Summary

"This is the first book to show that the "epidemic" of autism is, paradoxically, a sign of how much the world has achieved in promoting autism awareness and education. The identification and treatment of autism has improved dramatically over the past few decades, and the increase in diagnoses is as much a product of culture as science. The shift in how we view autism, Grinker argues, is a part of broader societal shifts, such as changing attitudes about mental illness, the growth of child psychiatry and special education, and the rise of parent advocacy."--BOOK JACKET.


Unstrange Mindsdocuments Grinker's quest to find out why autism is so much more common today, and to uncover the implications of the increase. His search took him to Africa, India, and East Asia, to the National Institutes of Mental Health, and to the mountains of Appalachia. What he discovered is both surprising and controversial: There is no true increase in autism. Grinker shows that the identification and treatment of autism depends on culture just as much as on science. As more and more cases of autism are documented, doctors are describing the disorder better, school systems are coding it better--and children are benefiting. Filled with moving stories and informed by the latest science,Unstrange Mindsis unlike any other book on autism. It is a powerful testament to a father's quest for the truth, and is urgently relevant to anyone whose life is touched by one of history's most puzzling disorders.