Reading List

I wanted to learn about other children like my son.  I wanted to see a glimpse of the future in one of their stories.  I tried half a dozen books and was unable to finish any of them.  Either they described children years older than my then-18-month-old son, or were filled with content that made me furious at the parents (who were the authors) and sick with grief for their children.  I tried There’s a Boy in Here, in which the mother recounts spanking her toddler son over and over, harder and harder, because she couldn’t get a reaction from him.  I tried Carly’s Voice, in which the parents openly treat their daughter as less-than, refusing to believe in her no matter what.  I tried to get through that one, but when Carly’s parents remove her from their home and place her in an institution where she is subsequently sexually abused I just couldn’t anymore.  

I didn’t understand these books, these parents.  I didn’t understand all the 5-star amazon reviews full of people sympathizing with these apparently long suffering parents.  There was a rhetoric of broken, lost, or missing children surrounding the Autism literature I encountered.  I didn’t feel that way about my son.  I would look into his beautiful face, his unfocused, far-away gaze that seemed at once unfathomably wise and tenderly innocent, and to me he was nothing less than absolutely perfect.  

It was entirely by chance that I stumbled upon an Autism documentary called Loving Lampposts.  This film changed everything.  At last I found voices that echoed my thoughts- individuals who did not believe their children were lost or broken.  As I watched the film I googled the names of individuals interviewed whose comments resonated with me.  In this way I discovered what I had been looking for- books, articles, and stories from a place of love and acceptance.  I read Loud Hands, a book written by Autistic adults from all across the spectrum.  I read Not Even Wrong and Unstrange Minds, written by two of the individuals interviewed in Loving Lampposts.  I read Stanley Greenspan’s Engaging Autism, and I discovered the Autism Discussion Page.  I read Ido in Autismland, I found blogs like Diary of a Mom and Emma’s Hope Book.  And of course, I read several of Temple Grandin’s books, which led me to Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay’s poetry and then his book, How Can I Talk If My Lips Don’t Move?.

I can’t express how valuable it was to find these books.  I was given incredible insight into how my son’s mind works and what might be good ways to support him.  I didn’t agree with every single thing I read, but I appreciated each perspective, and they all helped me find my own place in the confusing and often hostile intersection of Autism and parenting.  And when I say hostile, I am referring to the “Autism wars” you may find yourself inadvertently sucked into when you have an internet connection and an opinion on anything Autism.  

So if you’re out there, a confused, worried, hopeful mom or dad with a newly diagnosed Autistic kiddo, here’s MY reading list- web links and all- happy reading!

Oh, and before you start reading, check out Loving Lampposts:

Note: these are not in any particular order, so browse and choose any reading order that appeals to you.

Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking by Julia Bascom et al

The Autism Discussion Page by Bill Nason:

ADP Facebook page-

ADP Books-

Neurotribes by Steve Silberman

Not Even Wrong by Paul Collins

Unstrange Minds by Roy Richard Grinker

How Can I Talk If My Lips Don’t Move? by Tito Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay

Ido In Autismland by Ido Kedar

The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin

Diary of a Mom blog:

Emma’s Hope Book blog:

Respectfully Connected blog:


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