What’s On Your Autism/SPD Bookshelf?

On my main library wall (I’m a book dragon: I horde books) there is a shelf perfectly situated to hold my “to read” books alongside the Library Books Cube. This is where all of my books about autism and sensory processing disorder go. When Lady Bug was first identified/diagnosed as autistic, several friends gave me books or book recommendations. The Early Intervention Occupational Therapist recommended several more. And then the online community suggested even more. I’ve read through exactly one of them, and it’s the unpictured (loaned it to a friend) NeuroTribes. If you’ve heard of or seen NeuroTribes it might surprise you that the massive 500+ page book is the one I have read through when there are more, much thinner, books on my shelf. I think a contributing factor in that is most of my other books are dry and clinical and NeuroTribes is an easy to mentally digest and get carried along with story of how we got to where we are. I personally found it fascinating and engaging and accessible. No special knowledge is needed to read it and understand. I’ve also listened to NeuroTribes on Audible multiple times as I do things around the house. I highly recommend it to anyone, not just those with an autistic identification or family member.

Let Me Hear Your Voice by Catherine Maurice was the first book about autism I ever bought. During The Long Wait (5 months) between referral and autism assessment for Lady Bug my ABA Behavioral Consultant family member recommended the book to me. My husband had to read it to me in small chunks as I was emotionally overwhelmed by the similarities to my own daughter and the despair in the first part of the book. We did not get far through it. I have heard that it ends with the autistic toddler “recovered” through a full time schedule of ABA. I do not know if that would have changed my mind about ABA when I was in an emotionally vulnerable time. I do not recommend it but it remains on my bookshelf for the time being.

An Early Start for Your Child with Autism by doctors Sally J Rogers, Geraldine Dawson, and Laurie A. Vismara is one of the books given to me by my dear friend who was the one who pointed out the possibility of autism to me for Lady Bug. I struggled through the first 50 pages or so, trying to make sense of a dry and clinical read. I marked three spots for ideas to go back to and never did. That was a year and a half ago. I don’t really remember much else about the book besides it’s (at the time) inaccessibility to me. I don’t have enough information on it to recommend or to warn against.

101 Games and Activities for Children with Autism, Asperger’s, and Sensory Processing Disorders by Tara Delaney is another book my dear friend gave me. A better title might be “101 Games and Activities for those who don’t do Pinterest.” Because a lot of the activities or activities like them can be found on Pinterest. If you’re Pinterest savvy, you probably don’t need this book. But if you like things being organized for you, this is good for that. It also gives all the whys of activities, that Pinterest is unlikely to have, so in that it is a valuable resource. When we first got it my husband very helpfully went through it marking with sticky notes the things we thought Lady Bug could/would do. Then we moved houses and the book got packed in a box, then put on the shelf and forgotten. Looking at the marked activities, I should try some of these. Maybe I’ll remember this time. Recommend.

Engaging Autism by doctors Stanley I. Greenspan and Serena Wieder. By the time The Long Wait (5 months between referral and actual assessment for Lady Bug) was over I knew enough from the autistic community that I was completely disinterested in ABA and interested in the Floortime method. This book I bought to teach me how to do that. My bookmark indicates that I got 70 pages into the 400+ page book before I gave up. I haven’t gone back to it since. The stuff I read was either dry and clinical, or unclear how to apply to my daughter who was no longer an infant. I mean to go back and try again some day. But for now, I do not know enough about it to recommended or not.

The Out-of Sync Child and The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun by Carol Stock Kranowitz are the gold standard, automatic recommendation for a parent who has newly discovered their kid has Sensory Processing Disorder. I bought these book, put them on my to-read shelf, and haven’t looked at them since. The first explains what SPD is, the other has activities similar to the 101 Games book. I bought these right after our move before Lady Bug was identified/diagnosed and before we realized the boys are on the spectrum, too. I was probably dealing with information overload and fatigue. Now having lived a year and a half with the knowledge and learning from other parents and from my kids themselves, I don’t feel a particular need to read these books.

Understanding Your Child’s Sensory Signals and Your Essential Guide to Understanding Sensory Processing Disorder by Angie Voss. These are the books that were recommended to me by the Early Intervention Occupational Therapist and they are ones that have helped me the most with practical information about sensory issues. Understanding Your Child’s Sensory Signals is an incredibly helpful book. It lists a common signal like “Always Rocking or Tilting Chair” or “Bath Time is Difficult.” It then has a sensory explanation, and a list of things that can help the need. This book is an invaluable resource and has helped me understand my boys like no other. It’s also what clued me in to the boys having sensory needs, not just Lady Bug, by reading the various signals listed and seeing what they do. The Essential Guide book is accessible, not too thick, dry, or clinical, and gives the information you need without overloading you. I highly recommend both of these books.

The Asperkid’s SECRET Book of Social Rules by Jennifer Cook O’Toole. Wow, do I wish I had this book as a kid/teen. It’s written in a conversational style to a kid reader and lays out all the unwritten rules that neurotypicals seem to pick up instinctively. It teaches how to know if a friend can be trusted or not, laughing at you vs. laughing with you, social expectations, and so much more. We’re working on reading it through with the boys so they can know what other children are going to be expecting and how to best communicate with NT children. Highly recommend.

The Real Experts: Readings For Parents of Autistic Children edited by Michelle Sutton is a collection of short writings of various autistics on a variety of topics with the intention of helping NT parents gain understanding of their autistic child/ren. It is founded on the idea that the best people to explain what autistic people think and feel is autistic people themselves. I have not read the whole thing through, but I consider it an excellent resource. Recommend.

And lastly we have The Girl Who Thought In Pictures which I reviewed in depth and recommend with a caveat.

Alright, I’ve shown you mine, now show me yours! What books are must haves that I’m missing? What book about autism/SPD do you recommend? And do you know any fiction books with positive autistic characters? We’re looking for some.

If you’re interested in a book I’ve mentioned the picture is linked to where you can find it on Amazon.com. It is an affiliated link which adds no additional cost to you and helps pay for keeping this blog ad free.

3 thoughts on “What’s On Your Autism/SPD Bookshelf?

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  1. One recent [2008] book about two positive Autistic characters is THE LANGUAGE OF OTHERS which is about Jessica and Joel. Jessica is the mother; Joel the son. Builder might like it because Joel is a video game developer. And Early Bird would probably understand about treasures and seeking and finding.


    Another is GINNY MOON which was released this year. I love the way Ginny narrates and seeks and finds Baby Doll and the life with her Forever Parents.

    Some good presses: Autonomous Press and Reclaim Press.

    Also look through Autism Asperger Publishing Company [the one I forget]; Future Horizons and Jessica Kingsley.

    And there is the comic CATCHPOINT which is about Caleb and Addison. It is set in 2011 and they live in Utah. They are twins in a big family. It is written and drawn by Meredith K. Ultra.

    Michael Hunsaker probably has some good ones up his sleeve. There is a series about Conversations.

    And Danni Peka Miller’s Tiny Talks introduce a journalling system she uses.

    There are several good recent Australian books like THE EYE OF THE SHEEP by Sofie Laguna.

    Jeanette Purkis’s books about work and mental health and her autobiography FINDING A DIFFERENT NORMAL.

    Liked by 1 person

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