Helpful Books

Initially, I envisioned this website as a book which could be offered to parents.  After a few politely worded rejections, I decided I cared more about having the information available than in making money from it.  But I still believe that books are the next best resource after speaking to other parents, so here is my list of ones which I've found particularly useful.  Listed in the order which I discovered them.

The Autism Sourcebook: Everything You Need to Know About Diagnosis, Treatment, Coping and Healing by Karen Siff Exkorn.

This one was my Bible after Alex was diagnosed, although it's been updated since.  It goes over a huge variety of different treatment options and discusses them without prejudice.  Everything gets treated equally and fairly.  (This is a big rarity in the autism world where I find people are more interested in pushing a particular agenda than in giving information.)  It explains how the different treatments are expected to work, which can be a huge timesaver for figuring out which ones might be helpful for your child.
Available on Amazon and Chapters.  Sorry, no library copies that I can find, although I got my first copy through OCTC's lending library.

Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies, and Hope That Can Transform A Child's Life by Lynn Kern Koegel, Ph.D. and Claire LaZebnik.

This one has been updated since I picked it up and I've linked to the most recent version where available.  It's a comprehensive look at the different challenges faced by a family with a child with autism: communication, dealing with the education system, dealing with challenging behaviours, etc.  It's got a lot of good suggestions for families to work with and is clearly written.
Available on Amazon, Chapters and the Ottawa Library (2004 version)

The Only Boy In the World: A Father Explores the Mysteries of Autism by Michael Blastland.

This is a biography of a father dealing with his severely autistic son.  It's blunt and faces the difficult challenges without sparing the emotional impact.  I found it helpful as a counter to some of the more optimistic biographies and examples out there.  But at the same time, I never felt that the dad lost hope for his child.
Available on Amazon, Chapters and the Ottawa Library.

Parallel Play: Growing Up With Undiagnosed Asperger's by Tim Page.

This is a biography of a man who grew up in the 70's with what we now recognize as Asperger's.  I found it a great place to gain insight into how my boys are thinking.
Available on Amazon, Chapters and the Ottawa Library.

Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships: Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspectives of Autism by Dr. Temple Grandin and Sean Barron.

This book was written by two people with high-functioning autism to explain the rules which neurotypical people can take for granted.  I've found it to be an excellent resource in breaking down my assumptions and for helping me to identify areas where my kids are likely to need detailed instruction.  It can be a little strongly worded at times but is helpful nonetheless.
Available on Amazon and the Ottawa Library.

The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon.

This one is a novel but the main character is autistic and the author captured his point of view amazingly.  I recommend this to people who are wanting to get an inside look at how an autistic mind works.  It's science fiction, set in the near future, with the last generation of autistic adults (since science developed an in-utero treatment).  The main character, Lou, must decide whether or not to take an experimental treatment which could make him "normal" and risk losing who he is as a person or stay in what he recognizes is a handicapped way of life.  Here is my review.
Available on AmazonChapters and the Ottawa Library.

The Elephant in the Playroom: Ordinary Parents Write Intimately and Honestly About the Extraordinary Highs and Heartbreaking Lows of Raising Kids with Special Needs by Denise Brodey.

This is a collection of short (2-5 page) essays from parents talking about all aspects of raising a special needs child.  They don't shy away from the heartbreak or nasty side of things but still find the love and the good.  Check out my review for more info.
Available on Amazon, Chapters and the Ottawa Library.

1 comment:

Page Descriptions

Dealing with Diagnosis: Parents talks about the emotional impact of diagnosis. This is a major life-changing event which can leave people feeling isolated, angry and hopeless. You’re not alone in this.

Dealing with Diagnosis: Friends and Family offers suggestions to the extended family and friends of newly diagnosed families. We all want to help and make things better but sometimes the best-intentioned gestures can end up hurting.

Dealing with Other People's Reactions warns of some of the less than positive responses you can expect and talks about the stigma of accepting the "special needs" label.

The Autism World is an explanation of how people with autism experience the world around them. The ability to guess what your child is experiencing is one of the best tools you can have in helping and teaching them.

Tips and Tricks is a collection of suggestions and ideas contributed by parents. I’m always looking for more suggestions to share. Contact me with your ideas.

Choosing Therapies and Treatment isn’t about specific types of treatment. Instead it’s about what you should be looking for in a therapist or treatment expert. Every child with autism is unique and there’s no universal treatment.

Changing Challenging Behaviours is a basic overview of the Applied Behaviour Analysis system. While I recognize that not every child works best with the intense behaviour treatment based on ABA, the system of figuring out what is behind challenging behaviours is an effective way to understand what your child is trying to tell you. Understanding is the first step to trying to change the problem.

Communication offers ideas on how you can help your child with autism to communicate. Without an ability to tell you what he or she wants, frustration quickly leads to behaviour problems.

Referrals for Families are options for families with special needs to enjoy some of the ordinary experiences in life. It lists examples of non-therapy professionals and businesses who are willing and able to adapt to autistic children.

Finding Help: There are three sections, pre-diagnosis, getting a diagnosis and post-diagnosis. It's my attempt to give you a checklist of options.

Helpful Books: A list of books that I've found to be useful, in the order I discovered them.

My Blog is where I share new information, what's working (and not) for our family. Posted daily (mostly).