The Batavian correspondent Daniel Crofts’ new book, “The Myth of Autism: Autism as a Story of our Time” actually started out as a school project before its recent publication.
“Because it was a master’s thesis, there was a set timeline that forced me to really buckle down on it,” Crofts says. “That doesn’t mean I had to rush it or anything — I had a lot of time to focus on the project and to write it with care, and I’m very satisfied with the end result.”
Written over a seven-month period, the book, according to Crofts, examines autism as an important part of the history and development of modern society.
“If we want to understand autism, we can’t look at it in isolation,” he says. “We have to try to look at it in relation to modern Western culture as a whole.
Phenomenology served as Crofts’s main inspiration for the book. It is a field of philosophy (combined with psychology and the arts/humanities) that looks at given conditions in relation to living experience rather than scientific theories.
“I’ve found myself having a lot of compassion for autistic children and their families and wanting to help them in some way,” Crofts says. “The thing is, that help normally comes from a scientific angle, but I’ve always been much more humanities-oriented.
"When I first started reading on the subject [of phenomenology], I got to thinking how prominent autism is in our time and how this type of psychology could easily be applied to it.”
Crofts believes that his book does more to offer suggestions for how society can interact with the humanity of autistic individuals, rather than find a cure for them.
“As far as the message goes, we should make an effort to see autism as a phenomenon that is trying to tell us something about ourselves as individuals and as a culture,” he says.
“Instead of focusing on trying to ‘fix’ autistic children or objectifying them as mere subjects for study, we as a society should engage with them in a way that is mutually beneficial and transformative.
"My hope is that parents, teachers, therapists, and other professionals are inspired by the understanding of autism that I try to offer.”
“The Myth of Autism: Autism as a Story of our Time” can be ordered on Amazon through this link: