Recommended reading by Steve Silberman for parents and clinicians managing kids with autism

The author of Neurotribes reflects on recommended reading for parents and clinicians who are care takers for kids with autism and learning difficulties
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Uniquely Human

by Barry M. Prizant

About the book:  Autism is usually portrayed as a checklist of deficits, including difficulties interacting socially, problems in communicating, sensory challenges, and repetitive behavior patterns. This perspective leads to therapies focused on ridding individuals of "autistic" symptoms. Now Dr. Barry M. Prizant, an internationally renowned autism expert, offers a new and compelling paradigm: the most successful approaches to autism don't aim at fixing a person by eliminating symptoms, but rather seeking to understand the individual's experience and what underlies the behavior.

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Thinking Person's Guide to Autism

by Shannon Des Roches Rosa,Jennifer Byde Myers,Liz Ditz,Emily Willingham,Carol Greenburg

About the book:  Thinking Person's Guide to Autism (TPGA) is the resource we wish we'd had when autism first became part of our lives: a one-stop source for carefully curated, evidence-based information from autistics, autism parents, and autism professionals.

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Raising Cubby

by John Elder Robison

About the book:  The slyly funny, sweetly moving memoir of an unconventional dad’s relationship with his equally offbeat son—complete with fast cars, tall tales, homemade explosives, and a whole lot of fun and trouble John Robison was not your typical dad. Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at the age of forty, he approached fatherhood as a series of logic puzzles and practical jokes. Instead of a speech about the birds and the bees, he told his son, Cubby, that he'd bought him at the Kid Store—and that the salesman had cheated him by promising Cubby would “do all chores.” While other parents played catch with their kids, John taught Cubby to drive the family's antique Rolls-Royce. Still, Cubby seemed to be turning out pretty well, at least until school authorities decided that he was dumb and stubborn—the very same thing John had been told as a child. Did Cubby have Asperger’s too? The answer was unclear. One thing was clear, though: By the time he turned seventeen, Cubby had become a brilliant and curious chemist—smart enough to make military-grade explosives and bring federal agents calling. With Cubby facing a felony trial—and up to sixty years in prison—both father and son were forced to take stock of their lives, finally accepting that being “on the spectrum” is both a challenge and a unique gift.

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Parenting without Panic

by Brenda Dater

About the book:  Ever wish that parenting a child or teen on the autism spectrum came with instant access to a support group? Brenda Dater has provided parents with exactly that. In this book she draws on her extensive experience as a support group leader and parent of a child on the spectrum to offer trusted advice and tried-and-tested solutions to parents' top concerns, all in an accessible and easy-to-read format. Filled with the voices of other parents in the same situation, the book covers everything from the first steps to take after diagnosis, to advocacy and disclosure, behavior, building independence and resilience, making friends, holidays and vacations, homework, supporting siblings, how to garner support from extended family and friends, and how parents can look after their own wellbeing. This book extends the vital lifeline of a support group to parents of children and teens on the autism spectrum everywhere.

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Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate

by Cynthia Kim

About the book:  Cynthia Kim explores all the quirkyness of living with Asperger Syndrome (ASD) in this accessible, witty and honest guide looking from an insider perspective at some of the most challenging and intractable aspects of being autistic. Her own life presents many rich examples. From being labelled nerdy and shy as an undiagnosed child to redefining herself when diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome as an adult, she describes how her perspective shifted to understanding a previously confusing world and combines this with the results of extensive research to explore the 'why' of ASD traits. She explains how they impact on everything from self-care to holding down a job and offers typically practical and creative strategies to help manage them, including a section on the vestibular, sensory and social benefits of martial arts for people with autism. Well known in the autism community and beyond for her popular blog, Musings of an Aspie, Cynthia Kim's book is rich with personal anecdotes and useful advice. This intelligent insider guide will help adults with ASDs and their partners, family members, friends, and colleagues, but it also provides a fresh and witty window onto a different worldview.

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My Baby Rides the Short Bus

by Yantra Bertelli

About the book:  The stories in this collection provide parents of special needs kids with a dose of both laughter and reality. Featuring works by so-called alternative parents who have attempted to move away from mainstream thought, this anthology carefully considers the implications of raising children with disabilities. From professional writers to novice storytellers, including original essays by Robert Rummel-Hudson, Ayun Halliday, and Kerry Cohen, this assortment of authentic, shared experiences from parents in the know is a partial antidote to the stories that misrepresent, ridicule, and objectify disabled children and their parents.

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Asperkids

by Jennifer Cook O'Toole

About the book:  As a parent, a teacher and an Aspie herself, Jennifer O'Toole provides the definitive insider's view of Asperger syndrome. She shows how to help children on the spectrum by understanding how they think and by exploiting their special interests to promote learning. Her strategies work because she thinks like the children that she teaches. This exciting book is full of effective and fun ways of engaging with children with Asperger syndrome. Jennifer explains how theory of mind difficulties create the need for concrete forms of communication, and provides original methods to inspire imagination through sensorial experiences. In particular she reveals the untapped power of special interests, showing how to harness these interests to encourage academic, social and emotional growth. Affirming that different doesn't mean defective, this book offers the insight and guidance that parents, educators, and other professionals need to connect with the Asperkids in their life and get them excited about learning.

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The Anti-Romantic Child

by Priscilla Gilman

About the book:  “The Anti-Romantic Child is remarkable. This haunting and lyrical memoir will be an invaluable and heartening guide to all who find themselves in similar situations and indeed anyone confronting an unforeseen challenge.”—Marie Brenner, writer for Vanity Fair and author of Apples and Oranges With an emotionally resonant combination of memoir and literature, Wordsworth scholar Priscilla Gilman recounts the challenges of raising a son with hyperlexia, a developmental disorder neurologically counterpoint to dyslexia. Gilman explores the complexities of our hopes and expectations for our children and ourselves. With luminous prose and a searing, personal story evocative of A Year of Magical Thinking and A Year of Reading Proust, Gilman’s The Anti-Romantic Child is an unforgettable exploration of what happens when we lean to embrace the unexpected.

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The Reason I Jump: one boy's voice from the silence of autism

by Naoki Higashida

About the book:  The No. 1 Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller. Written by Naoki Higashida when he was only thirteen, this remarkable book provides a rare insight into the often baffling behaviour of autistic children. Using a question and answer format, Naoki explains things like why he talks loudly or repeats the same questions, what causes him to have panic attacks, and why he likes to jump. He also shows the way he thinks and feels about his world - other people, nature, time and beauty, and himself. Abundantly proving that people with autism do possess imagination, humour and empathy, he also makes clear how badly they need our compassion, patience and understanding. David Mitchell and his wife have translated Naoki's book so that it might help others dealing with autism and generally illuminate a little-understood condition. It gives us an exceptional chance to enter the mind of another and see the world from a strange and fascinating perspective. The book also features eleven original illustrations, inspired by Naoki's words, by the artistic duo Kai and Sunny.

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