Saturday, July 11, 2009

Book Review: 22 Things a Woman Must Know if She Loves a Man with Asperger's Syndrome

Author Rudy Simone, in her first foray into the world of self-help books, seeks to address what she perceives as the concerns of women who are in romantic relationships with Autistic men. The cover blurb states that Simone, who gives presentations on autism to various groups, is "drawing on research and personal experiences to inform and advise women with AS partners."

Unfortunately, the book provides very little in the way of citations to peer-reviewed studies and instead relies heavily on stereotypes and unsubstantiated claims from Maxine Aston, who wrote the foreword. Aston asserts, without any valid research to back it up, that being involved in a relationship with an Autistic person causes "Cassandra Affective Deprivation Disorder," to which Aston attributes a variety of ailments from colds to cancer. Aston's claims have been debunked extensively on many Internet sites.

Simone has publicly stated that she is herself on the spectrum, which she learned only recently. When she first began to read about autism, she said in an interview, books by Maxine Aston and Barbara Jacobs were among the first things she found. In light of Simone's lack of a research background that would have enabled her to give their books more critical scrutiny, it is not surprising that like many young Autistics starting a career, Simone was naive and made a poor choice of mentors.

One useful suggestion in 22 Things is that an Autistic person should learn "to trust and respect his own original thinking in many matters." (p. 69) It is to be hoped that Simone will take her own advice in this regard when she pursues future projects. With her friendly, upbeat, and easily understandable communication style, she has the potential to connect well with audiences in both her speaking and writing endeavors.


Clay said...

"it is not surprising that like many young Autistics starting a career, Simone was naive and made a poor choice of mentors."

I don't know how old You are, dear, but Ms Simone readily admits to being 45. I'd say that as a "newly realized Aspie", Rudy was especially impressionable at the time, and it was unfortunate that she happened to pick up those books by Aston and Jacobs, because they unduly influenced her, and took her in the wrong direction.

I've met her in person, at one of those "talks", (which was only about helping Aspies in our daily lives, not about CADD), agree with her self-assessment as Aspie, and would add to "naive", that she seems "sincere" and "wanting to help". My direct impression of her was "favorable", and I'm usually a good judge of character. I just hope that she doesn't ride the CADD "horse" in her relationship counseling. As we see in the comments on the Wrong Planet blog, incorrectly identifying a real medical problem as a CADD symptom could result in legal difficulties.

asansouthwestohio said...

Perhaps it's because she has a lot of energy and enthusiasm that she gives the impression of being younger. Anyway, thanks for the additional info Clay.

Paula said...

45 *is* so very young, says this 50-year-old who first learned of autism at age 47 and did not pick the same mentors, apparently. ;) I like to think I have a lot of energy and enthusiasm most days...