In The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships, both Temple Grandin and Sean Barron discuss their distinctly different journeys from childhoods of severe autism to both attaining what they, and society, would consider a successful adulthood. The reason for this book is to provide assistance to parents, carers, teachers and others to cope with, understand, and assist autistic children so they, in turn, can live productive and independent lives.

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The book is structured with first Temple then Sean describing their lives, it continues with the ten rules that they both feel need to be addressed to help autistic people to cope with social situations and summarizes how growing up and their own individual circumstances affected their abilities to obtain good jobs, live independently and have social relationships. It is written with authority yet easily readable as it is not just filled with facts and figures but with real life situations, for example when discussing that rules themselves are not absolute, both Temple and Sean provide information from their own viewpoint, growing up Temple dealt with her autism from a logical perspective and Sean dealt with situations from an emotionally based perspective. So, in a sense, the reader has the ability to see from the inside out the situations and how best to understand and manage the circumstances.

The book successfully conveys the challenges and coping mechanisms of different autistic children, the personal, and very different, viewpoints are described and then examined in similar circumstances, through the expected social rules of society.

To conclude, each story is told in an interesting and readable manner, and structured in a way that not only provides an insight into the autistic child but offers real and definable methods to give a child an easier growing-up life as well as the opportunity and hope for a fulfilling achievable, and enjoyable adult life.

  • Grandin, T., & Barron, S. (2005). The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships (V. Zysk, Ed.). Arlington,, TX: Future Horizons.