Mental Health Training

Book Review: ‘Strength not Deficit’ Reviewed by Dawn Mills

Posted by on 3 Mar, 2024 in Mental Health |

Book Review: ‘Strength not Deficit’ Reviewed by Dawn Mills

Like Jane McNeice, I too discovered myself as Autistic in 2021. I did what Autistic people do; became obsessed with the stories of my late identified neurokin, especially the women, and the academic research behind our differences. Jane’s was a story I identified with closely, helped me feel less alone and strengthened my resolve to do my little bit to help find other ‘lost girls’ too.

Jane’s new book extends beyond the journey toward identification as autistic; giving us a guided tour of her autistic mind and demonstrates its potential; it’s challenges in dealing with a world that doesn’t think or process like us, and how these differences have converse strengths able to gift to that world fresh insight, honesty, empathy and determination. I nodded in agreement and recognition of myself in almost every sentence.

Many an autistic person will find validation of themselves in this book as they did in The Umbrella Picker, but there are other audiences I more fervently pray this book will reach. Mental health, social care professionals, who still think of Autism purely as a ‘disorder’, a ‘deficit’; something to be lamented or “challenging”. But what happens when our Autism is actually our backbone and the very reason we succeed and remain in the shadows? This book is also an absolute must for employers concerned about neurodiversity in their work force. Jane will show you through her own example what drives us, what we can do and how we do it.

What Jane gifts the Autistic Community most here are the fresh ideas about how we think about Autism laced through every chapter; her own pattern spotting and professional experience pointing the way forward to many areas where we need to extend our research and understanding. Now, just how many ‘lost girls’ are there, hidden in plain sight by their own success? And how are they coping?