EMERGENCE: LABELED AUTISTIC by Temple Grandin with Margaret Scariano (Arena: $8.95).
For most people, infantile autism is a remote, terrifying disorder resembling a chilling psychosis, promising institutionalization for victims and unrelenting horror for families. Often having normal or superior intelligence, the autistic child is frequently too much for its family to handle and leads a discarded life. But, there are exceptions. In this highly readable and often inspirational book, perhaps the first ever written by a recovering autistic, Temple Grandin describes her experience of the overwhelming confusion of sensory input that torments autistic children, leading them to shun human contact and engage in bizarre rituals, activities that help autistics minimize the painful sensations that buffet them about. The book recounts the many trying ordeals through which Temple, aided by her mother, the rest of her family and understanding teachers, developed in her own unique way and gradually entered the world at her own pace. Not only did Temple eventually complete graduate school, but she teaches college and is a world expert in the design of cattle chutes, an interest shaped by her lifelong search for a device that would help her own needs for controllable sensory stimulation. The book is highly recommended for families, teachers and therapists of autistic individuals.