Though our understanding of autism has greatly expanded, many autistic individuals are still missed or misdiagnosed. This highly accessible book clarifies many ways that autism can present, particularly in people who camouflage to hide their autistic traits.
The authors take the reader step by step through the diagnostic criteria, incorporating the latest research as well as quotes from over 100 autistic contributors that bring that research to life. They also describe many aspects of autism that are not included in the current diagnostic criteria, such as autistic strengths and co-occurring disorders. Readers will learn about highly relevant topics, such as different types of empathy, sensory systems that are not well known, neuro-crash and burn out, and relative versus absolute thinking.
This book provides a deep, current, and neurodiversity-affirmative understanding of the less obvious presentations of autism. It is relevant to all healthcare professionals, educators, family members, autistic individuals, and anyone who is curious about autism. A clinical companion guide, Is This Autism? A Companion Guide for Diagnosing, is available for clinicians who make mental health diagnoses.
Part one: What can autism actually look like? 1. Our framework: The current diagnostic criteria 2. Reciprocity 3. Nonverbal communication 4. Relationships 5. Repetitive or idiosyncratic behavior 6. Flexibility 7. Intense or atypical interests 8. Sensory differences Part two: What else might be part of this presentation? 9. Common co-occurring challenges 10. Autistic strengths The End
"Is This Autism? is a towering accomplishment, bringing together the state of the art of scientific and clinical insights into autism with the lived experience and perspectives of autistic people. Sensitively written, meticulously observed, and profoundly compassionate, this book will transform your understanding of autism, whether you're a clinician, a family member, or an autistic person yourself." — Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity
"Is This Autism? is just brilliant – genuinely one of the best books I have ever read! Drs. Henderson and Wayland embrace neuro-affirming practice, bringing together their clinical and life experience to give a richness that is much needed within the medical and therapeutic field of autism." — Barb Cook, MAut, DipHSc, developmental educator, Director NeuroEmploy Pty Ltd & NeuroDiversity Hub, founder Spectrum Women
"Is This Autism? integrates the voices of autistic people and the latest research to provide a readable, empowering, and comprehensive resource for clinicians of all kinds. Its emphasis on autistic strengths and the value of neurodiversity is especially welcome." — Lauren Kenworthy, PhD, pediatric neuropsychologist, Director, Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Children’s National Hospital
"You could spend years finding the patterns in first-person accounts of how autism manifests in various individuals – or you could read this book. As a late-diagnosed autistic woman, I wish it existed earlier. For other adult women seeking an autism evaluation, I would confidently recommend any clinician who reads this book and its companion guide. (That’s a big leap from my previous recommendation, which was to only see a clinician who has previously diagnosed another autistic woman!)" — Annie Kotowicz, author of What I Mean When I Say I’m Autistic: Unpuzzling a Life on the Autism Spectrum
"This book presents a respectful, rich, and expansive description of what autism really looks like across individuals. It provides an invaluable resource to help clinicians move past the often inaccurate, restricted, and stereotypical expectations that have historically limited an appreciation for the full 'spectrum' of this diagnosis. It is a must-read for all neuropsychologists as well as all who work with this population whether we know it or not." — Kira Armstrong, pediatric neuropsychologist, co-editor of The Clinical Neuropsychologist’s Special Issue: Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders
"Is This Autism? is a wonderful contribution to the field, guiding clinicians to better understand, appreciate, and describe autistic individuals as they support each unique individual’s journey of self-discovery through the assessment process." — Marilyn J. Monteiro, PhD, author of Monteiro Interview Guidelines for Diagnosing the Autism Spectrum, second Edition (MIGDAS-2)
"This book is a MASTERPIECE. The information is new, beautifully stated, organized, important, helpful. Just gorgeous. I love it very much." — Carol Stock Kranowitz, author of The Out-of-Sync Child
"I found the expertise in this book crucial for anyone interested in autism, a necessary resource for clinicians, researchers, and diagnosticians. Without hesitation, I rate it, to date, the most important work in the field." — Rachelle K. Sheely PhD, President RDI
"Lived experiences, professional expertise, and research are carefully woven together in Is This Autism? – a must-read for ALL clinicians to enable them to recognize and better serve the often unseen and unheard autistic clients that come into their office." — Kim Clairy, OTR/L, autistic occupational therapist
"Is This Autism? presents current autism research and relevant clinical guidance within an affirming, easy-to-understand framework." — Jeremy Sharp, PhD, licensed psychologist and host of The Testing Psychologist podcast
"This amazing book is an indispensable tool for helping clinicians and parents understand and identify the less obvious presentations of autism. It is filled with practical wisdom rooted in the authors’ personal and clinical experience, as well as their enormous respect for neurodiversity. I’ve learned a ton that will make me a better psychologist!" — William Stixrud, PhD, clinical neuropsychologist and co-author, The Self-Driven Child and What Do You Say?
"This groundbreaking book will revolutionize the way we think about autism. Well researched and well organized, Drs. Henderson and Wayland have created a definitive text that specifies and widens the lens through which we understand autism. This should be required reading for all professionals and lay people who want to understand the world of neurodiversity." — Dr Rita Eichenstein, neuropsychologist and author of Not What I Expected; Help and Hope for Parents of Atypical Children
"Do you know what autism looks like in your neighbor, teacher, coworker, or aunt? An abundance of quotes and real-life examples bring neurodiversity to life in this exceptional book that does not disappoint." — Theresa M. Regan, PhD, author of Understanding Autism in Adults and Aging Adults
"Is This Autism? is revolutionary in its empowering messages for clinicians and for individuals with autistic brains, alike. Drs. Henderson and Wayland are clearly changing the conversation about how autism is understood and diagnosed, and the world is a better place for it. If you have any interest in autism (and even if you don’t!), this book is truly a must-read! I assure you: You have never read another one like it." — Karin Varblow, MD, pediatrician
"Is This Autism? takes you on a personally guided tour into the hearts and souls of autistics. With the knowledge that Donna Henderson and Sarah Wayland have harvested from decades of personal and professional work, they convey the many twists and turns of the developmental journey of autistics. One phrase stuck with me in particular: 'A sense of belonging.' This desire to be validated for who we are – no matter how we show up in the world – lies at the deepest core of every human’s longing. Henderson and Wayland show us – with compassion and inclusivity – not only how to be informed about autistics, but how to be wise as well. With solid research, practical suggestions, and moving narratives from the experts who live the neurodivergent journey, we are invited to understand that only by knowing what is on the inside, can we – as professionals and family members – help on the outside. This book will become an essential guide for those of us committed to creating a world that adapts to and celebrates the unique experiences of autistics." — Rick Silver, MD, psychiatrist, founder, and director, The THRIVE Center