by Tony Attwood, Temple Grandin, Teresa Bolick, Catherine Faherty, Lisa Iland, Jennifer McIlwee Myers, Ruth Snyder, Sheila Wagner, and Mary Wrobel; Arlington, Texas, Future Horizons, 2006, 152 pages, $19.95 softcover
Dr. Fisher is affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Memorial Health Care, Worcester.
This book is a compilation of nine chapters by nine authors, each written on a different aspect of Asperger's disorder as it relates to girls. Some of the chapters are by scholars who write about the differences in presentation and evolution of Asperger's among girls compared with boys, the social challenges unique to females with Asperger's, the failure of many school systems to recognize Asperger's among girls or their unique educational needs, issues around puberty and menstruation, and the challenges of helping a daughter with Asperger's when she leaves home. The authors are wise. They are scholarly. They are sometimes boring.
Other chapters are written by "real-world" authors giving "real-world" accounts, and, for my money, I liked them better. Jennifer McIlwee Myers, a self-confessed "Aspie," gives a cogent yet hilarious discussion of how to choose a husband that would do any woman proud; it's good reading for everyone of dating age. She competes as the star of this show with Lisa Iland, a devoted sister and friend of persons with Asperger's, who gives a coherent explanation of social interactions in high school that rivals the best in print. This chapter alone makes the book worth reading, and it is not just for people "on the spectrum." Temple Grandin and Ruth Snyder round it out with personal accounts of career and family.
In sum, Asperger's and Girls is fairly light reading for the professional who works with children with Asperger's, but it has enough nuggets to justify the price. For families, however, this is an excellent resource, well written and enjoyable, with both hope and sound advice.