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Understanding Autism for Dummies

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating


Updated October 20, 2006

The Bottom Line

This book should be handed to every person who is or may be facing a diagnosis of autism for themselves or a loved one. Stephen Shore is, himself, an adult with autism -- and his personal success, upbeat tone, and straight-from-the-hip advice is both valuable and reassuring.
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  • A terrific book for anyone seeking an overview of autism and treatments.
  • Extremely broad-ranging and inclusive.
  • Fun and easy to read.
  • Includes ideas for managing financial concerns.
  • Reaches out to adults with autism as well as parents.


  • Sheer breadth of content can be overwhelming.
  • Offers dietary and other suggestions that may be inappropriate.
  • The Dummies format is a bit too cute for the topic.


  • A solid, broad ranging handbook.
  • Personal insights from an adult with autism.
  • Terrific hints, tips and ideas.
  • Easy and fun to read.

Guide Review - Understanding Autism for Dummies

Full disclosure: I do know Stephen Shore, having met him and chatted with him several times over the years. An adult on the autism spectrum, he's become a well-known figure at autism conferences and events. He's also the author of several books, including personal memoirs. By partnering with professional writer Linda Rastelli, he has produced a book that contains not only his own personal perspective but also a carefully crafted set of ideas, hints, tips and recommendations.

I usually look carefully for errors, exaggerations and omissions. I could find very few in this book! It's up-to-date relative to research, and includes information about almost every major form of treatment, educational approach and possible pitfall in the world of autism. Stephen's personal notes, set off in gray, provide readers with an unusual insight into how different experiences and/or treatments are experienced by a person on the autism spectrum.

My only concerns lie in the book's heavy focus on biomedical treatments and nutrition. These areas are, at best, controversial -- and the book includes very specific nutritional recommendations that may or may not be appropriate for every reader. Parents should consult a physician before changing their child's diet.

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