Bakan M. B. (2018). Speaking for ourselves: Conversations on life, music, and autism. Oxford University Press.
During my Master's degree in autism and developmental disabilities, I read this book to further broaden my horizons and knowledge in one of my main areas of focus and passion — music and autism. In contrast to the extensive and rich clinical and research literature on the prominent role that music plays in ASD, most of which has been observed and researched by people that are not diagnosed with autism, this book brings a new perspective on the importance of music in the lives of individuals with autism directly from these people who account for how they themselves experience music.
The book presents deep conversations with ten different individuals who share two basic things in common: an autism spectrum diagnosis, and a life in which music plays a central role. These conversations offer profound insights from different perspectives into the experience of music in the context of autism and the context of life in general and the human experience we all share.
This book had a tremendous impact on me as a proffesional behaviour intervintionist (and a musician) who uses music as a tool to increase social communication skills and improve the emotional well-being, self-expression, self-confidence, and overall quality of life of children with autism. Essentially, it inspired me to see music as a truly helpful tool that alleviates some of the difficulties individuals with autism face in social interaction, learning, and other daily activities. Moreover, it highlighted the power of music not only as a tool that improves skills and behaviours, but as a medium through which we can see individuals with autism as real human beings with creativity, ability, imaginative capacity, social engagement, and all the different kinds of things that we appreciate about our humanness.