The Best Books on Autism in 2021 (for Children & Adults)
In 2021, there is a wide selection of books on autism available to educate and inspire readers. Whether you are a young person with autism, a parent of a child with autism, or an adult striving to live independently with autism, many books have been written to educate and support those who are touched by autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Reading books on autism can help anyone affected by the disorder — whether personally or as a caregiver — to better understand the condition, the daily challenges it presents, and how to recognize and develop the unique skills and strengths autism can produce.
The latest research findings, evidenced-based interventions, and strategies for navigating everyday social situations are offered through autism literature. The best books on autism help to foster empathy and understanding about autism in people of all ages and backgrounds.
Books for Children With Autism
The American Psychological Association (APA) compiled a selection of books specifically for children with autism spectrum disorder. The books were written for varying age groups and provide insights about what it can be like living with ASD, as well as tips for how to feel more comfortable at school and in social situations.
APA recommends these books on autism for children and adolescents:
- Asperger’s Teens: Understanding High School for Students on the Autism Spectrum: Written as a guide for high school students living with ASD, this book provides strategies to help autistic students engage with their teachers and peers, make friends, and become more independent and comfortable at school.
- Asperger’s Rules!: How to Make Sense of School and Friends: Another text aimed at helping students on the spectrum feel more comfortable at school, this book examines how common situations at school can present unique challenges to students with ASD.
- Russell’s World: A Story for Kids About Autism: Telling the true story of a boy with autism and his family, this book shares real-life experiences, surprises, and challenges that come with living with autism. Resources for parents are also included.
- All My Stripes: A Story for Children With Autism: This story follows Zane the Zebra who feels different from his classmates due to his autism stripe. With the help of his mother, Zane comes to appreciate all of his unique strengths. Additional parent resources on autism are also included.
- Autism, The Invisible Cord: A Sibling’s Diary: This book is aimed at the siblings of children with autism. This fiction narrative was written from the perspective of Jenny, who writes in her diary about the unique challenges and blessings of living with a brother with autism.
These additional books for children with autism are highly recommended and available on Amazon:
- The Kids’ Guide to Staying Awesome and In Control: Simple Stuff to Help Children Regulate Their Emotions and Senses: Simple techniques and coping strategies are packed into this book to help children manage their difficult feelings and feel more in control of their emotions.
- Smile & Succeed for Teens: Must-Know People Skills for Today’s Wired World: Written as a resource for teens with autism spectrum disorder, this book teaches teens the social and job skills they need to succeed at work and in life.
- The Asperkid’s (Secret) Book of Social Rules: The Handbook of Not-So-Obvious Social Guidelines for Tweens and Teens With Asperger Syndrome: Written as a guide for adolescents on the spectrum, this book is meant to be a source of tips, humorous insights, and practice lessons on correctly understanding social cues and rules.
- Nathan’s Autism Spectrum Superpowers: Nathan, the superhero of this book, teaches his friends and family about how his autism superpowers affect him and how people can help him when his superpowers get out of control.
- Self-Regulation and Mindfulness: Over 82 Exercises & Worksheets for Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, & Autism Spectrum Disorder: Highly practical, evidenced-based, and kid-friendly lessons are provided to teach children about their brain and body in order to develop essential self-regulation skills. Parents, therapists, and educators can also benefit from this content.
Books for Parents of Children With Autism
The selection of books for parents of children with autism is massive. Whether you are looking for information on the history of autism, personal accounts of living with autism, tips for how to help your child with ASD, or just to gain a better understanding about the extensive impacts of the disorder, there are hundreds of titles for you to choose from.
Here is a selection of Amazon’s best-selling parenting books on autism:
- An Early Start for Your Child With Autism: Using Everyday Activities to Help Kids Connect, Communicate, and Learn: Realistic and practical strategies based on current research are presented to parents through this guidebook. It can be used to help toddlers and preschoolers with ASD learn to connect with others.
- Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism: Winner of the Autism Society of America’s Dr. Temple Grandin Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Autism, this book depicts autism as a unique way of being and emphasizes how special, rather than broken, children with autism really are.
- Positive Parenting for Autism: Powerful Strategies to Help Your Child Overcome Challenges and Thrive: Scientifically proven applied behavior analysis (ABA) techniques are introduced through this book. Parents can practice these techniques in their daily lives in order to help their autistic children develop essential life skills and thrive.
- Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew, 3rd Edition: For parents looking to gain a better understanding of their child with autism, this book explores 10 key characteristics that impact children’s perceptions and reactions to their environments.
- Outsmarting Autism: Build Healthy Foundations for Communication, Socialization, and Behavior at All Ages: Topics such as autism diagnosis, treatment, and prevention are covered in this user-friendly guide. Designed as a comprehensive resource of lifelong strategies for ASD support and management, parents, therapists, caregivers, and educators can benefit from this book.
Academic & Research Books on Autism
For professionals and other individuals interested in the field of autism, academic books offer information on evidence-based interventions for children and adults with autism. Here is a selection of academic and research books on the subject of autism:
- Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children and Adolescents: Evidence-Based Assessment and Intervention in School: This book provides an authoritative resource for current research and evidence-based tools for ASD assessment and intervention in order to help school professionals and clinicians working with children on the spectrum.
- Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity: The history of autism is explored in this book, beginning with the earliest accounts of autism research. It covers the evolution of our understanding of autism, as the disorder has become a more widely recognized condition and appreciation for neurodiversity has grown.
- Autism: Understanding the Disorder: From the Clinical Child Psychology Library, this book provides a succinct overview of autism, including the history, known causes, neuropsychological mechanisms, and treatment options for the disorder.
- Assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Critical Issues in Clinical, Forensic and School Settings: Published in 2016, this research book dives into new innovations and techniques that follow best-practice guidelines for assessing children with autism.
In addition to the above categories of books on autism, there are many others targeted for various audiences impacted by the disorder, such as adults living with autism, and siblings and friends of children with autism. A plethora of memoirs have also been written by successful individuals living with autism who wish to share their journey with other people affected by ASD.
- Children’s Books by Subject: Autism Spectrum Disorders. American Psychological Association.
- 17 Autism and Asperger’s Books That Really Get the Condition. (April 2018). Everyday Health.
- Autism Books for Children on the Spectrum. Autism Parenting Magazine.