The Spectrum Explained: 7 Autism Books For Your Child

Easily Affirm Your Autistic Kids With These Books

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

autism books

The autism spectrum: wonderful, mysterious, exasperating, polarizing.

It’s wonderful, because it’s a reflection of neurological diversity.

It’s mysterious, because there’s still so much science and research does not know.

It’s exasperating – because society often stigmatizes and makes false assumptions about autistics.

It’s polarizing: there are those who believe autism should be cured (I strongly disagree), and there are those who believe it should be championed as a group of people with rights, just like you and me.

As a parent or teacher, you can empower your child/friend with these 7 autism books.

And I’ve included some free resources as well.

Before we start, it’s most important, as parents, teachers, therapists, and friends, to look at our own knowledge of and attitudes about autism.

Please read About Autism (free article) from the Autism Self Advocacy Network for a simple, honoring explanation about autism.

7 Autism Books

Thank you to Autism Explained for suggesting the following books

Autism Is… ,

by Ymkje Wideman-van der Laan.

This book explains autism in a very general way, with plenty of pictures. It’s targeted for younger children who learn best from picture books. The grandmother in the story explains autism to her autistic grandson in a general way that builds self-esteem.

Autistic Planet

by Jennifer Elder.

Ms. Elder writes about a magical world where all trains run exactly to time, where people working in offices have rocking chairs, and where all kids dream of winning the chess World Cup.

In this alternative reality, being different is ordinary, and being “typical” is unheard of!

This book can help your child talk to you about what it’s like to be different in a non-autistic world, and can also be a way to help non-autistic kids understand the challenge of being autistic in a non-autistic society.

Can I Tell You About Autism?

by Jane Telford.

Tom, a young boy with autism, explains what autism is like. He helps them understand what it is, as well as challenges like sensory overload, social communication, and changes in routine.

The first half of the book explains autism to children. The second half of the book targets parents, explaining ways for them to best support their child.

Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes

Here’s a summary from the Amazon page:

Different Like Me introduces children aged 8 to 12 years to famous, inspirational figures from the world of science, art, math, literature, philosophy and comedy.

Eight-year-old Quinn, a young boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, tells young readers about the achievements and characteristics of his autism heroes, from Albert Einstein, Dian Fossey and Wassily Kandinsky to Lewis Carroll, Benjamin Banneker and Julia Bowman Robinson, among others. All excel in different fields, but are united by the fact that they often found it difficult to fit in-just like Quinn.

While it’s hard to diagnose autism from historical figures, this book points out the most important point: these people who were “different” have changed the world for the better.

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year Old Boy with Autism

by Naoki Higashida.

I believe it’s imperative for autistic kids to hear from peers on the spectrum.

Naoki is a non-verbal autistic teen who’s answered questions about what it’s like to live with autism.

From the Amazon Page:

You’ve never read a book like The Reason I Jump. Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, it is a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Parents and family members who never thought they could get inside the head of their autistic loved one at last have a way to break through to the curious, subtle, and complex life within.

Aspergers, The Universe, and Everything

by Kenneth Hall.

Kenneth Hall, a young man with Aspergers, talks about his experience of living with autism. It’s another autobiography that will encourage and inspire your child.

Here’s a summary from

Kenneth Hall was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of eight. His early school years had been difficult, as although he is bright and articulate, his behavior could be challenging and easily misread. After his diagnosis, the Local Education Board intervened and provided him with a laptop computer, to encourage him to express himself. This book is the result. Kenneth is in a unique position to describe some of the inner experiences and perceptions of autism in childhood. He has a warm and positive attitude to Asperger’s Syndrome which other children will find inspiring. Insights, struggles and joys are recounted vividly in a frank and humorous way. His book is for anyone interested in understanding more about autism, including parents, siblings, teachers and professionals.

I Am AspienGirl: The Unique Characteristics, Traits, and Gifts of Females on the Autism Spectrum

by Tania Marshall.

Tania Marshall, an Australian psychologist serving Aspergian/autistic women, writes:

Many individuals have expressed an interest in a book such as this; from the individuals themselves to carers, parents, school personnel to professionals.This book was written for three kinds of readers. First, I wrote this book for young females and teens, who themselves may identify with some or all of the characteristics; who may be self-diagnosed or formally diagnosed. Second, the book is for those that support young females on the Spectrum; their family members, their carers, teachers or friends; and thirdly, for professionals (teachers, preschool staff, school counselors, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, pediatricians), to become more familiar with the common, and at times subtle, presentations and to possibly aid in screening and better diagnostic processes.

I wrote this book to help spread awareness of this unique set of personality traits, preferences,
characteristics, strengths and challenges, what is know as the female phenotype pr female profile.

Affirming Video: Autism Explained, by Sesame Street

A Call To Action:

  1. Educate your child early and often about being autistic.
  2. Buy the books above and read them with your child.
  3. Here are a couple of free resources I recommend. They’re written by autistics for autistics.
  4. Adolescent Version explaining autism to the teenager. “Welcome to the Autistic Community”
  5. If you’re an adult on the spectrum, check out the Adult Version of “Welcome to the Autistic Community”
  6. Comment below on other favorite resources I may not have covered.

photo credit: Mikhail Pavstyuk

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I'm Steve Borgman. I'm a licensed clinical professional counselor and blogger committed to bringing you hope, understanding, and solutions that you can apply to your life immediately.

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