When we last created a list of must-have book recommendations for parents of children on the spectrum (see the original list here), you commented with so many other great books, that we had to make a new list!
We didn’t want to leave any books out that could potentially be helpful to parents of children on the spectrum, people with autism, and those wanting to understand more about the autism spectrum and Asperger’s Syndrome in general.
Not all of these books will be helpful to every person, and we understand that books discussing autism are dealing with a sensitive subject. We’ve tried to include books that had more positive feedback than negative, and we’ve also endeavored to openly share possible drawbacks of each book. Of course, if you have a book you’ve found helpful, please let us know!
Here are 6 books (plus one for kids!) we think you’ll find helpful:
1. Autism & The Rest of Us
by Jeanne Beard
This book was written by the mother of a boy with Aspberger’s Syndrome for “the rest of us,” as in those not on the spectrum. Her book is designed to help people living with and caring for people on the spectrum. Reviewers appreciated Beard’s ability to explain ASD in a readable, relatable manner while still providing good, applicable information. One Amazon reviewer notes, “This is NOT a ‘poor me’ book…but rather one that shares information, tips, and generous, heartfelt shares about the reality of living with ASD.”
This looks like a great book for someone who wants to support the autism community, and it promises to offer emotional relief and strategies for understanding frustrating situations. However, none of the positive reviews seem to be actual parents of children on the spectrum, so this book may be best for those wanting more understanding, but not for those who already have a working knowledge of autism behaviors.
2. The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a 13-Year-Old Boy With Autism
by Naoki Higashida
This small book is written in question-and-answer format and addresses questions like “Why Do You Like Spinning?” Reviewers have appreciated the opportunity to see autism through the eyes of someone who experiences it. When asked about why he jumps, Higashida says, “The motion makes me want to change into a bird and fly off to some faraway place. But constrained by ourselves and by the people around us, all we can do is tweet-tweet, flap our wings and hop around in a cage.”
Higashida wrote the book by painstakingly pressing letters on a special keyboard. His words are heartfelt, insightful, somewhat enigmatical (at least to neurotypicals).
Critics of the book worry that the the process of translation and then editing with “stylistic icing” have made the book disingenuous. One New York Times reviewer cautions parents who are eager for insight into the child’s thinking process to “be careful about turning what we find into what we want.”
Overall, The Reason I Jump has received excellent reviews; Jon Stewart called it, “One of the most remarkable books I think I’ve ever read.”