Autism Association of the ACT Inc
In How to Understand Autism - The Easy Way, Alex Durig challenges the deficit approach that has highlighted autism for the last fifty years. Instead of being viewed in terms of its shortcomings Durig focuses on the positive aspects of ASD.
Education, Public Law and the Individual
Many education lawyers have had to become all too familiar with the impact autism can have on a child's education. But do we really understand what the condition means? In this clear and accessible introduction to autism, Alexander Durig provides a host of ideas and examples that enable the reader to understand the phenomenon of autism, recognize different kinds of autistic perception and behaviour, and prepare for interaction with autistic people. It is aimed at parents and teachers of autistic children, and at health, education and social care professionals. To help "normal" people understand and lose their fear of autism, Durig discusses the notions of "slight" autism, being or becoming "autism-friendly", and the mental well-being of autistic people. The author explains how autistic perception "works" and how it yields autistic behaviours, to enable readers to see the world through the eyes of an autistic person, and thus change the way they perceive autism.
Durig argues that when it comes to autism, professionals are continually trying to 'normalise' autistic behaviour and make sense of it from the perspective of someone who does not think about and perceive the world as someone who is autistic does. This is a mistake. We need to recognize that many of the behaviours that we observe in children and adults who are on the spectrum can be explained if we understand how autistic people perceive their world. Durig's ideas are interesting and remind us that there is a continuum of autistic behaviour. Simply describing an individual as 'autistic' does not explain their individuality.
Bernard Rimland, Ph.D., Director, Autism Research Institute
In this intriguing book Alex Durig vigorously explores the murky - almost mystical - borderland between autism and normality. Durig's well-written and creative challenge to conventional thinking about autism is sure to arouse controversy while it broadens perspectives.
Roger N. Meyer, author of Asperger Syndrome Employment Workbook
Alex Durig presents a clear, alternative paradigm to professionals, parents, and adults who "don't get" autism. Durig is a seminal thinker. In explaining autistic perception and behavior, his insight is as significant a contribution to understanding human thought and behavior as the writings and teachings of L.S. Vygotsky, A.R. Luria, Herb Lovett, Tony Attwood and Deirdre V. Lovecky. Using a unique approach, Durig emphasizes the spectral nature of autism. He rejects the autism industry's misdirected medical/scientific stereotypic views about autism, approaches that fundamentally disparage and disrespect human differences. Durig is critical of "expert" characterizations wedded to terms implying the fix-it/cure it baggage of moralistic disapprobation such as disease, disorder, deficits, dysfunctional, and disabled. For professionals and lay readers alike, Durig explains why perceiving autistic individuals through the lens of "normalization" does not work. He clearly explains why medical, scientific, and education industry efforts to squeeze individuals on the spectrum into diagnostic boxes (that leak!) have accounted for documented, continued failed efforts to improve the quality of life of their clients/patients/students/children. By presenting autism as a different mental process of meaningfully perceiving the world, Durig proposes a model of individual human differences based upon two critical constructs: Social Thinking and Computer Thinking. Rather than using language and terms that have historically distorted experts' characterizations of autism, he presents the reader with a clear, intuitively correct visual chart model designed to enlighten the reader, and, for the first time, successfully explain human differences in perception and behavior in humanistic, empathetic terms. For anyone involved with autistic spectrum issues, Durig's book is a "must read".
An interesting and informative book for parents and professionals.