April 17th, 2010

books

National Autism Awareness Month

April is National Autism Awareness Month. To quote The Autism Society of America (ASA), "In order to highlight the growing need for concern and awareness about autism, ASA has been celebrating National Autism Awareness Month since the 1970s. The United States recognizes April as a special opportunity for everyone to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community."

One person CAN make a difference. One event CAN raise awareness.

Want to learn more about autism and help raise awareness and funds for autism research and related programs?

ASA has posted Eight ways you can celebrate National Autism Awareness Month.

1Power4Autism is described as "a grassroots event program for the Autism Society of America to increase awareness, raise funds, and expand volunteers for national and local autism support programs."

Cynthia Lord highly recommends http://www.thejointlibrary.org/autism/ - She says it's a great resource for librarians.

Booklist

Many fictional books address autism. Here are a few I recommend for kids and teens - and adults, and families, and libraries!

Rules by Cynthia Lord
The Baby-Sitters Club #32: Kristy and the Secret of Susan by Ann M. Martin
Inside Out by Ann M. Martin (this stand-alone novel is not related to BSC)
Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
A Wizard Alone by Diane Duane (sixth in the fantastic Young Wizards series)
Are You Alone on Purpose? by Nancy Werlin

And More

Adults might want to check out The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. I have yet to read it, but I am including it here because friends and co-workers strongly recommend it.

My dear friend Lorie Ann Grover offered a recommendation for a non-fiction book for adults: Too Wise to Be Mistaken, Too Good to Be Unkind by Cathy Steere. Lorie Ann says, "It does have a strong Christian perspective with reformed theology." Being non-religious myself, I appreciate this note.

A close friend recommends Let Me Hear Your Voice by Catherine Maurice, a memoir. She said it "rings very true when it comes to describing the effect of Applied Behavior Analysis (the tested training needed to make autistic kids learn behavioral and language skills) on a family."

Another very close friend recommends All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome by Kathy Hoopmann and anything written by Dr. Temple Grandin. "Autism and Asperger's are both part of a larger group of disorders called Pervasive Developmental Disorders," she explains. "I think it's important, too, to emphasize that this is a spectrum. Some people with autism don't speak. Some seem almost entirely normal but just come off as being a little strange."

Cynthia Lord's adorable children's novel, Rules, was inspired by her son's autism. I interviewed her at length back in 2006 and we've been in touch ever since. Back then, she offered various book recommendations, including A Slant of Sun: One Child's Courage by Beth Kephart, "a beautifully-written and moving account of the author's life with her own son with autism."

She also had this to say: "Words define things, but when it comes to people, we are always more than any word, any label -- a greater whole than all our bits and pieces. We 'are,' and that is enough. Nowhere is that more true than in people with autism."