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Maverick mind : a mother's story of solving the mystery of her unreachable, unte
Florance, Cheri L.
Adult Nonfiction LC4705 .F62 2004

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Florance, a speech-language pathologist in Ohio, was holding her newborn son, Whitney, when she suspected something was wrong-he wasn't at all responsive. As time passed, her suspicions only worsened; loud noises didn't startle him, he made no sounds and he seemed detached. Believing that labeling a problem leads to a focus on the negative, Florance rejected the diagnosis of autism, but that didn't make the symptoms-frequent bouts of perseverating behavior ("persistent repetition of a verbal or motor response"), insistence on complicated rituals, aloofness, etc.-disappear. Focusing on the positive did help her notice signs of Whitney's intelligence, though. He'd destroy a household appliance, but was fascinated with its inner workings. He'd wander off unpredictably, but find his way to a shop they'd visited only once. Florance began to theorize that Whitney's visual thought process was so advanced, it had shut down his verbal ability. Together with her two older children, she developed a method of teaching Whitney to read and to think sequentially based on visual, rather than verbal cues. Inspired by Helen Keller and determined not to institutionalize Whitney, the family found techniques to teach Whitney to read, talk, interact with others and function successfully in mainstream classrooms. Florance and Whitney, now age 17, are together using their techniques to help other "maverick minds" (their term for people with high visual/associational thought processes and low verbal/sequencing processing) to function better in our verbally oriented world. Florance's insights into cognitive development will intrigue general readers, and parents of "disturbed" children will admire the author's perseverance. Agent, Mike Shatzkin. (Jan. 5) Forecast: Florance's insistence on not medicating her son places her squarely in the "alternative" mainstream. Her book should attract readers from that category, as well as communication disorder professionals. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

These works provide strong stories about Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) from a clinical perspective. In Through the Glass Wall, Buten (French clinical psychologist; When I Was Five, I Killed Myself) writes about his work with autistic patients over the last 30 years. He uses methods commonly associated with Barry Neil Kaufman's Option Institute (e.g., joining a child in repetitive behavior to engage them) and provides interesting case studies of adults and children with ASD. He intertwines his own experiences with those of his patients, making this text better for looking at the history of autism than investigating current applications for helping people with ASD. In Maverick Mind, Florance, a speech-language pathologist, recounts her life and work with her son, Whitney, who was diagnosed with severe autism as a child. The coverage is devoted to her conflict with the school district, struggles to find the correct intervention, the toll it took on her and her other children, and the successful program that she developed with others who allowed Whitney, now 17, to succeed. Florance also describes her son's growing self-awareness of autism throughout middle school, a topic not often addressed. Juxtaposed with this narrative is her work with patients who need speech therapy to improve their communication skills. The book's title is Florance's nickname for Whitney, who is very high functioning as a visual learner but with poor auditory learning skills and communication. Maverick Mind is strongly recommended for public and academic libraries with autism and special education collections. Buten's book is recommended for academic and public libraries with disability studies or comprehensive autism collections.-Corey Seeman, Univ. of Toledo Libs. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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