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The Autistic Brain

Thinking Across the Spectrum by Temple Grandin and Richard Panek

12:22pm, August 9, 2013

For one little girl profiled in Grandin’s latest book, putting on pink sunglasses makes shopping trips tolerable. Like many with autism, she finds stores visually overwhelming: Shining lights appear to shoot streams of sparks, and words on signs jiggle. Tinted lenses can quell the sensory overload.

The lens trick is one of many that Grandin highlights in this review of autism science, an exhaustive survey that delves into her theories about the disorder. Grandin, an animal biologist famous for improving livestock handling, might be the most well-known autistic person in the United States. Together with science writer Richard Panek, she suggests that sensory problems may set off autistic behaviors. These problems vary: Some people with autism can’t stand the sound of hand dryers in public restrooms; others hate the feel of wet newsprint. Grandin builds a

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