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Ratings and Book Reviews (4 20 star ratings
4 reviews

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4.3 out of 5
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  • 4 person found this review helpful

    4 people found this review helpful

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    Informative but hard to read

    tled Autism in Heels: the untold story of a female life on the spectrum by Jennifer Cook O'Toole. O'Toole is the bestselling author of the Asperkids series of books, a motivational speaker along the likes of Tony Attwood, and is described as "one of autism's most prominent figures." O'Toole certainly knows her stuff: not only are her husband and all 3 children on the spectrum, but she herself was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome when she was 35 years old. She says that was when her "real life began." I learned a lot from this book. I learned that in the not-so-distant past, Autism assessment screening tools were often gender-biased towards males. Girls often had to present more obvious characteristics to even be noticed, and experts believed autistic girls had "more severe symptoms and more significant intellectual disabilities." I also learned that girls with autism are more prone to eating disorders, inflicting self-harm, and to be victims of abuse. Another thing I learned was that people with autism can feel overwhelming compassion and empathy for others, to the point that it literally hurts them to see someone or something else hurting. I encourage you to explore the many other things I learned for yourself by reading the book. I have to say, however, that I found this book difficult to read. O'Toole suffered through a lot of bullying and mental, physical, and sexual abuse in her life before her diagnosis. There are even content warnings for a couple of chapters later in the book. These can be difficult topics to read about anyway, but to discover the author thought her mistreatment was deserved or her fault? Heartbreaking. It is also hard to read about how hard she has tried her whole life to make friends and feel accepted. O'Toole has a huge list of accomplishments, but, at times, I felt as though she was still seeking this acceptance and acknowledgement from me as a reader. O'Toole confesses to having a "jumpy thinking style." I often found her writing style to be repetitive or fragmented. I could not read more than a few pages at a time before stopping for a while, but I refused to give up because of all the valuable bits of information I learned. I do not want to discourage you from reading this book, however, as others have stated they could not put it down.
  • 3 person found this review helpful

    3 people found this review helpful

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    Amazing and insightful

    I absolutely loved this book. The title caught my attention when I saw it on BookBub. I have taught swimming on and off since I was a tenager. I have worked with enough kids to very simply recognize when someone is just different, even when parents haven't eluded to anything. I am not an expert by any means. Just a practiced observer. I was curious about Jennifer's take on the topic of autism and really wanted to know why she wasn't diagnosed til adulthood. I thought her story would be interesting. It was and is much much more! I was entertained as well as educated. I could go on for much longer praising this book and it's author but.....Just read it!
  • 2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

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    A Must Read

    An insightful look at the Autism Spectrum and the unique experience of girls and women. A must read for parents, educators, those in healthcare, really for everyone who interacts with others!
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    A Guide to Understanding Me

    My mom told me about Autism in Heels, calling it the "understanding Eric handbook" (I’m non-binary trans, assigned female, so this actually tracks), and she’s not wrong. While my own use of language around gender and autism versus Asperger’s may differ (I came into my own sense of being autistic and subsequent diagnosis after the DSM-V came out, and so had already conceived of "Asperger’s" as being an obsolete term while recognizing its importance to those who had been initially diagnosed under it), I found a lot of myself in this book. I recognized myself in these pages and would recommend it to anyone seeking to understand their autistic loved ones, especially girls, women, and those assigned female, like me.

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