Prisoner of one's self, incapable of communicating with others and developing new friendships, forced to live in a social world that appears empty, devoid of meaning and interest and perhaps even threatening and hostile. This is what it means for a child to be autistic. The effects of autism - a neuropsychological development disorder that usually manifests itself in the first three years of life and persists throughout adulthood - can be significantly alleviated with suitable educational programmes. The author, a major expert on autism, explains this distinctive condition of the human mind, its possible biological causes, how it's diagnosed, the cognitive and communication processes that set it apart. An important part of the text is devoted to corrective programmes that, in order to be effective, require a high degree of cooperation among parents, teachers and public health workers.
Luca Surian teaches Developmental Psychology at the University of Trieste and has conducted research at the Stella Marina Foundation in Pisa.