Neurotribes - An Amazing Book Among Autism Literature


Posted on April 2, 2018 - 9:58am

NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman

It's National Autism Month!

Many books have been written about autism—parenting books, autobiographies, skill development, and fiction. NeuroTribes is unique among the throng of books on autism. 

In NeuroTribes, Steve Silberman, friend to Oliver Sacks, successfully traces the history of autism spectrum disorder from its first recognition to the current state of the autism community. The Austrian, Hans Asperger, was one of the first to describe autism. Unfortunately, most of his work was lost or dismissed by the medical community because they feared using any research from Nazi occupied countries. Ironically, Asperger doted on his patients and emphasized their strengths in order to protect them from the Nazis, while later research done by other “medical professionals” could more accurately be described as torture.

Silberman does an excellent job of weaving the different paths of research together into one comprehensible and fascinating narrative. Proof of his meticulous research, Silberman tracked down the origin of the theory that gluten-free diets could cure or alleviate autism.

Just as illuminating as the history of autism is Silberman’s discussion of the future of autism. He highlights profound discoveries made by people with autistic traits. He uses this to stress the importance neurodiversity plays in generating innovative ideas essential to the well-being of our globe.

NeuroTribes may seem to be a hefty tome, but only because the weight of the knowledge and wisdom it contains is so great.

--Amanda, Part-time Library Assistant