“Every year, one out of every 100 children in the United States—or six out of every 1,000 young people worldwide—is diagnosed with autism.” Autism Spectrum Disorders by Ana María Rodríguez is a timely young adult book that explores case studies, symptoms, diagnosis, treatments, and research. Excerpts of recent USA Today newspaper articles are included in sidebars to make the text fresh and current.
Autism Spectrum Disorders delves deeply into the topic. The book starts out with a case study of a boy who exhibits the classic symptoms of autism, and then contrasts with the story of another boy who has Asperger’s syndrome. The author then explains how both have disorders that affect the child’s brain development, especially in the areas of communication and socialization. She explains how the disorders have a genetic component, but also seem to be influenced by the environment as well. She walks us through the process of diagnosis and the alphabet soup of therapies that are used to treat autism spectrum patients. She then writes about how to cope with the diagnosis of a loved one and how overwhelming and bewildering it can seem, especially when each individual has their own unique set of symptoms and strengths.
Ana María Rodríguez is a fabulous writer (she wrote Secret of the Puking Penguins, reviewed in a previous post). She has a talent of tackling difficult informational subjects and distilling the essence in a clear and confident way. She obviously has a good understanding of the medical issues she covers in this book.
Autism Spectrum Disorders is a top notch book that could be used in many ways. It is an important resource for students studying and/or writing a paper on autism spectrum disorders. Teachers with autistic children in their classrooms, or other professionals who work with autistic individuals, might want to use it to refresh themselves on the topic quickly. Parents of children recently diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders will be thankful for a concise summary of a vast array of information and for all the additional resources in the back. Older children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders may want to read it to learn more about themselves.
Conclusion: If you are seeking information about autism spectrum disorders, then this is a wonderful book for you.
Reading level: Young Adult
Publisher: Twenty-First Century Books (March 2011)
An electronic copy of this book was provided for review purposes via NetGalley.
Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. We invite you to join us. For more information and a schedule, stop by the new Nonfiction Monday blog to see who is hosting each week.
This week’s post is at Simply Science.