Thursday, September 10, 2009

Books for Asperger’s and Autism

I’ve added a new side bar to this blog, showing some of my most frequently recommended books for adults with Asperger’s or autism. You can get lots of information online, but for more in depth knowledge, a book might be the solution.

Certainly the most well autistic writer is Temple Grandin. Grandin’s strength is how clearly and personally she describes her own experiences and the creative ways in which she’s built a satisfying and successful life for herself. Grandin is willing to make her own choices about how to balance career and social issues.

If you’re new to Asperger’s, the most complete source of both general and detailed information is probably from Tony Attwood. (Much of his writing applies to autism as well.) Attwood has an easy writing style, and he covers almost any topic you can imagine. The best aspect of his writing is how thoroughly Attwood’s statements are documented. I often use Attwood’s books as a starting point to research a topic further.

Getting a diagnosis as an adult is a complicated issue since the best known measures were created for children. I often send adults to the self test in the back of Simon Baron-Cohen’s The Essential Difference. From there, you can make your own choices on further evaluation. Baron Cohen has published his research extensively and this book is both thorough and interesting.

For information on managing depression, which is very common for those on the spectrum, I recommend David Burns’ The Feeling Good Handbook. This book isn’t a substitute for professional care, but does describe in great detail a Cognitive Behavioral technique for managing depression.

The most troublesome issue for many adults on the ASD spectrum is managing sensory issues. I often send readers and clients to Zosia Zaks’ Life and Love: Positive Strategies for Autistic Adults. Zaks also has a full range of recommendation for everything from  daily life activities to social and romantic issues.

If you’re looking for a more specific book on Asperger’s or autism, a good starting point is the Jessica Kingsley Publisher’s website. They have an extensive list of books on many special needs topics.