Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Freaks, Geeks & Asperger Syndrome by Luke Jackson

Freaks, Geeks & Asperger Syndrome is a delightfully humorous book written by a British teenager with Asperger's, Luke Jackson. He writes from his own perspective of what it's like to feel different and experience things differently than many people. Luke wrote the book in hopes of reaching out to other teenagers who, like him have Asperger's and often feel like an outsider in this world. He beautifully describes how his mind works in a way that is easy for people to understand. Although some of the topics he discusses are quite serious, he writes with such a positive, witty tone that keeps the reader laughing and wanting to read more.

Luke begins the book with an introduction to his family. He has six other siblings, one of whom is also on the spectrum. He writes about his own diagnosis and the overwhelming sense of relief he felt to learn that there was a name for the way his mind works. Luke is a strong believer that the label was crucial in not only helping others to understand his thinking, but also for him to understand himself.

This is a great book if you are just learning about Asperger's Syndrome and what it all means. Not only is it a great resource for other adolescents and adults with that diagnosis, but I think it's also a great resource for parents of children anywhere on the spectrum, as well as for professionals. Although he goes into the most depth about his own experiences (topics ranging from sleep, socialization, dating, and dealing with bullying), he also talks about strategies that have worked for his younger brother who has a diagnosis of autism and who is a lot less verbal that he is.

I truly cannot say enough about this book. Luke provides the reader with the unique opportunity to see what it's like to live in his world-- a world where he has had to memorize and apply social rules that do not come naturally to him and conform to standards that he does not always understand. Individuals on the spectrum are teaching us stuff everyday-- with the hustle and bustle of life we do not always take time to listen and we do not always understand what they are trying to tell us. Let's take this opportunity to understand a different perspective, I think we will all become better teachers for doing so.

- Molly

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