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by Howard Buten
Bantam, 2004
Review by Dana Vigilante on Jun 13th 2006

Through the Glass Wall

The author, Howard Buten, is a psychotherapist who not only specializes in the study of autism but acts as a performance artist in Paris, a clown-mime in his spare time and is a successful novelist, with seven extremely well published, titles to his name. He has devoted the last twenty years to researching both the causes and the effects of autism, and the search for an effective treatment, so desperately needed, for this disease is the focus of Buten's life.

Written with candor, compassion and empathy, Buten spares no expense in order to educate the reader on the severity of autism, the growing number of cases in the United States as well as Europe, and the need for further research to be able to put an end to this disease.

With the seemingly unreachable and impenetrable barrier that surrounds children with autism, Buten shares with the reader his most severe case studies over the course of the last several years. Cases that other physicians and health professionals assured him were hopeless, but cases that Buten chose to take on with faith.

Buten educates the reader on the typical behavior of an autistic child: from banging their heads, biting and chewing at their skin, to manic strangeness such as tapping on a window or wall for a calculated number of seconds. Buten has handled many severe cases of autism with an insurmountable level of faith, dedication and an overriding hope that treatment is possible.

Although many of the cases, with which the reader becomes familiar, are devastating we are also rewarded by learning the exceptional, almost miraculous, outcome of several of these patients. As a matter of fact, Buten named his autism center in Paris after one such patient, who went on to do exceptionally well in life.

Because we are hearing more and more about autism today, this book is a must-read for health professionals, as well as anyone who knows someone with autism. This book is informative, sympathetic and an excellent educational tool.

 

2006 Dana Vigilante

Dana Vigilante is a hospice educator as well as an advocate for proper end-of-life care and a certified bereavement group facilitator. Currently writing a book based on interviews with terminally ill hospice patients, she divides her time between New Jersey and San Francisco.