The #ActuallyAutistic Guide to Advocacy
Jennifer Brunton Ph.D. and Jenna Gensic M.A. (2022)
The #ActuallyAutistic Guide to Advocacy takes an in-depth look at the key elements of effective, respectful, inclusive advocacy and allyship. Every topic was chosen, shaped, and informed by #ActuallyAutistic perspectives.
The step-by-step guide discusses various aspects of how autism is perceived, explores how best to speak up for individual needs, and introduces advocacy for the wider autistic community. Each step outlines one vital aspect of advocacy and allyship, such as emphasizing acceptance, avoiding assumptions and assuming competence. The advice and strategies laid out in this guide center the wisdom and experiences of Autistic people and enable the reader to confidently speak up with insight and understanding.
Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism
Edited by Barb Cook and Dr. Michelle Garnett (2018)
A beautiful compilation of inspiring stories from Barb Cook and 14 other women with Asperger’s. These women share intimate details of their lives with a focus on inspiration, motivation, and support. It is a wonderful resource for autistic women, who will find relatable experiences throughout the book.
In a Different Key: The Story of Autism
John Donvan and Caren Zucker (2017)
If you are looking for a super in-depth history of autism and the important players who helped shape and bring autism awareness and research to the fore, In a Different Key is an excellent choice both for a well-organized narrative and for readability. I enjoyed reading this text and found it never felt weighted down by the wealth of information covered, which is quite comprehensive.
Steve Silberman (2015)
This is another in-depth and very empathetic book that dives into the state of neurodiversity with a strong sense of hope and encouragement for the future within the realm of autism acceptance. It is a work of praise for the many wonders and lessons to be gleaned from those on the spectrum if we only focus our efforts on easing their ways of life and strive to not only understand but to listen when a unique pathway to communication and perspective on life is offered.
Pretending to Be Normal
Liane Holliday Willey (2014)
One of my favorite types of books to read regarding Asperger’s is memoir. It is a short but heartfelt outline of a life made a little bit more interesting and difficult by Asperger’s before and after a diagnosis that came later in life, after finding out her daughter was on the spectrum. This is an especially insightful read if you can relate to her in terms of being a mother with Asperger’s, or if you also have a child with ASD.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Mark Haddon (2004)
This is a sweet and interesting story set from the perspective of the autistic protagonist. The story opens a door into the unique mind of a young autistic boy while illustrating that mind at work in an effort to solve the mystery of a murdered dog in his neighborhood.
The Complete Guide To Asperger’s Syndrome
Tony Attwood (2008)
A very thorough and indeed comprehensive outline of Tony Attwood’s research and work on Asperger’s Syndrome. Tony is considered by many to be one of the world’s leading experts on AS, though I’ve read a lot of women’s reviews who found his writing too cold and clinical. For me, it was certainly easy to get a little bogged down in the densely data-ridden text in several parts, but it is incredibly valuable as a huge compilation of research, though at this point it is a bit dated. Going further than research, Tony Attwood also offers his thoughts and opinions on many “established” views and structures set in place to identify, diagnose and treat ASD and where they could be improved.
Thinking in Pictures
The Autistic Brain
Temple Grandin (2006); (2014)
Certainly one of the most well known Aspie women in the world, Temple Grandin’s books are written in succinct, insightful prose that gets to the heart of what autism means for a human being living in today’s world. She is one of the strongest voices advocating for understanding and acceptance of those with autism, and values greatly the unique visions, gifts, and abilities that those with autism have to offer the world, if they are given the chance.
The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband
David Finch (2012)
This is a more lighthearted read infused with good humor as well as useful tips for the autistic spouse. I recognized a lot of the scenarios and was able to laugh right along with the author. I’ve been married almost ten years (as of this writing in 2018), and there are always moments where a look of understanding passes between us, remembering our relationship’s formative years filled with mishaps and miscommunication.
Aspie: Memoirs on the Blessings and Burdens of Asperger’s Syndrome
John K Olsen, PhD (2006)
Another interesting and insightful memoir on Asperger’s Syndrome which looks at life as an Aspie from every angle, including the bad alongside the good. We all know, as Aspies, that there are many ups and there are many downs as we go through life navigating a neurotypical world.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts
Susan Cain (2013)
Okay, so not directly about autism, but I found this book incredibly uplifting and hopeful for those of us who feel lost in a world which values assertiveness, leadership, and boastful personalities at the head of every conference room. Susan Cain writes passionately about the large pool of observable and researched evidence for the positive results that come from accommodating introverts to be able to share their unique insight, thoughtfulness, and intelligence in a way that is not intimidating. You may have heard of the observation of herd mentality where people in a group will often go along with whoever is loudest in the room just because we have associated outspokenness with confidence and good leadership. This type of groupthink can often lead to big mistakes down the line. The value of letting people work alone without the pressures of constant social engagement has been strongly argued for in the success of such introverted entrepreneurs and geniuses as Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs.
Look Me in the Eye
John Elder Robison (2008)
Another lovely memoir (I can’t get enough). Although it’s been a while since I’ve read this one, I do remember it being one of my favorites, as well as one with strong writing. A New York Times bestseller, it is described as “sweet,” “funny,” “sad” and “true.”
Aspergirls: Empowering Females with Asperger Syndrome
Rudy Simone (2010)
This popular book is all about being a female on the spectrum. Although I certainly recommend it, I personally did not find a great deal of value in it. I am more interested in the deeper, psychological aspects of living with Asperger’s Syndrome. I have also not suffered through as much difficulty in social scenarios throughout my life as many young men and women have. I’ve never really felt like I needed the kind of “tips and tricks” in list form that many books and memoirs have offered in recent years. Personally, I find I have a much stronger need for intimate connection with human minds that I can relate to. Instead of reading about how to get through a party with lots of people, I am more interested in how that situation felt, what the triggers were in terms of anxiety, how it compares to a broader social experience, etc. But these are just my thoughts! =)
Chameleon: An Asperger’s Memoir
Elizabeth Crawford (2018)
After decades of navigating a neurotypical world full of anxiety, fear, and self-doubt, Elizabeth was finally given an opinion from a psychologist that gave this facet of her identity a name—Asperger’s Syndrome. From inauthentic college friendships to discovering the real meaning of love, Chameleon places readers right beside the author as she tries to navigate a confusing reality that is inconsistent with what she’d expected as a child. Through careful observation, research, and reflection, Elizabeth arrived at a deeper understanding of her unique world, as well as her unique challenges within it.