Recommended Reading

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  • A 5 is Against The Law: Social Boundaries: Straight Up! by Kari Dunn Buron: This book has an odd name, but it does a great job of creating a framework for understanding where behavior that might be considered odd can cross the line into harassment or just make people uncomfortable, and when that same behavior can create legal issues. Named the 2008 American Sociological Association (ASA) Literary Work of the Year, it makes some really difficult social concepts concrete. It's great for parents and teachers of teens and young adults, as well as teens and young adults trying to demystify neurotypical social behavior.

  • The Breakaway: A Parent's Guide to Transitioning the Autistic and Twice Exceptional Adolescent Into Young Adulthood by Thomas W. Welch, PsyD: Launching an autistic or twice-exceptional human into the world is a confusing process for parents because these remarkable beings must forge their own path on their own timeline. With nearly 30 years of clinical experience with neurodiverse young people and their families, as well as nearly a decade of running a private middle and high school that nurtures these types of students, the author provides perspective, tools, and case studies for parents to help their teens and young adults make their way into independent adulthood.

  • Declarative Language Handbook by Linda K. Murphy, MS, CCC-SLP: If you are dealing with someone who tends to be inflexible or gets emotional and defensive when you ask questions or place demands on them, this book is for you. Using declarative language (as opposed to imperative) helps the person feel competent, connected, and understood. It naturally creates opportunities for learning in areas of seeing the big picture, reading nonverbal communication, problem-solving, perspective-taking, and self-advocating. If it's someone who is struggling to do what they know they need to, they will feel empowered to get the help they need rather than feel shamed by their challenges. This book is written for clinicians, teachers, and parents of kids, but it's a perfect guide for parents and spouses of autistic adults as well. They will thank you!

  • Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World by Deborah Reber: This book is written for parents of neurodivergent kids who can't fit inside the boxes schools and society demand they squeeze into. If you find yourself tending to repeatedly apologize for who your child is or how they behave, this book is a manifesto for unapologetically parenting these amazing human beings in a way that enables them to thrive. 

  • Divergent Mind by Jenera Nerenberg: A successful Harvard and Berkeley-educated writer, entrepreneur, and mother, the author was stunned to discover as an adult that symptoms she struggled with, that had only ever been diagnosed as anxiety, were considered signs of autism and ADHD. Between a flawed medical system that focuses on diagnosing younger males and the way women with ADHD and autism tend to mask, get overlooked, or get misdiagnosed with something else, women often don't learn about their neurological differences until they are adults. I consider this book a paradigm-shifting study that is a must-read for anyone trying to understand how highly sensitive females with autism, synesthesia, ADHD, and sensory processing disorder have been missed and underserved by the medical and mental health establishment.

  • Gender: Your Guide: A Gender-Friendly Primer on What to Know, What to Say, and What to Do in the New Gender Culture by Lee Airton, PhD: Written for workplace leaders on how to be more inclusive and unlock their workforce's potential, this book is an accessible primer for everyone about the gender spectrum, pronouns and their usage, identifying and changing harmful gendered language, and being more inclusive.

  • The Loving Push by Temple Grandin, PhD and Debra Moore, PhD: There are few books that have impacted my approach to parenting an autistic child more than this one. The authors talk about how to provide "the loving push" needed to get autistic young people out of their comfort zones and exposed to new situations where they can learn new skills and discover passions that enable them to live their best independent lives.

  • The Neurodivergent Friendly Workbook of DBT Skills by Sonny Jane Wise: Written by "an autistic ADHDer living with bipolar and in recovery with borderline personality disorder," this amazing self-guided workbook is designed to help the neurodivergent reader acquire skills in mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and sensory needs. It includes affirmations such as, "It's okay if most strategies and tools designed for and by neurotypical people don't work for me." One of the exercises is about creating mindfulness with your pet. There's an entire section on managing sensory needs. Great stuff!

  • The Real-Life Executive Functioning Workbook: A Handbook of Exercises to Help Unique Learners Build Real-World Skills and Success by Chris Hanson, BS and Amy Sippl, MS, BCBA: I spent years while homeschooling my son looking for something practical I could use to explicitly teach executive functioning skills, and every other book I read left me feeling confused. I understood what executive functioning challenges were since I was living with them every day, but I had no idea how to help. This book is so well designed that it can be used effectively by professionals and non-professionals alike. Includes an assessment so you can measure skills before and after using the workbook.

  • Resume and Employment Guide for People With Disabilities by Resume Builder: This is a great comprehensive guide.

  • The Science of Making Friends: Helping Socially Challenged Teens and Young Adults by Elizabeth A. Laugeson, PsyD: If you are a parent trying to help your teen or you are an adult on the autism spectrum struggling with the mechanics of making friends, this is your book. Much support is available for children who struggle with friendships, but nothing is as appropriate or helpful as this book targeting teens and young adults. However, the concepts are universal whether you are 19 or 99. The culmination of years of research, this evidence-based approach breaks down complex social behaviors into concrete, easy-to-understand concrete rules, and steps. Includes a DVD of examples.

  • Ultimate Guide to Stimming: 120 Stims and Strategies for Stress Reduction, Focus/Attention, and Sensory Regulation by Gerald Hughes: I love this text by Gerald Hughes. He provides an exhaustive list of stims, strategies, and sensory exercises to help autistics reduce stress, release excess physical and emotional energy, improve focus and attention, and avoid meltdowns and shutdowns. Also fun for allistic people!

  • Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin, PhD: I've read virtually every book Dr. Grandin has published, and this one ranks among my favorites. Dr. Grandin has an exceptional ability to explain how her brain works and pull science and other's people's experiences into the narrative as well. This is a great read if you're trying to better understand the autistic person in your life or explore whether you might be autistic yourself. 

  • Unmasking Autism by Devon Price, PhD: It seemed like everyone I knew was reading this book, so, of course, I had to check it out. It's the only book on this page I don't recommend. I was very enthusiastic about learning from a social psychologist on the spectrum about the autistic experience and specifically the phenomenon of masking and unmasking. Dr. Price completely lost me during a sensationalized rant about ABA therapy during which they asserted things that I know to be patently untrue through my personal experience. If I look to someone to educate me on things I am unfamiliar with and that person gets something I already know so completely wrong, it makes me wonder what else they are sensationalizing to the point of untruth. There is some fantastic information in this book, but I don't want to have to wonder what is factual and what is untrue but presented as fact. For the same reasons I don't expose myself to highly biased media sources, I chose not to finish this book.