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Books About Autism: For Parents and Educators

Browse this list of recommended books for parents, educators, and others who work with children on the autism spectrum. Some of the books are first-person accounts about how the world looks to people on the autism spectrum, and others are written by parents, psychologists, and ASD experts about how to understand and support children and young adults on the spectrum. If you know about a great book not listed here, please contact us at: readingrockets@weta.org

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger's

By: Ellen Notbohm, Veronica Zysk
Age Level: Adult
Reading Level: Professional

You’re guaranteed to find workable solutions for your classroom in this book of 1,001 (actually 1,800) ideas for working with kids who have autism or Asperger’s. It includes sections for helping with sensory integration, ideas for supporting communication and language, tips for managing challenging behavior, ideas for teaching daily living skills, and strategies for teaching social skills. You can look through the table of contents, target the issue you need to address and find a variety of potential solutions. This book has won numerous awards and is a must-have reference tool for your classroom bookshelf.

Growing Up on the Spectrum: A Guide to Life, Love, and Learning for Teens and Young Adults with Autism and Asperger's

By: Lynn Kern Koegel, Claire LaZebnik
Age Level: Adult
Reading Level: Professional

With an estimated half a million Americans under twenty-six on the autism spectrum, this book offers the reassurance, solace, and practical solutions that so many people are searching for. Following up on their work in Overcoming Autism, which offered advice for teaching young children on the spectrum, Koegel and LaZebnik now present strategies for working with teens and young adults living with this complex condition. The book addresses universal parental concerns, from first crushes and a changing body to how to succeed in college and beyond,

Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism

By: Ron Suskind
Age Level: Adult
Reading Level: Professional

Imagine being trapped inside a Disney movie and having to learn about life mostly from animated characters dancing across a screen of color. A fantasy? A nightmare? This is the real-life story of Owen Suskind, the son of the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind and his wife, Cornelia. An autistic boy who couldn't speak for years, Owen memorized dozens of Disney movies, turned them into a language to express love and loss, kinship, brotherhood.The family was forced to become animated characters, communicating with him in Disney dialogue and song; until they all emerge, together, revealing how, in darkness, we all literally need stories to survive.

Look Me in the Eye: My Life With Asperger’s

By: John Elder Robison
Age Level: Adult
Reading Level: Professional

This New York Times best-selling memoir offers a sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking look at what it’s like to grow up with Asperger’s syndrome in a time before there was much understanding of Asperger’s or autism. The author’s stories of his childhood will offer some understanding when it comes to some of the things your students with autism might be feeling and experiencing. You might find yourself laughing as you read the author’s anecdotes about his efforts to navigate the adult world as a person with Asperger’s.

NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

By: Steve Silberman
Age Level: Adult
Reading Level: Professional

This best-selling book tells the story of Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger, the research pioneers who defined the scope of autism in profoundly different ways; and then goes on to explore the game-changing concept of neurodiversity. It considers the idea that neurological differences such as autism, dyslexia, and ADHD are not errors of nature or products of the toxic modern world, but the result of natural variations in the human genome. This groundbreaking book will reshape our understanding of the history, meaning, function, and implications of neurodiversity in our world.

Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies, and Hope That Can Transform a Child's Life

By: Lynn Kern Koegel, Claire LaZebnik
Age Level: Adult
Reading Level: Professional

Lynn Kern Koegel, the nationally recognized head of the Autism Research Center at the University of California, and Claire LaZebnik, a professional writer and the mother of a child with autism, have updated their classic guide with today’s cutting-edge research. This revised edition has also been expanded to clarify the importance of community support to affected families and the effect of societal acceptance on a child’s life.

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew

By: Ellen Notbohm, Veronica Zysk
Age Level: Adult
Reading Level: Professional

Framed with both humor and compassion, the book describes ten characteristics that help illuminate — not define — children with autism. Notbohm's personal experiences as a parent of children with autism and ADHD and a contributor to numerous publications, classrooms, and conferences coalesce to create a guide for all who come in contact with a child on the autism spectrum. This updated edition delves into expanded thought and deeper discussion of communication issues, social processing skills, and the critical roles adult perspectives play in guiding the child with autism to a meaningful, self-sufficient, productive life.

The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed

By: Temple Grandin, Richard Panek
Age Level: Adult
Reading Level: Professional

Temple Grandin may be the most famous person with autism. Weaving her own experience with remarkable new discoveries, Grandin introduces the advances in neuroimaging and genetic research that link brain science to behavior, even sharing her own brain scan to show which anomalies might explain common symptoms. She argues that raising and educating kids on the autism spectrum must focus on their long-overlooked strengths to nurture their unique contributions. Grandin discusses different ways of thinking and even includes lists of potential jobs for those people among us who think differently. An important and ultimately optimistic work.

The New Social Story Book

By: Carol Gray
Age Level: Adult
Reading Level: Professional

Since the early 90s, Gray’s world-famous Social Stories have helped thousands of children with autism spectrum disorders. This 15th Anniversary Edition of her best-selling book offers ready-to-use stories that parents and educators have depended on for years, and new sections added are: How to most effectively use and apply the stories; How to improve the lives of younger children; and Social Stories for teens and adults with autism. Developed through years of experience, these strategically written stories explain social situations in ways children and adults with autism understand, while teaching social skills needed for them to be successful at home, school, work, and in the community.

The Power of Neurodiversity: Unleashing the Advantages of Your Differently Wired Brain

By: Thomas Armstrong
Age Level: Adult
Reading Level: Professional

Psychologist and educator Armstrong illuminates a new understanding of neuropsychological disorders. He argues that if they are a part of the natural diversity of the human brain, they cannot simply be defined as illnesses. Armstrong explores the evolutionary advantages, special skills, and other positive dimensions of these conditions. A manifesto as well as a keenly intelligent look at “disability,” this book is an important read for parents, teachers, and anyone who is “differently brained.”

The PRT Pocket Guide: Pivotal Response Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders

By: Lynn Kern Koegel, Robert Koegel
Age Level: Adult
Reading Level: Professional

A great resource for educators, behavior specialists, early interventionists, SLPs, occupational therapists, and families, this reader-friendly pocket guide is the perfect introduction to Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT), the popular approach that uses natural learning opportunities to modify pivotal areas of behavior. Pioneering autism experts Robert and Lynn Koegel speak directly to the reader, demystifying PRT and clearly explaining why it leads to widespread and rapid progress for children.

The Social Skills Picture Book

By: Jed Baker
Age Level: Adult
Reading Level: Professional

This book uses photographs of students engaging in a variety of real-life social situations. The realistic format plays to the visual strengths of children with ASD to teach appropriate social behaviors. Color photographs illustrate the "right way" and "wrong way" to approach each situation and the positive/negative consequences of each. A facilitator (parent, teacher, etc.) is initially needed to explain each situation, and ask questions such as "What is happening in this picture?" Children role-play skills until confident enough to practice them in real-life interactions.

The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger's

By: Temple Grandin
Age Level: Adult
Reading Level: Professional

This groundbreaking book by Dr. Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University, was one of the first to help neurotypical adults understand autism from a first-person point of view. She gives you a peek into her own psyche to help you understand how your child or students with autism might process information. Her explanation of how she sees the world in pictures will change how you relate to people with autism. Temple offers helpful dos and don’ts, practical strategies, and try-it-now tips, all based on her insider perspective and a great deal of research.

Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism

By: Barry M. Prizant
Age Level: Adult
Reading Level: Professional

This book offers a deep understanding and a more humane approach to autism. Instead of classifying “autistic” behaviors as signs of pathology, autism expert 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. "This is by far the most empathic, wise, and insightful book I have ever read about autism, and is one of the most empathic and wise books I've ever read about being human."

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