Neurotribes – Steve Silberman

So this review has taken longer to get here than I originally planned. Firstly it’s thicker than most of the books I review and secondly life got in the way. Also ironic this comes out in April which is Autism awareness month.

Neurotribes first came to me as a recommendation from one of Hunters therapists as a way to understand  Autism. It covers the initial official concept of diagnosis by Hans Asperger and goes through various people through history that have been effected all the way through to a change in the way we view Autism and neuro diversity.

To begin with it’s the kind of book I dig. It’s reseach based and tells a story along the way much like Delizia (that’s about italian food though). I will admit it does talk for a little bit about how the Nazis treated autistic people which was heartbreaking and there was a fair few pages I just skimmed because it actually hurt to read as a mum of an ASD kid. I also have a healthy dislike for a guy called Kanner. I refuse to even look for his actual name because I think he’s a jerk. He came to the idea that it’s somehow a conditioned disorder and wrote off concerned involved parents (he hates the mums particularly which I think we need to talk to Aspergers mate Freud about) putting himself as the only person who could ‘save’ these children. Save them by locking them in instiutions to rot the dumb shit.

The book also covers Andrew Wakefield and his bullshit now ***DISPROVEN**** study that suggests autism is caused by vaccines. It was disproven in 2010 and the article retracted in the same year by The Lancet, the journal where the original paper was published in 1998. You may notice I heavily highlighted disproven. The paper has been disproven and if you’re gonna come for me over this just dont. I dont care for your tinhat opinion. Keep that ignorant crap to yourself.


The last chaper goes over neuro inclusivity for want of a better term and how we’re going about things. Yes, it’s far from perfect but things are getting there. There is also a notes section that lists all references so if you were so inclined you could look up the authors references. Quite handy actually.

Overall it was good even though parts of it made me angry or sad. Did it help me understand autism? In a more broad sense yes. I get a lot more what’s going on inside Hunters head. It’s also made me realise that it’s a massivly diverse disorder. Not only are people on the spectrum Macs operating in a PC world, each person is a slightly different version of the IOS so they are slightly different again.

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