Nonfiction on autism

In response to Lee, here is a personal list of suggested reads. Most of my books are concentrating on Asperger Syndrome.

If it’s the professional’s take you want, then either Gillberg or Attwood will do. They are THE big names on the subject. It’s probably enough to have one book, but for those of us grasping at straws, more books suggest more possible answers. So we buy and we read. Tony Attwood, Asperger’s Syndrome; A Guide for Parents and Professionals. Christopher Gillberg, A Guide to Asperger Syndrome. Olga Bogdashina, Theory of Mind and the Triad of Perspectives on Autism and Asperger Syndrome; a view from the bridge.

For personal experience (I love “case histories”) you can’t beat Gunilla Gerland, A Real Person; Life on the outside. From the thirteen-year-old, Luke Jackson, Freaks, Geeks & Asperger Syndrome; A User Guide to Adolescence. His mother (seven children, four with autism) Jacqui Jackson, Multicoloured Mayhem. Clare Sainsbury, Martian in the Playground; understanding the schoolchild with Asperger’s syndrome.

Liane Holliday Willey, Pretending to be Normal, and also her Asperger Syndrome in the Family; Redefining Normal. Echo Fling, Eating an Artichoke. And if it’s your spouse who has Asperger’s, Maxine C. Aston, The Other Half of Asperger Syndrome.

Luke’s and Clare’s books have provided me with plenty of pages to photocopy and thrust at teachers.

The list is longer than the interested bystander wants or needs, and not long enough for someone with problems in their life. I like the list of ackowledgements in Olga’s book, where she ends with these words: “And finally, I would like to acknowledge certain people, whose lack of understanding of autistic children’s differences and needs (leading to their mistreatment) motivated me to write this book.”

The world is full of them. I was approached by someone from that otherwise excellent paper, the Guardian, a while ago, to write a blog on the use of Thomas the Tank Engine for children with Asperger’s. Trouble was, he wanted me to blast the idea as ridiculous, because his colleagues told him Thomas was boring. I couldn’t do that, so in the end he just ignored me. It must be nice to be so into culture that you can sneer at other people’s needs.

Before I go on to even higher soap boxes, I’ll try and control my temper. But, thank you Lee, for being interested.

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4 responses to “Nonfiction on autism

  1. Not strictly on the subject, but fascinating nonetheless is the inspirational story of Temple Grandin, an autistic woman who has worked brilliantly in animal welfare. Link to Wikepedia about her here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_Grandin

  2. Thanks, Adele. I really must read Temple’s book Animals in Translation. It’s been waiting long enough.

  3. Ooh, thanks for this excellent introduction. I’ve already printed it out.

  4. Oh, and I forget to mention that Temple’s book is also on my shelf. A good time as any to start it.

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