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Summer Reading List: on Autism

It’s almost summer vacation and everyone is gearing up for a nice long break from school….which means you’ll be spending lots of time with your child. Maybe your child has been diagnosed with ASD, which ensures your summer vacation will be challenging.  To shore you up, here are just a few resources for those with thoughts or questions about people diagnosed on the autism spectrum. These resources are written by people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), others by parents, and others by professionals.


Helping Children with Autism Become More Social: 76 Way to Use Narrative Play

By Ann E. Densmore

“Therapist Densmore takes us with her as she works in a remarkable program she has developed to lead such children into the social world. Allowing readers to look over her shoulder during sessions, Densmore explains Narrative Play, her approach to inspiring social contact. The work includes interviews with parents of children with autism and will be of wide interest to professionals, teachers, parents, and family members who can use the approach to help a child move into the social world. The book, and the theory it promulgates, will also interest students of psychology, special education, pediatrics, neurology, and speech.”


PREP for Social Success: A Guide for Parents of Children with Autism

By Jamie E. Carter and Ahna O’Shaughnessy

“Through a simple, easy to remember, four step program (the PREP program) you will learn how to:
Plan ahead to help your child anticipate situations that may be difficult.
Rehearse, using a variety of techniques, to show your child how to manage various social situations.
Encourage your child to engage in positive social behaviors in situations he or she may encounter.
Praise the success of your child.
You will learn a variety of techniques which will enable you to easily apply PREP to help your child develop the skills he or she needs to be successful in social situations. These include using visual cues, telling stories, developing scripts, performing role plays, playing games, and mapping out desired behaviors. You will also learn how to help your child manage his or her emotions more effectively through various relaxation techniques and cognitive restructuring.”


Autism: Advancing on the Spectrum: From Inclusion in School to Participation in Life

By Melissa Nieman

“Melissa Niemann is a former Speech Therapist, classroom teacher and cognitive rehabilitation specialist. She is trained in the nero-psychological assessment of children and adults. While working as a behavioral therapist, Melissa met Katherine at the age of seven. Having witnessed her extraordinary growth from working in home therapy sessions to the integration into public schools, and into the community and then to college, she shares practical suggestions and encouragement to those who daily surround a person on the spectrum of autism. The courage and determination of Katherine and her family have inspired her belief that everyone can be part of a living legacy in the life of a child with autism. Danuta Highet is the mother of Katherine Highet who is now a young adult with autism. An engineer by training, Danuta realigned her career goals around Katherine’s needs. The Highet family worked together with Katherine to help her move along the autism spectrum. From preschool through college Danuta supported Katherine in school and after school activities. With her support Katherine was included in choir, dance classes, acting classes, school plays, and high school color guard. Katherine’s unique way of learning did not respond to traditional teaching techniques. The lessons learned from these experiences is what Danuta shares while touring with Katherine to help her raise awareness as an Ambassador for Abilities.”


The Official Autism 101 Manual

By Karen L. Simmons, Temple Grandin, Bernard Rimland

“When you need answers to your questions about anything related to autism, including early diagnosis, therapies, the buzz about vaccinations, social skills, self-esteem, planning for the future, coping skills, music therapy or solving reading problems, this master collection gives you practical and proven answers.

The Official Autism 101 Manual is the most comprehensive book ever written on the subject of autism.

Parents and professionals rave that this is your ultimate resource for understanding and responding to autism.

With 44 contributors, you learn from dozens of caring experts and supporters who bring you the best the autism community has to offer.”


Pervasive Developmental Disorder: An Altered Perspective

By Barbara Quinn and Anthony Malone

“Pervasive Developmental Disorder, or PDD, is the umbrella term used to cover the whole family of autistic spectrum disorders including autism and Asperger Syndrome. Within this group there is a subgroup called NOS not otherwise specified which covers the conditions which do not quite meet the diagnostic criteria for autism or Asperger Syndrome. Because PDD covers such a wide spectrum, it presents very differently from child to child. Written principally for parents, this is a book which explains what it means for your child to be diagnosed with PDD, NOS, autism or Asperger Syndrome, and where you go from there. The authors describe the symptoms of PDD, what a diagnosis means, how a child fits into the diagnostic terminology and the diagnostic procedures involved. They also review associated disorders such as OCD, and discuss the different treatments and therapies available. The book includes frequently-asked questions, as well as the experiences of other parents.”


But maybe ink-and-paper isn’t really your style and you prefer to surf the web. Here’s a list of web resources to peruse.


A resource for professionals, parents, and individuals with autism alike.

A community of bloggers who share their experiences, questions, surprises, frustrations to help one another.

An article about places that people have gone with children/adults who have various special needs, including ASD.

A community of bloggers who focus on what happens as their children, relatives, or friends with ASD go from adolescence into adulthood.

A listing of AMC theaters across the country that will have special screenings (year round) for people with ASD, taking into consideration sensory needs.


Or maybe you prefer to listen to podcasts or radio shows. Here’s our essential list:

Podcasts on iTunes

The 500 Hats; Bartholomew Cubbins on Autism

-collection of podcasts given by a father of a child with ASD


Autism Empowerment Radio

-talk radio centering on issues and concerns for people with ASD


Joyriding in Autismland: Autism podcast with Kid Gigawatt

-parents of a child with ASD who chat with other parents, kids, therapists, writers, and artists about each of their experiences and unexpected moments.


Here’s to a happy, healthy, educational summer!

Junerose Juan,