An autistic journalist uses his own life as a springboard to discuss the social and policy gaps that exist in supporting those on the spectrum. From education to healthcare, he explores how autistic people wrestle with systems that were not built with them in mind.
... [an] outstanding book ... As an autistic mother of autistic children, I couldn’t agree more with the main argument of Garcia’s book ... Garcia’s book uses rich storytelling and insightful reporting to uncover not only the long history of how autistic people have been mistreated but also how they continue to be ignored ... My main critique of his book is the lack of rigorous reporting or discussion of treatments for autism, especially alternatives to ABA. The call to change the autism conversation about health care should investigate in depth the issues that have divided many autistic people and caretakers of autistic people, in hopes of finding common ground ... exactly the book we need to lead the way in changing the autism conversation. It belongs on the shelf...as essential reading on autism and neurodiversity.
Garcia approaches his subjects with the bias of earned expertise. Even when he’s covering intersections outside of his own experience, he lends credence and platform to the voices and experiences of autistic people—particularly autistic adults, who are massively underrepresented in research on and coverage of autism ... These and many of the other concepts Garcia introduces will be familiar ground to any readers conversant with the language of the disability rights movement. That, in fact, is where Garcia’s perspective stands out most: We’re Not Broken is a book not about autism, but about autistic people. Garcia’s perspective is firmly grounded in the social model of disability ... The one area in which Garcia’s careful reporting breaks down his is handling of the LGBTQ+ autistic community in general and gender identities in particular. There, despite clearly good intentions and prescient insight, his language lags noticeably behind the current standard. This, as well as my other reservations about the book—occasional disorganization and tangents long enough to distract from the chapters they occupy—are more editorial issues than authorial ones.
Although he documents his sources clearly, there are sure to be readers who disagree with some of his arguments. Given that the issue is such a 'battleground,' that’s to be expected. A well-researched survey of autism that will spark debates among autistic people and their allies.