Autism is a complex brain disorder that often inhibits a person’s ability to communicate, respond to surroundings, and form relationships with others. About 1 in 36 children has been identified with Autism Spectrum Disorders according to estimates from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.
April used to be known as Autism Awareness Month. But in 2021, the designation changed to Autism Acceptance Month.
Christopher Banks, president and CEO of The Autism Society of America says this about the change in terminology– “Awareness is knowing that somebody has autism. Acceptance is when you include (a person with autism) in your activities. Help (them) to develop in that community and get that sense of connection to other people.”
Here are some nonfiction books and memoirs to help you become more informed on this challenging condition.
This guide to life on the autism spectrum is a must-read for autistic adults, their friends, coworkers, partners, and parents-and for anyone who wants to understand the experiences of many people they meet every day. Biel, who was diagnosed as an adult, writes about what it’s like to be autistic, joined by the bestselling Dr. Harper who speaks from her experience as a parent, friend, and therapist to autistic people. Their real talk and accessible language discusses a wide range of topics, including the diagnostic criteria for autism and how they play out in practice, what it means for autism to be a disability, and co-occurring conditions like depression and anxiety.
The Autism-Friendly Cookbook by Lydia Wilkins
A cookbook for autistic adults and teens to turn to when cooking for friends, lacking inspiration, or on those low-energy days. Recipes are categorized by meal with additional guidance on the level of energy needed to tackle them, with options for low-energy or meltdown days, or days when you’re able to take on a new challenge. They contain adaptations and options to suit different dietary needs including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free, and additional modifications for those who are sensory seekers, sensory avoiders or who want to expand their repertoire in the kitchen.
Autism In Heels : The Untold Story Of A Female Life On The Spectrum by Jennifer Cook O’Toole
Autism is usually considered a male disease; O’Toole speaks for the many females who haven’t been diagnosed. Like heart disease, autism presents differently in women and is often misdiagnosed. Women are often able to keep their anxieties well hidden. O’Toole opens the world of autism to readers in this frank memoir, enabling them to understand how complicated simple actions can be when you’re being bombarded by sensory stimuli. She talks of navigating life without a rule book, of misunderstanding social cues, and of facing bullying and abuse. O’Toole contends that autism forges connections and perspectives that aren’t available to the neurotypical. She is for acceptance, rather than impatience.
Your child has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and you are feeling overwhelmed and alone. Suddenly you need to become an expert in treatment, diet, language development, social skills, special education law, insurance and a million other things! What you’d really like to know is how to deal with Aunt Martha’s questions at the family reunion! Veteran parent Penrod hosts Autism Live, the #1 rated Autism Podcast worldwide, now she is giving you all her best resources, strategies, tips and information to help you and your child survive and thrive.
The moving, inspirational memoir of autistic actor Mickey Rowe, who pushed beyond the stereotypes and obstacles so many disabled individuals face to shine on Broadway’s biggest stage. By pushing against his supposed limitations, he not only became an actor (he landed the lead role in the play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the first time an autistic actor played an autistic character), he became a husband, a father, a theater director, and founder of the National Disability Theater. As he makes clear, it was a long and difficult road, but he was undeterred. He adopted the mantra that differences are strengths, and the book ends with a call to action for readers to be brave, to live with compassion and empathy, and to embrace their differences.
Hidden Brilliance : Unlocking The Intelligence Of Autism by Lynn Kern Koegel
Clinician, researcher, and professor Koegel, PhD, and writer LaZebnik explore the ways in which the intelligence and abilities of children and young adults with autism are often overlooked and misjudged, and share interventions to bring out their full potential.
How To Be Human : An Autistic Man’s Guide To Life by Jory Fleming
A remarkable and unforgettable memoir from the first man with autism to attend Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship, revealing what life is really like inside a world constructed for neurotypical minds while celebrating the many gifts of being different.
I Have Been Buried Under Years Of Dust : A Memoir Of Autism And Hope by Valerie Gilpeer
A remarkable memoir by a mother and her autistic daughter who’d long been unable to communicate–until a miraculous breakthrough revealed a young woman with a rich and creative interior life, a poet, who’d been trapped inside for more than two decades.
An author and educator’s pioneering approach to helping autistic students find their voices through poetry–a powerful and uplifting story that shows us how to better communicate with people on the spectrum and explores how we use language to express our seemingly limitless interior lives. Through his student’s breathtaking poems, Martin discovered what it means to be fully human. Martin introduces the techniques he uses in the classroom and celebrates an inspiring group of young autistic thinkers–Mark, Christophe, Zach, and Wallace–and their electric verse, which is as artistically dazzling as it is stereotype-shattering.
Navigating Autism : 9 Mindsets For Helping Kids On The Spectrum by Temple Grandin
Empowering strategies for anyone who works with children and teens on the spectrum. International best-selling writer and autist Grandin joins psychologist Moore in presenting nine strengths-based mindsets necessary to successfully work with young people on the autism spectrum. Examples and stories bring the approaches to life, and detailed suggestions and checklists help readers put them to practical use.
Pattern Seekers : How Autism Drives Human Invention by Simon Baron-Cohen
A thoughtful argument that creativity shares many of the same traits as autism. Psychologist Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge, begins with two case studies: a well-known genius and inventor who left home at age 16 and a genuinely brilliant man who lived with his mother into his 30s. The author participated in a large study that revealed five human brain types. About a third are mostly empathizers, a third systemizers, and a third show an equal balance between the two. At the extremes, a few percent are hyper-empathizers and hyper-systemizers, the latter dominated by geniuses and the autistic. Baron-Cohen also includes portraits of high-achieving autistics, both known (Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, and Albert Einstein) and anonymous.
A collection of essays written in the form of letters to parents. Each essay has insightful and eloquent advice by people with autism from a number of age groups, races, ethnicities, faiths, cultures, professional and life skills backgrounds, and gender identities. Because current media representations of autism have long been primarily focused on Western white men, this collection of essays from a diversity of people on the spectrum is an essential and necessary work that raises awareness and redefines normal.
Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism by Barry Prizant
Winner of the Autism Society of America’s Dr. Temple Grandin Award for the Outstanding Literary Work in Autism, a groundbreaking book on autism, by one of the world’s leading experts, who portrays autism as a unique way of being human. Instead of classifying “autistic” behaviors as signs of pathology, Dr. Prizant sees them as part of a range of strategies to cope with a world that feels chaotic and overwhelming. Rather than curb these behaviors, it’s better to enhance abilities, build on strengths, and offer supports that will lead to more desirable behavior and a better quality of life.
Unmasking Autism:Discovering The New Faces Of Neurodiversity by Devon Price
The widespread understanding of autism is based on how it has presented historically in white, male, upper-class individuals. Social psychologist Price explains how this has caused countless numbers of people to live with masked autism, a “camouflaged version” of autism which occurs in order to blend into a society based on neurotypical, ableist values. Price blends research and lived experiences, including their own, to help autists, with or without a professional diagnosis, to better understand themselves, find their community, and gain confidence. Price reviews the history of autism and how individuals from marginalized backgrounds have been ignored, maligned, or misdiagnosed.
We’re Not Broken: Changing The Autism Conversation by Eric Garcia
With a reporter’s eye and an insider’s perspective, Garcia shows what it’s like to be autistic across America. Garcia began writing about autism because he was frustrated by the media’s coverage of it; the myths that the disorder is caused by vaccines, the narrow portrayals of autistic people as white men working in Silicon Valley. Garcia realized he needed to put into writing what so many autistic people have been saying for years; autism is a part of their identity, they don’t need to be fixed. From education to healthcare, he explores how autistic people wrestle with systems that were not built with them in mind. At the same time, he shares the experiences of all types of autistic people, from those with higher support needs, to autistic people of color, to those in the LGBTQ community.
— Archana Chiplunkar, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian