The Amazingly Simple Way to Understand Autism

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates’ loot on Treasure Island. ~Walt Disney


You think you know a group of people.  Until you meet them.

Last week I was listening to one of my favorite radio shows, Snap Judgment.  In one particular episode, Darryl Davis told his story of how, as an African-American boogie-woogie pianist, he introduced himself to the Ku Klux Clan.  As these clan members became friends with Darryl Davis, they slowly changed their opinions about race, until one by one they dropped out of the clan!

If, as a “neurotypical” person,  you think you understand autism, you may want to think again.  And even if you’re autistic, you may want to learn more about your community .

Learn about autism from #Aspergers #autism authors

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Autism Books by Autism Authors

Twirling Naked In the Streets and No One Noticed, by Jeanne-Davide Rivera.

Jeannie Davide-Rivera is an award-winning author (Twirling Naked in the Streets and No One Noticed; Growing Up with Undiagnosed Autism), the autism category expert writer for, a writer for Autism Parenting Magazine, The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, and a professional blogger with Asperger’s Syndrome. Growing up with undiagnosed autism, and now raising three ASD children gives her a unique inside look at the world of those living with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Jeannie lives in South Carolina with her husband and four sons.

Find her on Facebook or, on her website –, or on Twitter – @AspieWriter



Look Me In the Eye, by John Elder Robison

John kept me reading from the first page.  He’s a wildly entertaining writer, but also very honest about the painful difficulties he’s faced growing up.  He wasn’t diagnosed until his early 40’s, and I learned a lot from reading how he came to grips with his diagnosis.  Since then, he’s become a tireless spokesperson for the autism community.

Here’s his autobiography from –
John Elder Robison is a free range Aspergian male who grew up in the 1960s before the Asperger diagnosis came into common use. After dropping out of high school, John worked in the music business where he created sound effects and electronic devices, including the signature illuminated, smoking, and rocket firing guitars he built for KISS. Later John worked on some of the first video games and talking toys at Milton Bradley. After a ten year career in electronics John founded Robison Service, a specialty automobile company in Springfield, Massachusetts. 

Robison Service grew to be one of the largest independent restoration and service specialists for BMW, Bentley, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes, and Rolls Royce cars. The company has become one of the top-ranked Bosch Car Service centers in North America.

However, that wasn’t enough. John wanted to do more; to find a way to give something back to other misfit kids who struggle to find their way in the world. Inspired by the reception of his brother’s book Running With Scissors, John began speaking to groups of young people, and a year or two later, he decided to write a book. That book, Look Me in the Eye, was an instant bestseller.

John was launched on a new career, in addition to his successful car company.

When he’s not at Robison Service, John now serves as an adjunct faculty in the department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts. He has served as a panel member for the Institute for Autism Research, The Centers for Disease Control, The National Institutes of Mental Health and Autism Speaks. John is involved in TMS autism research at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and serves on the advisory board for Mass General Hospital’s YouthCare program. 

John is very active in his efforts to support and promote research leading to therapies or treatments that will improve the lives of people who live with autism in all its forms today. John is widely known as an advocate for people with autism and neurological differences.
Find John on the web: – the car company – John’s personal site – John’s blog
JohnElderRobison – on Facebook
@johnrobison – on Twitter



Pretending to Be Normal: Living with Asperger Syndrome, by Lianne Holliday Willey

Lianne introduced me to Aspergers years before I seriously considered specializing in the field.  She mesmerized me with her writing.

Here’s a book summary from

Pretending to be Normal tells the story of a woman who, after years of self-doubt and self-denial, learned to embrace her Asperger’s syndrome traits with thanksgiving and joy. Chronicling her life from her earliest memories through her life as a university lecturer, writer, wife and mother, Liane Holliday Willey shares, with insight and warmth, the daily struggles and challenges that face many of those who have Asperger’s Syndrome. Pretending to be Normal invites its readers to welcome the Asperger community with open acceptance, for it makes it clear that, more often than not, they are capable, viable, interesting and kind people who simply find unique ways to exhibit those qualities.The last part of the book consists of a series of substantial appendices which provide helpful coping strategies and guidance, based on the author’s own experience, for a range of situations. This positive and humane book will provide not only insight into the Asperger world which will prove invaluable for the professionals who work with people with Asperger’s Syndrome, but also hope and encouragement for other people with Asperger’s Syndrome, their families, and their friends.

You can get in touch with Lianne via her website.



Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate, by Cynthia Kim.  

This book’s on my 2015 Wish List.  I havent’ read it yet, but I regularly read and learn from Cynthia Kim, at her blog, Musings of an Aspie.  

Here’s the Amazon summary of her book –
Cynthia Kim shares all the quirkiness of living with Asperger Syndrome (ASD) in this accessible, witty and honest guide. From being labelled nerdy and shy as an undiagnosed child to redefining herself when diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome as an adult, she describes how her perspective shifted to understanding a previously largely incomprehensible world and combines this with extensive research to explore the ‘why’ of ASD traits. She explains how they impact on everything from self-care to holding down a job and offers typically practical and creative strategies to help manage them including a section on the benefits of martial arts for people with ASD. Packed full of personal anecdotes and useful advice, this humorous, insider guide will be of immeasurable value to recently diagnosed autistic adults and their partners and family members, carers and mental health professionals working with people with autism, and anyone exploring whether they may be on the spectrum.
Cynthia Kim’s website – Musings of an Aspie (
Cynthia on Twitter – aspiemusings
Cynthia on Facebook

Better Understand Autism by Reading These Autism Books

Reading autobiographies will help you see into these authors’ lives to better understand what living with autism is like.  In learning about their lives, you’ll learn more about yourself, as well as ways to cope with difficult times.  You can see the world in new ways, and those authors can become mentors, via their writing and even on the internet!

I hope you enjoy these books!  Who are some of your favorite Aspergian/autistic authors?  Please recommend them below!

photo credit: royalconstantinesociety via photopin cc

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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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