Helping Children Learn about Autism
I field many questions about teaching children about Autism. Sometimes the request is “please teach my child about his/her own Autism” and sometimes it is “teach my child about his/her sibling’s Autism.” Given the rates of Autism in our community, it is very likely that your child will meet someone in their grade with Autism or Asperger’s. It is very likely that someone in your neighborhood or building has Autism. And depending upon where you work, you could very well have colleagues with Autism.
Today I had the opportunity to wander through the children’s section of the public library looking for books about autism (Yay for random client cancellations that let me get to the library!). First, an observation: we used to send people with Autism off to other locations, not speak of them, and attempt to hide them from family and friends. Now, we recognize the unique contributions that people with autism can offer, and rather than hide our Aspies, we nurture their talents. What a great start!
Here are a couple of books that I found while searching the stacks:
I know someone with Autism by Sue Barraclough
- A 32-page book filled with pictures and information, including “What is autism?” “Strengths and support,” “Being a good friend,” and “How can I help?”
- This appears to be a great entry level book that will help someone understand a classmate or neighbor. You will want to read more if you have a family member!
Autism and me: sibling stories by Ouisie Shapiro
- More than a dozen stories of siblings, written by children. Get your hankies ready! I LOVED this book, and it made me cry. Each family gets two pages of pictures and writing. The stories and ideas are really direct and touching. As adults, we seem to clean up our feelings for the public, but these kids told it like it is, the unique and beautiful, and the upsetting. If you have a child with autism in your family, please read this book.
Here are a couple of other books that I wanted to find, but didn’t. A mom I know said the books were on the family favorite list:
Can I tell you about Asperger Syndrome: a guide for family and friends by Jude Welton
- Best for children ages 7-15 years, this book helps explain life from the perspective of someone with ASD.
Different Like Me: My book of Autism heros by Jennifer Elder
- Best for children ages 8-12 years, this book shares the lives of famous people with ASD, highlighting common struggles and strengths.
While wandering about, I also found some books about raising children with autism, adults with autism, and a sibling memoir about autism in the family. Looks like I have some more reading to do! If you have a book to suggest, please contact me and I’ll put the title on my reading list.
Autism affects all of us. Let’s keep learning, sharing what we learn, and making the world a better place!