Uniquely Human by Barry Prizant ~ Introduction and Chapter 1

A while back, I saw this book posted on a friend’s Facebook wall. She was studying speech language pathology and recommended that this was a good read for anyone entering into that field or related fields (such as education, psychology, etc.) I finished the book recently, and I’m going to recommend that everyone, not just people who interact and work with individuals with autism, read this book. It provides great insight from individuals that have worked with people with autism and individuals that live with autism too. I hope you enjoy this post and gain some knowledge about individuals that live their everyday lives with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

“…the best way to help a person with autism change for the better is to change ourselves–our attitudes, our behavior, and the types of support we provide” (4).


“This way of understanding and supporting people with autism is sorely lacking. It treats the person as a problem to be solved rather than an individual to be understood” (17).

“This way” is referring to managing behaviors or getting rid of behaviors that are associated with ASD. Essentially, one approach to working with individuals with autism is to make them as “normal” as possible in comparison to their peers and others around them.

“We all have these challenges, but people with autism are unusually ill equipped to deal with them because of their neurology” (18).

We all deal with anxiety and stress, but for individuals with autism, these challenges are even more difficult to overcome.

“Whether or not we realize it, all humans employ these rituals and habits to help us regulate ourselves–soothe ourselves, calm our minds and bodies, and help us cope” (21).

We all do things that help us deal with stress and anxiety. Maybe you do deep breathing, yoga, read a book, or watch TV. Individuals with autism have coping behaviors too, they just are different from ones that individuals without autism may use. Those coping strategies shouldn’t be shunned; we should allow the person to use them if it helps to regulate themselves.

“Seeking to eliminate behavior without fully understanding its purpose is not only unhelpful; it also shows a lack of respect for the individual. Worse, it can make life more difficult for the person with autism” (27).


“Often the most important things we can do to help are to acknowledge and validate the child’s feelings of dysregulation…” (28).


“Instead of trying to change how a person with autism reacts to us, we need to pay close attention to how we react to the person” (30).

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more posts on Uniquely Human!


Prizant, B. (2015). Uniquely human: A different way of seeing autism. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster

Featured image: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com

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