Dr. Barry Prizant

UNIQUELY HUMAN: A Different Way of Seeing Autism (Simon & Schuster)

Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing AutismDr. Barry Prizant is among the world’s leading experts on autism. One of the most sought after speakers on the topic, he gives dozens of presentations annually, has presented in 49 states and 15 countries, and has served as a consultant to more than 100 school districts. He has advised Hollywood celebrities (including Sigourney Weaver as she prepared to play a woman with autism in the critically acclaimed film Snow Cake), educators, government officials and thousands of parents on how to help children with autism thrive. Virtually everyone in the field knows and admires him. That’s why GRASP–the Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership–recently gave him (and Andrew Solomon) their Divine Neurotypical Award.

What makes Dr. Prizant so compelling as a speaker and a consultant is his message that autism isn’t a collection of “symptoms,” such as repetitive movements and speech and obsessive thoughts—it’s a unique way of being human.  In UNIQUELY HUMAN, Dr. Prizant shows shows that the best way to support people with autism is by changing the way we think and act, rather than by focusing primarily on changing them.

Dr. Prizant’s co-author is Tom Fields-Meyer, a former People magazine senior writer whose memoir FOLLOWING EZRA: WHAT ONE FATHER LEARNED ABOUT GUMBY, OTTERS, AUTISM, AND LOVE FROM HIS EXTRAORDINARY SON was excerpted in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and TheAtlantic.com; featured on the New York Times parenting blog; named a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award; and chosen by About.com as the year’s best special-needs memoir.


Uniquely Human is not just the perfect title for Barry Prizant’s book, it’s also an appropriate summation of Dr. Prizant’s career. Though a clinical scholar, he is a humanist first, and always has been—a professional who is fascinated by unexamined lives that could be lived happily, yet aren’t. With every brilliant, illuminating example in his book, he steers us away from the traditional fix-it mentality and towards the beatific, personally rewarding detective work that the entire spectrum world would be well served to adopt. Thanks be to Barry for the first-ever ‘must read’ written for parents, educators, and clinicians.” — Michael John Carley, parent-professional with ASD; Founder, GRASP; author of Asperger’s From the Inside-Out

“A compassionate and insightful perspective on autism that many will find inspiring and hopeful. The book is filled with sound advice based on real world experience as well as research. Most importantly, it conveys a deep respect for persons on the autism spectrum and the qualities that make them special.”   –-Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., Director,  Center for Autism and Brain Development, Duke University School of Medicine

“Dr. Prizant explains the causes of behaviors associated with autism. I love his approach for understanding problems with sensory overload, anxiety and discomfort. He provides common sense practical advice based on a 40-year career working in the trenches with both parents and teachers.” --Temple Grandin, Ph.D., author of The Autistic Brain and The Way I See It