“The book you don’t read won’t help.”
Do you sometimes struggle knowing what books to read next? I typed “autism books” into my Amazon search bar, and came up with 16,678 books!
Do you sometimes struggle with the question, “Why Read?” I mean, there are so many other ways to learn about autism and other subjects – TV, blogs, YouTube, or a SmartPhone.
I have two goals in this article:
First, I’ll share some benefits of regular reading, to encourage you to pursue a regular reading plan in 2015.
Second, I’ll share some favorite autism books that my social network people on Google Plus, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Wrong Planet shared with me.
Benefits of Reading (Autism) Books
Reading Books Help Us Know We Are Not Alone.
Each author is so different, but their struggles and victories can be very like ours. I remember when I read a book about a child of missionaries who, as an adult, struggled with the grief and loss of growing up apart from her parents at a boarding school. As I read about some of her honest theological questions about God and Christianity, I felt healed, since I had grappled with some of these same questions.
You’re not alone either, whether you are a parent, spouse, or child. Whether you have autism or not.
Parents reading books by other parents of children with autism will receive comfort as they connect with other parents’ stories.
And the same goes for spouses and children.
Reading Books Increases Our Empathy.
Empathy, according to Google, is “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”
I prefer Dictionary.Com’s definition, though:
I like this definition because I believe is being able to experience the world as another person might experience it.
Reading books by autistic or Aspergian writers, for me, immerses me in understanding my own neurotypical prejudices, and their particular giftings and frustrations.
I learned from Temple Grandin about her tendency to think in pictures.
I learned from John Elder Robison how difficult or near impossible it is to look someone in the eye.
Reading Books Give Us Ideas for Living.
I recently listened to a podcast called Eventual Millionaire. On it, one of the guests talked about one of the most common characteristics of millionaires: they are avid, regular readers. They thirst for knowledge, and devour it.
In the same way, I read autism books to deepen my knowledge of what living with autism is like, how to better empathize with my son (who’s on the spectrum), and how to better serve my counseling clients, and you, my readers.
Do you read blogs and autism books to deepen your understanding and empathy for yourself and others? Begin today
Reading Books Reduces Our Stress.
Here’s a quote from Reader’s Digest’s slide show, “The Benefits of Reading.”
Snuggling up with a good read tamps down levels of unhealthy stress hormones such as cortisol, Weight Watchers recently reported. In a British study, participants engaged in an anxiety-provoking activity and then either read for a few minutes, listened to music, or played video games. The stress levels of those who read dropped 67 percent, which was a more significant dip than that of the other groups.
Favorite Autism Books: As Suggested By My Social Network
People from my social networks (most of them on the autism spectrum) on Google Plus, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Wrong Planet recommended the following books (in no particular order).
I asked them, “What are some of your favorite autism books, and Why are they your favorite.”
A Field Guide to Earthlings: An Autistic/Asperger View of Neurotypical Behavior, by Ian Ford.
Most books only explain what autism is but how am i supposed to understand it when they don’t explain what neurotypical is –
This book explains both neurotypical and autistic…
I, for one, think the concept behind this book is really useful, and I’m looking forward to reading it in 2015.
The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism, byNaoki Higashida
A boy with severe autism explains how being him is, and the book helps me to understand better what it’s like to have severe autism.
Different . . . Not Less: Inspiring Stories of Achievement and Successful Employment from Adults with Autism, Asperger’s, and ADHD, by Temple Grandin
…the book explains the lives of the people who are on the autism spectrum and tell what it is like to live and have it.
Autism and the Edges of the Known World: Sensitivities, Language, and Constructed Reality, by Olga Bogdashina
The person who suggested this book says,
I attended a conference with Olga, an insightful woman with an alternative view of autism/AS. And Olga has a great sense of humor too.
Thanks to that contributor, here is a link to one of Olga’s articles in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, The Beautiful Otherness of the Autistic Mind.
Nobody Nowhere: The Extraordinary Autobiography of an Autistic, by Donna Williams
Here’s one of the summaries from a reader on Amazon.com:
Donna Williams’ Nobody Nowhere is the Rosetta stone of autism. The author is an autistic herself, and her autobiography gives you a very good idea of what it would be like to be in her skin. She gives plausible explanations for common autistic behaviors, and offers some fascinating hypotheses for causes and contributing factors for this syndrome. And she offers advice on how to communicate with an autistic person with respect and without overwhelming them.
Parenting Girls on the Autism Spectrum: Overcoming the Challenges and Celebrating the Gifts, by Eileen Riley-Hall.
Eileen Riley-Hall is the mother of two amazing daughters who happen to be on the autism spectrum. Ms. Hall is also a high school English teacher at a large public school in upstate New York where she has taught many students on the spectrum over the past twenty years. The inspiration for her book came from watching the amazing progress her daughters have made through inclusive education, opportunities to participate in life, and lots of unconditional love. (Amazon.com author biography)
Look Me in The Eye, by John Elder Robison.
I got two enthusiastic recommendations for John’s autobiography of growing up with undiagnosed Aspergers.
I hate reading with a passion, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Look Me In the Eye, Look Me In the Eye, and Look Me In the Eye, read it if you haven’t.
Aspergirls, by Rudy Simone.
Rudy Simone writes about experiencing the world from an Aspergers woman’s point of view.
Ms. Simone interviewed many Aspergers women for this book.
Here’s a summary from Amazon.com
Rudy Simone guides you through every aspect of both personal and professional life, from early recollections of blame, guilt, and savant skills, to friendships, romance and marriage. Employment, career, rituals and routines are also covered, along with depression, meltdowns and being misunderstood. Including the reflections of over thirty-five women diagnosed as on the spectrum, as well as some partners and parents, Rudy identifies recurring struggles and areas where Aspergirls need validation, information and advice.
Here’s a video of Craig Evans interviewing Ms. Simone about her book.
Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk via Compfight cc
Over to you! What are some of your favorite Aspergers/autism books, and why?