ELIJAH'S CUP: A Family's Journey into the Culture and Community of High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's Syndrome

Valerie Paradiz, Author . Free Press $25 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7432-0445-3

This expressive and deeply felt memoir explores how the diagnosis of the author's son, Elijah, with Asperger's syndrome (a high-functioning autism) changed her life. As a young child, Elijah had delays in language and motor skills, and also suffered seizures. Paradiz, an assistant professor of German studies at Bard College, details the subsequent dissolution of her marriage (although she and her ex-husband are now friends) and her own depression, events triggered by the problems of coping with Elijah's needs. After Paradiz hired a babysitter with Asperger's syndrome and read several accounts written by people diagnosed as autistic, she understood that her son was a visual rather than a verbal thinker. (According to the author, Albert Einstein and Andy Warhol both had Asperger's syndrome.) This realization led her to provide Elijah with the repetitive activities he needed to enjoy his life. She describes their time together at Autreat, a camp for autistics that emphasizes self-advocacy, an idea that has been rejected by more traditional parents and teachers, who believe that autistics cannot know their needs. This is a moving personal story that highlights a new way of thinking about people diagnosed as autistic. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/18/2002
Release date: 03/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-4165-6776-9
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-84310-802-3
Show other formats
Discover what to read next