn't abnormal, it is atypical, often brilliant. Baron-Cohen strikes this chord. When we went to meet the educational psychologist and paediatrician in order to diagnose our son formally, they informed us he has Asperger Syndrome. Thanks to our reading (not least this excellent book) we were able to question this. "We thought he had high-functioning autism?" we said. "High-functioning autism IS Asperger Syndrome." these 'professionals' told us. We pointed out critical points necessary in the different diagnostics, not least his speech delay. Eventually we received in writing his official diagnosis: High-functioning autism. Frightening that so-called professionals were so ignorant. This book details the differences between different types of autism. Professor Baron-Cohen gives you all history of diagnoses, 'treatments', the different theories, their pros and cons. He tells you what has definitely been discovered and that which should form the basis of future research. If you have an autistic child, you will nod as you read through this book, as you recognise so much, and be fascinated as other concepts are explained. Take my advice (I followed advice from an online review I am glad to say), make this your first read. If you care for an autistic child, you NEED this book to inform you. I work in education and am horrified by the majority of people assuming they know all about autism, yet have fundamental and huge misconceptions - don't let that be you. If Professor Baron-Cohen reads this - thank you. At the time you find out your child is autistic, you can hit quite a low. This book informed me in an incredibly uplifting way. The future isn't 'all roses', but the better informed we are, and professionals who have read this book, the better it will be for children like our son.