April is National Autism Awareness Month; numerous charity foundations have been in full force this month raising funds for autism research in the hope of finding some cures for the many symptoms of autism. On the flip side, it’s also important direct some focus on some of the non-autistic children in the world, including the siblings and classmates of children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or Asperger’s syndrome.
Here is a list of books which may be read to non-autistic children to help them better understand the struggles autistic kids go through, and the many ways they are just like you and me. Also included are some excellent guides for parents or educators of autistic children.
Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew, by Ellen Notbohm: winner of several distinguished awards, this book uses humor and compassion to describe personal interactions with children on the autism spectrum.
- 1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger’s, also by Ellen Notbohm: a bestseller among parents, educators and therapists who deal with autistic children, and winner of Teacher’s Choice Award, this book is chock full of helpful advice related to teaching children with autism spectrum disorder.
All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome, by Kathy Hoopmann: this picture book used playful and colorful photos of kittens to illustrate some of the attributes of children with Asperger’s, drawing on research which proves that autistic children who have difficulty interacting with peers often find comfort with animals. Also by the same author: All Dogs Have ADHD.
- The Butterfly’s Flight: A Story About Autism And Hope, by Heather Porazzo: Baby butterfly was reluctant to come out of his safe cocoon, but with some help from his loving parents, friends and neighbors he slowly emerges into the big and sometimes overstimulating world.
- Freaks, Geeks & Asperger Syndrome: A User Guide to Adolescence, by Luke Jackson: It’s hard enough being a teenager; add Asperger’s Syndrome and four teenage siblings to the hormonal mixture, and you have a sometimes witty and always enlightening story of a teenager who comes to terms with Asperger’s Syndrome and being “different.”
- What’s Wrong with Timmy? By news anchor Maria Shriver, a sensitive picture book about 8-year-old Kate, who meets a boy with autism and finds that he is not so much different from her in the ways that really matter.
- Rules, by Cynthia Lord: for grade school children, Catherine tries to teach her younger autistic brother David some “rules” of behavior so he won’t embarrass her in front of her friends, but she ends up learning a few rules for herself.
- Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism, by Jenny McCarthy: author of many bestselling books about children with autism, McCarthy gives us a window into the world of a mother raising her autistic child with love, hope and faith.
- The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cookbook, Updated and Revised: The Ultimate Guide to the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet, by Pamela Compart: this 10-step nutrition plan for children with autism and Asperger’s syndrome features kid-friendly recipes which are gluten-free and dairy-free.
- The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger’s, by Temple Grandin: Recently the subject of a feature film in which she was portrayed by Claire Danes, Grandin gets to the root of the matter in this honest, no-nonsense inside look at what autism is…and what it isn’t. Includes helpful strategies, tips and research.
All books listed are available at Amazon.com.