Reading is a non-confrontational way for your child or teen with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to develop an understanding of ASD. This helps them develop coping and social skills. Children and adults with autism benefit from reading books as part of their treatment.
Early intervention is highly effective in assisting children as young as 18 months who have autism. This allows children to experience an increase of about 18 points in their listening and understanding skills. Those who have no intervention usually score around 10 points. In addition to professional intervention, you can provide your child with support in the development of social, cognitive, academic and verbal skills with books. Here are some great books for children and adults on the autism spectrum.
Picture Books for Young Children With Autism
When working with children between the ages of 2 and 12 who have autism, reinforcement of skills learned in therapy, such as ABA therapy, is helpful. This includes assistance with potty training, social skills, and getting dressed. Other areas include playing, safety, attention, focus, and sitting. To support that training, picture books in all age categories are available for people with autism.
Picture books include an illustration on every page that is as important or more important than the written words. There are also many books designed for older children. This is especially important if your autistic child or teen is a visual learner.
Ben Has Autism, Ben Is Awesome
This 32-page picture book tells the story of 5-year-old Ben, who has autism. Ben talks about the things he can do, including playing hide-and-seek and typing his name. Ben also talks about things that challenge him, such as putting on his pajamas or having the wind blow in his face.
Ben also explains his coping mechanisms for dealing with challenges. The book shows that while Ben is different, he is not stupid and has his own unique strengths.
This book helps your autistic child understand that they are not alone and that they are a worthy person. It is also an ideal book to present to teachers or your child’s friends. By reading this book, siblings, friends, and classmates will learn to feel empathy for your child and others who have special needs.
My Book of Feelings: How to Control and React to the Size of Your Emotions
Published by the Autism Asperger Publishing Company, this workbook format uses research on autism spectrum disorder and the brain to teach children with ASD. Your child will learn how to identify their emotions and exhibit appropriate responses.
They learn how to evaluate the seriousness of each situation or emotion they are experiencing. This allows them to react appropriately. Using the 60-page interactive workbook, you may use a dry-erase marker to add situations unique to your child and their solutions. Once your child masters the skill, you can wipe the area clean.
All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome
This 72-page book is informative and easily read by any child ages seven and up. The book combines pictures of cats with information about challenges with the things they do. Those challenges represent the difficulties a person with autism experiences.
The book provides gentle learning through the comparison of a cat’s behavior with that of your autistic child. This book provides a lighthearted learning experience for your child.
It also is an ideal coffee table book. Reading through the book allows others to develop an understanding of your child’s personality.
The Conversation Train: A Visual Approach to Conversation for Children on the Autism Spectrum
This 72-page book is written for children between the ages of 8 and 12. The author is an American clinical social worker who specializes in autism spectrum disorder. The guide uses a steam freight train to help children understand the importance of taking turns in conversation.
The book breaks down each element of conversation. Examples help the child develop conversational skills. This includes entering, maintaining and ending a conversation.
At the back of the book are worksheets. The worksheets may be copied for repeat use as necessary. Using the worksheets reinforces the skills your child learns by reading the book
Books for Autistic Teens
Autistic teens present their own challenges since they experience the hormonal changes in their bodies while having difficulties communicating those feelings and understanding appropriate behavior.
One challenge as a parent is determining the reading level and age level of a book for teens and children with autism. While each book generally falls within a recommended reading level, to make sure your child does not become frustrated by a book that is too complex, you need to learn how to determine the reading level of a book. There are many resources available to assist you in this endeavor. These include the Renaissance ATOS analyzer, Scholastic Book Wizard and Lexile Look Up.
Your Interests, My Interests: A Visual Guide to Playing and Hanging Out for Children on the Autism Spectrum
This 112-page colorful, interactive guide is ideal for children between the ages of 7 and 14 with a grade reading level of 2-9. The book teaches children and teens how to find their common interests with other students and friends. They use that knowledge to improve their social interactions. Six chapters provide examples of autistic children trying to develop their social and friendship skills. The book provides exercises for solving social interaction problems.
The Asperkid’s (Secret) Book of Social Rules: The Handbook of Not-So-Obvious Social Guidelines for Tweens and Teens With Asperger Syndrome
Written for kids between the ages of 10 and 17, this book has a grade 5-12 reading level. The author has autism and provides your autistic teen with insights “for Aspies by an Aspie.” The book contains logic, illustrations and practice sessions in comic strip style.
With an author who knows what your teen is going through, it is no surprise this book is an award winner. The book won the Autism Society Book of the Year and About.com Readers Choice Runner Up. The book also made the Autism Speaks Top Family List and Autism/ASP Digest Top 15 List.
How to Be Human: Diary of an Autistic Girl
This 40-page book has a reading age of 7 to 12 and helps the reader get inside the head of a 15-year-old autistic girl’s head. The main character, Florida, deals with normal pre-teen struggles. This includes making friends, reading facial expressions, and juggling social clues. Other challenges include how to deal with peer pressure.
This is an excellent book for your autistic teen daughter. It is also great reading material for parents of an autistic teen who want to understand the challenges their child is facing.
Books for Young Adults With Autism
As your autistic teen grows into a young adult, you will want to expand on their learning. This can be a challenging time, and reading about a person with autism who overcame those challenges can be just the encouragement they need.
Population One: Autism, Adversity, and the Will to Succeed
This 205-page book is a memoir written by Tyler McNamer at age 17. This young man with autism covers his challenges and offers encouragement and hope to others with autism. The book is ideal for young adults with autism. It is also an excellent read for family members or anyone looking for additional information on the struggles of those with autism.
Tyler explains how he experienced being bullied, made fun of, and having others call him names such as “dumb” or “retarded.” Tyler overcame those challenges and wrote this book to encourage others.
ABA Therapy Is Available at All Levels
Here at ABA Centers of America, we provide ABA therapy (Applied Behavior Analysis therapy) for people with autism across all age groups. Our goal is to understand a client’s strengths and challenges and then help them develop skills necessary for lifelong success.