Between Their World and Ours Breakthroughs with Autistic Children

Karen Zelan

St. Martin's Griffin

0312313764

9780312313760

Trade Paperback

452 Pages

$22.99

CAD26.50

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Autism has reached epidemic proportions. The latest studies suggest that as many as one in 150 children ages ten and younger may be affected by autism—a total of 300,000 children in the United States alone. Adults included, there are more than a million people in the U.S. suffering from autistic disorders. Since autism has had a bleak prognosis, and since the isolation of autistic children is so painful to parents, noted psychotherapist Karen Zelan's accounts of her breakthroughs with autistic children in Between Their World and Ours present a particularly hopeful perspective. Zelan illustrates how diagnostic labels reflect the preconceptions and prejudices of the diagnostician, but reveal nothing about the unique person who carries the label and his potential as a human being.

Fully describing nine of the forty-five autists with whom she has worked, Zelan documents how psychotherapy with autistic youth helps them to overcome their problems in communicating, playing, feeling, thinking, and interacting with people more companionably. Her riveting narratives, always reflecting a growing understanding of her young patients, telling reveal how it is to be autistic. Between Their World and Ours describes the ways these young people meet the challenges of being the way they are, as Zelan demonstrates how the social context in which autistic children find themselves can make a significant difference in their development, their self-esteem, and their ability to think through problems in living.

A gifted and intuitive psychotherapist, Zelan shows how the autist's sense of self emerges during childhood. She details how these autistic children's first friendships originate, the pitfalls and pleasures they experience in relating to their peers, their dreams, and their fears of social contact.

This important book brims with real-life stories showing what has worked with autistic children—and why. Zelan offers prescriptive 0suggestions for parents and teachers based on her discoveries, demonstrating humane ways of dealing with the often troubling problems of autism and of closing the gap between their world and ours.

REVIEWS

Praise for Between Their World and Ours

"This book provides insights for mentoring elementary school-age children and teenagers with Asperger's or high-functioning autism."—Temple Grandlin, author of Thinking in Pictures: And Other Reports from My Life with Autism

"Psychotherapist Zelan, who has spent years working with autistic children, [sheds] some much-needed light on the subject. [She] skillfully meshes complex theory and poignant stories and tackles the many issues of autism with admirable grace."—Publishers Weekly

"Zelan has lived and worked through the many twists and turns of the autism advocacy and treatment movement. As a teacher/therapist, she has written a sensitive book about the many challenges facing parents, teachers, and, yes, those with autism. A worthy read, and inspiring."—David L. Holmes, Ed.D., president and executive director of the Eden Family of Services

"This is a truly wonderful book. Essential reading for all parents and teachers of autistic children . . . Dr. Zelan's work with autistic young people is a model for all good psychotherapy: She accepts her patients without judgment because she can imagine herself in their shoes. She understands that their symptoms and behavior, however bizarre or disturbing they may appear, are understandable expressions of the human condition that any of us could experience under extreme stress, or under ordinary stress made extreme by a chemical imbalance or neurological abnormality."—Dr. Elio Frattaroli, author of Healing the Soul in the Age of the Brain: Why Medication Isn't Enough

"Dr. Zelan shows an amazing insight into why autistic people think and feel the way they do; she is to autistic people what Jane Goodall was for the wild chimpanzees. [Dr. Zelan's] intuitive abilities and ability to think divergently and creatively are exactly what's been missing in the psychiatric profession's approach to working with we who are autistic. She has demonstrated clear sensitivity to autistic people and knows that they are individuals who need control over their lives. She has demonstrated her awareness of the beautiful, lyrical side of autism. She has changes lives for the better by laying down the hammer and picking up the bud. I thank her."—Dr. Dawn Prince-Hughes, author of Aquamarine Blue 5: Personal Stories of College Students with Autism

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

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Karen Zelan was trained in psychoanalytic milieu therapy at the University of Chicago’s Orthogenic School. She served as a senior staff supervising psychologist at Boston Children’s Hospital Medical Center and as a Harvard Medical School instructor in the department of psychiatry. She has written extensively on children’s learning and is the coauthor, with Bruno Bettelheim, of On Learning to Read. She is a psychotherapist to troubled youth in Berkeley, California, where she resides with her husband. Her son and daughter, now grown, live nearby.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Karen Zelan

  • Karen Zelan was trained in psychoanalytic milieu therapy at the University of Chicago's Orthogenic School. She served as a senior staff supervising psychologist at Boston Children's Hospital Medical Center and as a Harvard Medical School instructor in the department of psychiatry. She has written extensively on children's learning and is the coauthor, with Bruno Bettelheim, of On Learning to Read. Zelan is a psychotherapist to troubled youth in Berkeley, California, where she resides with her husband. Her son and daughter, now grown, live nearby.
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