Will reading the best books on autism help me at all? The answer is unequivocally, a resounding “YES”!
“But I’m not a phD, I am a frazzled parent with so many demands on my time!”
This may be so but make sure you take the time to get help from those with decades of experience and training. While you may “know” your child best, it is still super useful to read new material with an open mind to improve your understanding of the disorder, understand the “world” in which your child lives and perhaps have access to tips or tools that might help your child have a better outcome or might improve your relationship with them.
Both non-fiction and fiction books open your mind and help you think about things in a different way.
Non-fiction books are able to teach you new strategies or help you understand something you did not know before.
Many fiction books can take you to a different place, provide escapism and give you a much needed break from reality.
If you have a child who is newly diagnosed, it can be an overwhelming time of “new” information and searching frantically for solutions. Take a deep breath, grab some of the best books on autism and go through them in a way that does not stress you out.
It is best to dip in and out of some of these books. There is no need to read them in a linear fashion. Skim the chapter headings and read what appears to be relevant to you at the time.
Some of them will be mind blowing!
Some of them will be excellent reference books to come back to as your child grows and progresses through different stages.
Others may not be relevant to your child.
Even when you re-read the same book, you will be amazed at how you pick up on things you had not seen before or you needed to be reminded about. Sometimes something may not have been relevant at the time but now it is.
Dip in and out of the chapters that are most relevant to you right now. The rest, just leave for now.
You do not need to become an expert overnight.
Whether you are a parent, a teacher, a therapist or the person with autism, there is something in each of these books for everyone.
These books we have complied as the most useful together with our team and some of the parents and therapists we work with regularly.
Note: Brilliantly Kalm is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. If you choose to purchase anything by clicking on a link, we receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) so we can continue to create free helpful content for you. Thank you, we appreciate your support.
Please let us know what you think and if you have found a couple of gems of books that you think should be on our best books on autism list, please get in touch and let us know.
Best Books On Autism As Rated By Parents, Teachers and Therapists
The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida, March 2016
This book thoroughly deserves its place on our best books on autism list.
We found this to be one of the the best books on autism we have read in a long time.
Because it is so different.
This is not written by a PhD, therapist or even parent. It is written by a 13 year old boy who has severe autism.
It offer such a unique perspective.
No, it is not a recipe list of “techniques” and “strategies”.
It is not pretending to be. You won’t find hard and fast answers. It is not packed with scientific data and statistics. There are plenty of those around already.
Instead it aims to offer understanding- from an autistic person’s point of view, rather than from a medical point of view or therapy point of view.
This book is a breath of fresh air to parents, siblings and anyone who cares for autistic people to gain a far greater understanding of what it is like looking at the world from inside autism.
It also provides a kinship and a bond for other kids, teens and adults who also experience similar symptoms.
Yes of course, there is some criticism that “just because you have met one person with autism, it just means that you have met one person with autism.” But the author is not trying to say that all people with autism are like this.
He is merely sharing his experience.
It is one of the few books that attempts to show us what life looks like from within an autistic mind.
I recommend that anyone who knows any autistic person should read this book. If you as a parent are struggling to help your kids and feeling frustrated this book will give you a glimpse into how difficult it is in their world.
Of course it is not to say that all autistic people have the same symptoms.
The reason it is called an “autistic spectrum” is that there is a wide rage of behaviours and symptoms and experiences of autism.
However it is a remarkable book that will open up a lot of empathy and understanding for so many people.
Naoki Higashida was born in Japan in 1992. Diagnosed with severe autism when he was five, he subsequently learned to communicate using a handmade alphabet grid.
Naoki’s autism is severe enough to make spoken communication pretty much impossible, even now.
If you are wondering if kids with non verbal autism will ever speak, sometimes the answer is no. But using tools and technology, they may one day be able to communicate as this wonderful books proves.
The Japanese copy was published in 2007. Its English translation came out in 2013, and it has now been published in more than thirty languages.
Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism – July 2016 by Barry M. Prizant
Winner of the Autism Society of America’s Dr. Temple Grandin Award for the Outstanding Literary Work in Autism
We loved Dr Prizant’s keen insight and approach to understanding autism and its symptoms.
He comes from four decades of experience with autism and research.
Normally autism treatments aim to “get rid” of socially awkward behaviours.
Dr Prizant instead offers a new paradigm.
Rather than seek to eliminate behaviours, he suggests seeking to understand the behaviours, build on strengths and enhance desirable behavior .
This book offers practical solutions and tons of understanding. Many parents find that this book has had a profound affect on their relationship with their autistic child.
The underlying premise is that autistic people do not need to be “fixed”.
Dr Prizant sees all behaviour as human behaviour.
This book goes a long way to helping understanding autistic behavior and should be read by everyone.
Self-Regulation and Mindfulness: Over 82 Exercises & Worksheets for Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, & Autism Spectrum Disorder September 2017 by Varleisha Gibbs
Varleisha Gibbs has created a unique, evidence-based resource for helping children who have trouble self-regulating, staying focused, managing their senses and controlling their emotions.
While there are certainly very useful tools like weighted blankets for self regulation and self-soothing, there are also practical lessons to help your child self-regulate.
Activities might include timing exercises, movement coordination, hands-on activities and coloring pages.
While the activities may be quite simple and easy to “google” it is still useful to have a reference in one place and know the techniques which are especially relevant for autism.
We found this book to be best for children with autism and sensory processing disorder. There are some helpful strategies to help parents cope with children who are easily triggered, have anxiety and experience sensory overwhelm.
There is less relevance for ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome.
Also it was most suitable for younger children under 10 years old rather than older children, teens or adults.
ADHD: Non-Medication Treatments and Skills for Children and Teens by Debra Burdick November, 2015
The author is a psychotherapist and neurotherapist, who has been treating children and teens with ADHD or over 25 years. There is not much she has not seen!
Medication and ADHD is a huge and growing problem with many parents, teachers and doctors racing first to medication as a solution rather than trying other behavioural solutions first.
This is a comprehensive workbook sharing the most effective, up to date and proven treatment methods around.
Debra provides downloadable resources, handouts and exercises, ADHD –relevant parenting skills and techniques for emotional and behavioural regulation.
We found this book to be a “must read” for any parent of a child with ADHD.
It is well written and easy to read. The techniques used in this book can be used in conjunction with a medication approach or instead of medication.
There are practical, sensible information for parents and teachers of children or teens with ADHD. In fact there are over 162 tool, techniques and resources you can try.
Yes its true they may not all work for your child, but with so many too choose from you will strike gold sooner or later. Also as your child grows and develops, different techniques may work with them at different stages.
So it is a great book to keep handy as a useful reference tool to go back to at least once a year.
This applies even more so if you are a teacher or therapist as you will need to be managing and treating all sorts of children at all stages and ages.
To have such a practical book you can draw on at any time is invaluable. Easy read too!
The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder): Revised Edition by Tony Attwood May 2008
We enjoyed this book immensely. It combines an easy to read format on everything you need to know about Asperger’s syndrome with tons of resources if you wanted to go deeper into the academic research. This book applies to both children and adults.
The author has wide variety of clinical experience and this comes across throughout the book lending more credibility on every page.
Drawing on case studies and personal accounts from Attwood’s extensive clinical experience, and from his correspondence with individuals with Asperger’s syndrome, this book is both authoritative and extremely accessible.
This book is useful for all ages. You can dip in and out of the sections that are most relevant to you right now, then come back to other sections as they become relevant.
It covers topics like diagnosis to social interaction, bullying, motor skills and career development.
Very informative for parents, teachers, therapists and even sufferers of the condition themselves. It is written in easy-to-read non-technical language.
At the end of each chapter is a “key points and strategies” you can use as a quick reference guide.
It is always very helpful if you suspect you may have Asperger’s to know that you are “not mad” and “not broken”.
We think not only is this book one of the best books on autism right now, it is certainly the best book on Aspergers.
101 Games and Activities for Children With Autism, Asperger’s and Sensory Processing Disorders by Tara Delaney August, 2009
We found this to be a good book giving some new ideas on games that might help children improve their motor skills, language skills and social skills through play.
Some people will find these games rather simple but there are so many ideas that you are sure to find one of two that will help your children. As your child develops, change the games up as they will need different stimuli.
The author is a paediatric occupational therapist.
Great tool for parents, therapists and teachers. Overall, we did find this book to be aimed at much younger children.
Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew, 3rd Edition: Revised and Updated by Ellen Notbohm (Author), Veronica Zysk (Ed), June, 2019
This book was first published in 2005 and I suspect many of you will have read this book already.
Each chapter starts with a child’s voice.
This book explores how ten core characteristics of autism affect our children’s perceptions and reactions to the surrounding physical, sensory and social environments.
This 3rd edition, the author has expanded some sections with more insight and observations from the world of autism.
It is a great book every parent of an autistic child should read.
If you have not read this, you should. It is required reading.
A Parent’s Guide to High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder, Second Edition: How to Meet the Challenges and Help Your Child Thrive by Sally Ozonoff , Geraldine Dawson and James C. Partland, Nov 2014
This book builds on premise of expanding you child abilities rather than focusing on “fixing” something that is broken. The book uses real life stories to demonstrate points and improve understanding.
It cleverly combines case histories science and practice information.
If you just have a newly diagnosed child and have not read this book yet, it will give you a great basis and bring you up to speed.
This book is very positive (which is refreshing) and provides a lot of practical strategies for coping with different behaviors.
We love that it also refers to older children, teens and adults as well.
So many books only cover the 3 year old to the 6 year old market.
This book also cover dating, living on your own and employment. Not many delve into these areas.
Part One discusses what Autism Spectrum Disorder is, how it is diagnosed, possible causes, and treatments.
Part Two gives you the day-to-day advice and practical information about helping children with autism from early childhood through adulthood.
We advise starting at Part Two as this will help you right away. Then refer to Part One as necessary. Dip in and out when you have a few seconds to yourself.
Summary of Best Books on Autism
Should I read all of these best books on autism?
Even if you have read a couple of them before- there are nuggets to be found in all of them that you will be able to use right away.
There are many, many books on autism that are available and many of them are very good.
However these are the ones that we currently think are most useful. We are all already so pushed for time. Many people will struggle to even read one or two books. There is little point in producing a list of 100 best books on autism or there is a point where the title would then become “every book on autism!”
You will gain a deeper understanding of your child as they progress through different stages.
You will never feel like you “know it all” and it is so useful to hear from others perspectives and journeys.
It helps you feel like you are not alone. It helps remind you that even on your worst days when you might feel like a failure, that there is always someone worse off than you.
Also, it might remind you that there are different approaches that you have not tried.
Keep an open mind as you pick at least one book from here to read and devour.
Then importantly, implement some thing new immediately.
Autism is still a disorder that is not well understood. New research, new findings will continue to be documented.
It is useful to stay up to date as much as possible. You do not have to read about autism every day(!) There might be a lot of days were after dealing with it all day, you just need a complete break from it and switch off and read something totally different!
But at least once a year, it is useful to review the best books on autism, pick one and get a new perspective.
Have you read any of these books recently?
What did you think?
Are there any others that you recommend?