The story of autism contains many puzzles, but none more tantalizing than the problem of the eccentric individual who appears to be both intellectually gifted and mentally handicapped and who finds it difficult to deal with everyday social interaction and communication. Such individuals are increasingly recognized as suffering from Asperger Syndrome. The argument presented in this book is that they suffer from a form of autism, but that they can compensate for this handicap to a remarkable degree. In this volume the foremost experts in the field discuss the diagnostic criteria of the syndrome, richly illustrated with examples from their clinical practices. Clinical accounts are balanced with personal accounts and some as yet preliminary research data. Asperger's classic paper is translated and annotated. The insights of this pioneer of autism have been unjustly neglected but reflect a very modern awareness of the many forms of autism and the wide range of individual differences in the men and women who suffer from this disorder. Asperger Syndrome individuals with their intellectual and linguistic ability and their desire for social adaptation are extremely vulnerable.
'Our concept of autism, all too often, is one of grossly-disabled, poorly-functioning children - the classical syndrome described by Kanner. This concept needs to be expanded, for there are also children and especially adults who have good language and intellectual skills, who can sometimes, indeed, manage to pass as 'normal', and yet are still fundamentally autistic. This higher form of autism was described nearly fifty years ago by Asperger, but is still not accorded the recognition it deserves. In this very scholarly but also highly-readable volume, Uta Frith not only provides the first-ever translation into English of Asperger's paper, but has brought together a variety of fascinating phenomenological and narrative accounts, of the syndrome and its varied presentations, accounts which are by no means entirely negative, for they show how much adaptation and learning and personal development is possible if there is a sensitive understanding of the precise problems involved. Autism and Asperger Syndrome is an invaluable book, not only for researchers, therapists and clinicians, but for parents and teachers, for everyone concerned with understanding autism, and seeing its clinical and its human dimension too.' Oliver Sacks 'This book is highly commended to a variety of readers, including medical and behavioural scientists, parents, friends and even sufferers from Asperger syndrome. It is clear, succinct and so far unique in its presentation of important findings relating to this impairment. There are many suggestions as to the next steps in empirical investigation, and a wealth of human wisdom pervades the whole.' Nature