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Book Review - Aspergers from the Inside Out by Michael John Carley

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

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Updated May 27, 2008

Book Review - Aspergers from the Inside Out by Michael John Carley
Penguin Group (US)

The Bottom Line

If you're an adult who has been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome (or thinks he probably meets the diagnostic criteria), this is a good book to pick up. It won't answer all of your questions, and it won't provide all the answers, but it will provide you with perspective and information and help guide you as you move forward.
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Pros

  • A clear and compassionate guide for adults with Aspergers
  • Told from the perspective of a community advocate
  • Includes a number of useful resources and suggestions
  • Includes a variety of stories and examples

Cons

  • Includes a great deal of autobiography
  • Long chapters make information tougher to find
  • Not set up as a typical "guide"

Description

  • A guide for adults with Asperger syndrome
  • Written by the founder of an autism support organization
  • Foreward written by Dr. Peter Gerhardt
  • Published by the Penguin Group (USA)
  • 252 pages in paperback

Guide Review - Book Review - Aspergers from the Inside Out by Michael John Carley

Asperger's from the Inside Out, by Michael John Carley, is subtitled "A Supportive and Practical Guide for Anyone with Asperger's Syndrome." In this case, "anyone" does not include teens or kids but may include parents eager to learn more about adult life on the autism spectrum.

Carley is the founder of the Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership (GRASP), a support and advocacy group for adults with Asperger syndrome. This experience provides him with some great stories to tell -- but also means that he relies a great deal on GRASP members for this book. Any holes in content that GRASP doesn't fill are filled with anecdotes and recommendations from Dr. Peter Gerhardt, a respected adult autism specialist who wrote the forward for the book.

Carley is also a husband, father, writer and successful playwright. His voice, tone and personal history all seem to reflect a man who is somewhere in between autism and typical development. On the one hand, he empathizes with the sense of "differentness" felt by those who are growing up or are newly diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. On the other hand, he can explain parents' perspectives and recommend ways in which people with Asperger syndrome can smooth relationships with colleagues and family.

There are some great case histories and recommendations in this book. Carley's self-description, though, sounds surprisingly typical. Sure, he had his moments of standing outside looking in, but it seems to have been his keen sense of others' expectations that gave him the self-assurance and social ability he needed to succeed as a New York playwright, parent, husband and entrepreneur.

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