TRANSFER BOY

Reviewed by Paul Horan, Lecturer in Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies, Trinity College Dublin.

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This is a very detailed and well-constructed volume relating to contemporary issues in sperger Syndrome. The authors are to be complimented on the inclusive nature of this work. One of the authors has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, and the other two are academics with a keen interest in studying the nature of the syndrome. The book is very detailed in its examination of the key issues. One author’s adolescent experience of Asperger Syndrome is examined, utilising a detailed case study. But this book’s greatest achievement is the manner in which the authors simultaneously integrate existing research on autism with a biographical narrative.
The authors evaluate the merits and pitfalls of different explanations of autism, while also addressing psychological issues relating to Asperger Syndrome—intelligence, social skills, memory and the transitional period from childhood to adolescence. In essence this book is a study of one individual’s experiences of autism. The key elements of the study reported on are standard measures of self-concept, an IQ test and a psychiatric exam, contributing to the hitherto under-researched area of autistic self-knowledge. The results and interpretations of findings are discussed at length.

The book is divided into a number of sections addressing the following topics: the experience of an individual with Asperger Syndrome from a family perspective, a school perspective, a scientific perspective, and an individual with Asperger Syndrome’s own perspective.

Probably the best part of this book, for the reader, is the intricately woven story of the Asperger experience from a very human perspective. The authors are to be congratulated for the manner in which they tackle the many various and flawed assessment methodologies which may lead to a diagnosis with Asperger Syndrome. The lack of agreement in research circles regarding the causal nature of the syndrome is well evidenced. This argument is well made and enhanced as scientific theories regarding Asperger Syndrome’s aetiology are given new and real meaning, as they are applied to Teodor’s lived experience of the condition.

Maybe the lesson in this volume is the need for much more inclusive research that will explore Asperger Syndrome and Autistic Spectrum Disorders using an inclusive and emancipatory research paradigm. Much is to be learned from the narrative biographical accounts of the experiences of families experiencing Asperger Syndrome. It is possible through the exploration of science and family experience that we will all develop greater insights into what can only be described as one of humanity’s most misunderstood and puzzling human conditions.

In summary, this a timely volume as the incidence of the diagnosis Autistic Spectrum Disorders are ever increasing. I would recommend this volume as an ideal reference text for all those working with and caring for people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders, wherever they may be. The many issues raised in this volume demonstrate the international transferability of issues relating to families experiencing Asperger Syndrome. A must-have volume for all educational establishments training professional groups to work with people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders.

TRANSFER BOY: Perspectives on Asperger Syndrome, by Ljiljana Vuletic, Michel Ferrari and Teodor Mihail (2005). Jessica Kingsley Publishers: London. £14.95. ISBN 1-84310-213-7.

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