The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome

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The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome is the definitive handbook for anyone affected by Asperger's syndrome (AS). It brings together a wealth of information on all aspects of the syndrome for children through to adults.

Drawing on case studies and personal accounts from Attwood's extensive clinical experience, and from his correspondence with individuals with AS, this book is both authoritative and extremely accessible. Chapters examine: causes and indications of the syndrome; the diagnosis and its effect on the individual; theory of mind; the perception of emotions in self and others; social interaction, including friendships; long-term relationships; teasing, bullying and mental health issues; the effect of AS on language and cognitive abilities, sensory sensitivity, movement and co-ordination skills; and career development.

There is also an invaluable frequently asked questions chapter and a section listing useful resources for anyone wishing to find further information on a particular aspect of AS, as well as literature and educational tools.

Essential reading for families and individuals affected by AS as well as teachers, professionals and employers coming in contact with people with AS, this book should be on the bookshelf of anyone who needs to know or is interested in this complex condition.

Customer Reviews:

  • Helpful, but Highly Repetitive
    Attwood's book provides good insight to Asperger's Syndrome, bringing out the key symptoms (emotional "deafness," motor clumsiness, difficulty making and keeping friends, preference for solitude, liklihood of accompanying depression or anxiety disorder, etc.), as well as suggestions for adults on how to help a growing-up child with these symptoms. On the down-side, however, the book is more than a bit repetitive, and would benefit from at least a chapter or two on self-help for adults. (Realistically, on the other hand, it is not too difficult to figure out appropriate strategies for oneself while reading through the book.)...more info
  • The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome
    I went through two highlighters on this book! It is a good explanation of Asperger's Syndrome and the ways of dealing with it. As I read different abilities and disabilities associated with the "disorder," I recognized many of my friends and relatives as having at least some shades of the disorder. Perhaps there are more Aspies out there that this book would help with "self-diagnosis" and "self-help" than anyone really knows. If you know someone who was "wierd" to his/her classmates, suggest they read this book. Suddenly, they may find that "wierd" is indeed an honor....more info
  • Excellent Book
    This is INDEED the COMPLETE guide to Asperger's Syndrome. Easy to read and understand, Atwood clearly demonstrates that he is the authoritative voice of AS.

    Rev. Dr. Ray DeLaurier...more info
  • The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome
    Tony Attwood had been recommended to me by a therapist specializing in autism spectrum disorders as one of the best authors of material on AS. I purchased this book and have found it to be very complete and informative and helpful in more fully understanding Asperger's Syndrome. It is very professionally written. I would definitely recommend this as standard reading/reference to anyone interested in AS.The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome...more info
  • Review of Attwood's book on Asperger's Syndrome
    This is a well written book with plenty of information to answer all your questions. It is techinical in spots, so you may need to re-read some of the topics. This book is recommended by therapists too in understanding this condition....more info
  • Great book
    Very good book with a lot of excellent information. I'd recommend this as the first book to be read on the subject of Asperger's Syndrome, because it provides an excellent foundation of knowledge on the subject. ...more info
  • Attwood's updated Guide to Asperger's
    Attwood has improved on his earlier excellent book on Asperger's. I have a 31 year old son that had not been accurately diagnosed until this year. He has had difficulty his entire life and, with this book, we have finally been able to understand him so much better and to begin to guide him towards a productive life.
    With his insite, Attwood brings clarity & hope to these wonderful, yet often misunderstood folks and their families. ...more info
  • Best explanation of Asperger's I've found yet...
    I bought 3 copies of this book. One is my personal copy, one to loan out to friends and family, and one as a gift to the school district I grew up in.
    I'm mildly disappointed in the frequent use of "the child with Asperger's" in reference to situations that affect both children and adults, although the latter portions of the book more frequently use "child or adult".
    I've used one section of the book to explain to my church elders why I have such a difficult time dressing up, and look forward to being able to explain many more of my eccentricities with this tool.

    -Sam Corbin ...more info
  • Dr Attwood helps Aspie people, their parents and community
    Professor Tony Attwood, is well known in Australia as our leading authority on Aspergers Syndrome. His book provides wonderful insights into the diagnosis, social understanding and friendships, teasing/bullying, expression of emotions, language, cognitive, sensory and movement characteristics, as well as chapters on relationships, life after school and FAQ's. Our family found it informative, reassuring and a great resource for teaching our child's school and community how better to understand and support people with Aspergers....more info
  • you will want this for your library
    As a mother of a 10-year-old son with AS, I have read through this book once and am sure to be consulting it again and again. I read many excellent reviews of the book, and I think they are right on....more info
  • amazing
    I am really astonished. It offered me a complete picture of AS and helped me difining my goals as a clinician. Above any expectation....more info
  • Complete as of this date.
    When comparing this book to what others are available for learning about Asperger's Syndrome, this one is the best so far. As good as it is though, it must be kept in mind that it is far from perfection (i.e., being completed).

    As with most books on the topic of AS, when it comes to discussions on "Theory of Mind," it's one sided. Yes, AS people can't "read" non-verbal messages neurotypical people send out like NTs do. However, what you will never read about is how NTs can't "read" non-verbal messages AS people send out.

    Tony Attwood does bring up the tendency of AS people being more literal verbally, but he doesn't go into depth about why this is so. Without such explanations, it blinds typical people from seeing the more positive sides to AS. Logic goes hand-in-hand with literal; along with patterns, science, math, etc. If logic was used to explain the liberal use of figures in speech (like "hop on the scales" or "let's toast the bride," etc. found on page 115), then it would have to do so in a derogatory way because such things truly lack sense (logic). Words can be "playful," but when they are used in that manner, their true meaning is being raped away from their original purpose. It would be like insulting someone and then saying, "I was just joking." This is one of several reasons why AS children are most often the targets of bullies and are often referred to as being retarded when in reality they're usually a lot smarter than their attackers.

    Another example on the next page (116), when Mr. Atwood writes, "Children with impaired ToM abilities may not know how to answer that question," he makes it sound like AS children are inferior. This particular issue on not knowing how to answer questions also creates problems with the way tests and exams are written neurotypcially. Typical children do not "read" into things deeply. They don't examine, analyze, investigate, and/or probe as far as the AS developed brain does. If the people who write the questions for exams were more thorough, they would realize how many questions are loaded with "it depends." Why don't AS books point out how the creative/inventive mind works? Without these details, people are not going to think of all the benefits that are hidden within the seemingly negative AS traits.

    Apart from my being so habitually nitpicking (meticulous attention to detail as the the AS culture would call it), overall, I do highly recommend this book. ...more info
  • Just one book... make it this one.
    I have read lots of books on AS and reviewed many of them. What I am always warning is that in most cases any one book never gives a complete picture.

    Tony Attwood's book though is about as complete a picture as you could get right now and is not only far superior to his first guide to the subject but to many others on the market.

    If you read just one book on AS this should be it. It is easy to read, packed with information, and the author's respect and appreciation for people with Asperger's is evident on every page.

    It's professional, it's factual, it's understanding, it's worth owning a copy....more info
  • The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome

    Good book. It help me to understand my son.
    Thank You....more info
  • Excellent
    This book is excellent (even better than Tony Attwood's previous book).
    Dr. Attwood has more experience diagnosing and treating persons with Asperger's
    Syndrome than anyone else I know of, and the special undertanding he has gained
    from working with them shows in this book. If you want to understand Asperger's
    and you have time to only read one book, this is the book to read!...more info
  • Great Informative Book
    This book really comes in handy! Anyone wanting to learn about Aspergers Syndrome should own this book!...more info
  • Excellent book
    Excellent read...concise and thorough. I strongly recommend this to any parent or counselor....more info
  • Asperger's Syndrome by Tony Atwood
    I have found this a very helpful book that is well written and easy to get through....more info
  • A terrific source of knowledge about Asperger's
    I purchased this book just after my 9 year old son was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. It is a wonderful book for anyone who needs to know everything about this condition....more info
  • Tony Attwood's Complete Guide...
    This book gives very detailed info on all aspects of Asperger's Syndrome, and what to expect at different ages and circumstances, according to what is known of the disorder at this stage. A brilliant reference book for anyone interested in this disorder....more info
  • The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrom
    As a Grandparent of a 12 year old boy with Asperger's, this book has been great in answering the many questions we, as his extended family, have. It also offers suggestions as to how we may help him reach his full and magnificent potential....more info
  • The Best Reference
    A very informative and comprehensive text. This book is a great reference for anybody. It's certainly the best book that I've found for grown-up Aspies. Sometimes it seems like everything else that's been written on Asperger's Syndrome is directed towards "parents of children with." ...more info
  • Very Helpful
    I felt like I was reading my loved one's biography. This book was very helpful to my understanding of Asperger's Syndrome....more info
  • A Useful Guide
    Attwood has led the field when it comes to opening our minds to another way to look at this developmental disorder. Filled with scientific research this book is not without heart. Books on Asperger's Syndrome need to help the reader learn more but it is important to recognize that we are all part of the human condition. Attwood does a marvelous job in weaving together a useful guidebook to this complex disorder.

    ...more info
  • The Ultimate Guide!
    I used this book as the main resource for my thesis paper in grad school ! - I read over seven books front to back on Asperger's and got this one last - as soon as it was available. Mr. Atwood's book was by far the most complete and easy to digest book. I especially liked how he is a proponant of having supportive and well-educated teacher's to help these kids through their daily struggle. I will keep this on my desk for years to come.
    M. Romano
    Third Grade teacher
    Elementary School Counselor (Grad Student)...more info
  • A valuable resource
    This is the most thorough source of information on Asperger's Syndrome that I've read. ...more info
  • Asperger's Bible
    There is a reason why I always recommend this book before all others for a person who wants to learn about Asperger's Syndrome. Dr. Attwood has a rare gift as a neurotypical (NT...non-autistic) author of being able to connect with both NT's and people on the spectrum. His writing resonates both with those who are on the spectrum and those who love the Aspies in their lives. Dr. Attwood is the preeminent expert on Asperger Syndrome in the world and has been for the last decade, having worked with thousands of AS clients. His knowledge and compassion are clear from the outset of the book and his user friendly writing style will appeal to laypeople who are just curious about Asperger's and the clinician, teacher, social worker or any other professional. It was Dr. Attwood's first book that I read as I wept with relief and happiness, first realizing that I had Asperger's, back in 2004. Dr. Attwood opened my eyes and helped me to understand who I was. For that, I am forever grateful. Thank you again, Dr. Attwood, for outdoing yourself with this fantastic book!...more info
  • A singular source on understanding a different kind of mind
    Tony Attwood's latest is once again a singular source on understanding the minds and hearts of those impacted by this different and fascinating way of being. Based upon current theory, research, clinical experience, and the first person life stories, this book is unequaled in the literature and accessible to many audiences. If your child just got a diagnosis of Asperger's, if anyone in your family has this condition, or if your professional life brings you into contact with children or adults with these unique skills and challenges, this book belongs on your shelf to be read and referred to over and over.

    --Robert A. Naseef, Ph.D., psychologist, author of Special Children, Challenged Parents, and co-editor Voices from the Spectrum

    Voices from the Spectrum: Parents, Grandparents, Siblings, People With Autism, And Professionals Share Their Wisdom...more info
  • A guide for therapists
    Sometimes therapist treat depression and anxiety on adults who suffer from Asperger syndrome. I have found that when they know why they get depressed and anxious, Aspies do much much better. Many adults with Asperger don't know they have it. This is a great guide for therapists, so they can understand their patients better.
    ...more info
  • Comprehensive & Informative
    Excellent book that was insightful, meaningful, well-researched, and authentic. This is a must-read for anyone who has a loved one with AS. ...more info
  • The Complete Guide to Asberger's Syndrome by Tony Atwood
    excellent and very thorough-I learned a lot more than I did from Atwood's prior books, because I think that in the years Tony Atwood has been studying Asperger's syndrome, he has significantly deepened his knowledge. My 14 year old daughter, who has Asperger's, also found it helpful. If someone is just going to buy one book providing a detailed overview of Asperger's Syndrome, this is arguably the book I would recommend.

    I found his section on cognitive abilities especially helpful, because my daughter has some of the problems described in this chapter. When her IQ was tested, there was a 40 point gap between two parts of the IQ test, namely verbal comprehension and working memory. (Working memory,which is very different from long term memory, is the ability to recall and manipulate information relevant to a certain task, such as an academic assignment). Understanding this helped me understand her frustration with certain academic assignments, such as research papers.

    I hope you find my review helpful! ...more info
  • Sound Science delivered with Artistic Flair
    The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome: Review

    "Congratulation's, you've got Asperger's Syndrome." If you have to quote one phrase, I think this best sums up the tone of this book. Attwood's view is that being born with a differently wired brain is not always a bad thing.

    If I were the publisher I would change the title of this book to something that really accurately portrays the content - something like:

    "Asperger's Syndrome: A Half-Century of Understanding and Progress."

    Rather than summarize the book in a quick review, it is possibly easier to go to the preface and spell out what isn't in there. The author hints at this when he spells out where he sees future Asperger's research going. Here are some quotes from page 10:
    "We need to reach on consensus on diagnostic criteria"
    (More work) "must be done to achieve employment appropriate to qualifications and abilities."
    "More research...into aspects of sensory perception."
    "Evaluate programs to encourage friendship/relationship skills, the management of emotions and the constructive applications of special interests."

    This all means that the work isn't as complete as the real title might suggest. But pretty much everything else you would expect to be in the book is in there.

    To say the book is well written -on a micro level- would be to undersell it. You would expect nothing less from Tony Attwood, the world's foremost author on Asperger's syndrome. But what is a surprise to me is how carefully crafted the content arrangement of the book is. I read the chapters out of order, starting in the middle going to the end moving back and forth until finally I got to chapter one- last. That is a tribute to this work being a good reference book as well as a good read. The individual chapters are structured with a poignant quote from Hans Asperger at the beginning, to `hook you in', followed by a current summary on knowledge of the sub topic and always ending with a quote from a person with Asperger's syndrome because as Attwood puts it:

    "I think that those with Asperger's should have the last comment."

    To run through a brief content checklist:

    1/Diagnostic information including where established practice has rough edges? Check
    2/Solutions to better cope with a differently wired brain at toddler, child, teen and adult levels? Check

    Some of the proposed `paths to the future' may not have the rigours of scientific proof. But if anecdotal evidence can be at all useful, then Attwood has documented it. Although the style of the book may be at times almost disarmingly casual, the bibliography at the end is `clinically complete'.

    Criticisms? A book like this is at risk of suffering from observer bias. The skills needed to gain the necessary insights and recognize nuances means it is possible, even likely, that Attwood and his clinician colleagues have brains wired close to `opposite polarity' on the Asperger's brain scale spectrum. Thus it is possible that Attwood acting in his professional capacity has a biased view of what constitutes a `normal brain' because of the company he keeps. One description of an Asperger's wired brain is an `extreme male brain'. It could be that some of the diagnostic and behavioral observations in this book, labeled as unusual by clinicians, are really normal spectrum `maleness', which is perceived to be abnormal because of observer bias.

    The book starts and finishes with the delightful (fantasy) tale of Jack, an Asperger's boy, who ends up with a PhD, a research career and a late blossoming relationship with a single mother. However, I find it incongruous that right at the end of the story Jack would choose as `a label of his success' to buy a new BMW Seven series car. That is the largest and most wasteful car in the BMW range (presumably so Jack can transport all of those friends Asperger's people don't have). Meanwhile Jack purports to his workmates a `green image' (it is irrelevant if it is real or not) of fanatically breeding endangered Koala bears which would no doubt flout all sort of wildlife service protection laws (hence going against a known Asperger's trait of honesty over co-worker empathy) if it were true. I wouldn't normally bother pointing out such a trivial inconsistency in a profound work. But it is the very last thing in the book, so it sticks in my mind. Tony if you ever read this review stick to the day job - I don't think the producers of `Neighbours' and `Home & Away' will be seeking out your soap opera scenario script talent yet!

    OK, I admit it I am really struggling to find anything bad to say about this book. If you want to learn about Asperger's syndrome this is easily the most complete work available. Most complete that is, until Tony Attwood publishes his next book!...more info
  • The Asperger's Bible - Truly a Godsend
    Dr. Attwood is the leading expert on Asperger's Syndrome (AS) which is the spectrum partner to autism. This book is, at the time of this review his most current work. It is a shining gem and one of the standouts in autism/Asperger's (a/A) literature. If you are on the a/A continuum or know somebody who is, this book is your best friend. You will refer to it many times.

    What makes this book all the more excellent and distinct is that Dr. Attwood discusses adults on the a/A spectrum as well. Autism in its myriad forms including AS does not clear up once a person hits adulthood. If you have it, it is with you for the long haul. Dr. Attwood's book and words of wisdom help lighten the load.

    I have bought several copies of this book and have kept one for myself and gave the others to professionals in dire need of it. This book deserves a place of high honor and no parent; professional; person on the spectrum; anybody involved with a person/people on the spectrum should go without this book.

    I was delighted to see a section devoted to intersensory marriage, that is of a neurotypical (NT) person to somebody on the a/A continuum. I would like to see more coverage of this much needed topic as AS presents a wide array of social challenges. Still, it is heartwarming; uplifting and encouraging to see more information devoted to intersensory marriages.

    I agree with other reviewers who say Dr. Attwood is the best - I think we should propose a toast and raise our glasses to Dr. Attwood!
    ...more info
  • Insightful
    This book gives insight into the world of a person living with Asperger's as well as means of support for the parent. It also addresses the complicated educational issues that can arise. ...more info
  • Awesome Book!!!
    This book is awesome!!! A friend told me about it and encouraged me to order it. We suspect my eight year old has asperger's. I needed a book to help me understand asperger's more. This book really lived up to its name. It has been so helpful to me. I encourage parents to order this book if you want to learn more about asperger's....more info
  • Kind and encouraging
    With kind and thoughtful words, Tony Attwood has removed an unbearable burden from my heart. My son aged 32, was recently diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. Mr. Attwood's book cannot retrieve or relieve my son's childhood, but he does help us see a brighter future. ...more info
  • A thoughtful, compassionate, accessible snapshot
    This book is considerably different from Attwood's 1998 book, in that it's more addressed to the general public, and has much more material about adult Aspies. A great many scholarly papers and books have been distilled to make up a good portion of the material. There is a great deal of encouraging material about materials developed to help Aspies navigate society, such as the Social Stories and Comic Strip Conversations of Carol Gray, and the Interactive Guide to Emotions by Simon Baron-Cohen and his associates. Another stream of material is from the autobiographies of Aspies such as Liane Halliday Willie, Temple Grandin, Stephen Shore, Luke Jackson and Nita Jackson. It's great to have a human face on the phenomenon of AS.

    There seems to be a running thread through the book that sensory sensitivity is a bigger deal for Aspies than previously considered. When I read the chapter on sensory sensitivity, I recalled autism books that suggested autism was a response to body chemistry equivalent to a non-stop drug trip. I grasped that the sensory sensitivity that Aspies feel is a milder version of what autistic people feel. I don't know if that's true, but that's what I grasped.

    This book has a few chapters near the end dealing specifically with adult Aspies, chapters on career prospects and long-term relationships. This is a welcome addition.

    This will be a good first book for some time to come for anyone with an Aspie in their life. It's not the last book, but it isn't really meant to be the last book. It's meant to be the State of the Aspie Union address for 2007. The message of the book is "We know more about AS than ever before. We know more about what works for Aspie kids than ever before. With a little help, Aspies can get along with society, leverage their talents and interests, and work around their weaknesses."

    ...more info
  • Helpful
    This book is very helpful and informative. I didn't know much about AS previously. The author has extensive clinical experience with AS patients. He includes his own insights as well as those of other people. He includes many descriptions and examples. I am only half way through the book, but I am recognizing many symptoms in my teenage daughter. It explains alot! Even things I would not have connected with AS. This book is not negative in any way. I feel very good about who my daughter is, and understand better why she is the way she is. AS people are very special and gifted. AS people can contribute to the world in ways the rest of us cannot. This book also has some "coping" suggestions, such as how to help the AS person recognize social cues. I would recommend this book to anyone curious about Aspergers Syndrome. ...more info
  • A 'must' for any serious health reference collection.
    Usually books on Asperger's Syndrome address the diagnosis and options for children: The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome broadens the field, using case studies and personal accounts from the author's own clinical experience to cover both adults and children, and all symptoms of the syndrome. From causes and diagnosis to differences in social interactions, perception, and mental health issues, The Complete Guide goes far beyond the usual Asperger's approach and is a 'must' for any serious health reference collection....more info
  • Hopeful, positive, authoritative, covers language more than most
    I highly recommend this book. I've read a lot of books and articles over the last 5 years. Tony Atwood's respect and understanding comes through as he writes clearly and easily about a complex subject. Strengths and contributions from people with AS are highlighted. I was surprised when he described our son's language difficulties very closely, no one else has, and makes the point that language differences should be included in the DSM-IV which is often misleading on that score. Having so much info gathered into one source by a recognized authority made it easy to refer to certain points during our son's IEP planning meeting and at least one of his teachers was very happy to borrow it, others already owned it. I especially liked the insightful quotes from individuals with Asperger's in each chapter. I wish even more had been included....more info
  • Excellent Reading
    It has now been several months since reading Tony Attwood's excellent book and I have pulled it out to read again. It provides invaluable insights into myself and many people that I know.

    Tony's light-hearted approach keeps it readable. As he says, he has discovered a means of removing almost all of the symptoms of Asperger's from a person. Simply put that person in a room, by themselves, alone. The symptoms have now disappeared.

    When it comes time to understand what happens when other people are in the room with someone who has Asperger's Syndrome, then read this book.

    Mike Mazzetti
    ...more info
  • book review
    I haven't finished reading this book but so far so good and everything was fine with the delivery and quality of the book....more info


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