There are a gazillion different books about autism symptoms and treatment out there. If you have ever spent any time looking at a major bookstore’s autism shelf, or spent any time browsing online, you know that the number of titles can sometimes be overwhelming. Or else perhaps you find that you like everything you see, order everything under the sun and then find that only a small number of the books are actually readable. How do you find books about autism symptoms that actually work for you?
Autism books can be divided into several different categories.
You’ve got your autism memoirs, written by parents, usually mothers, about their experiences with their autistic child. You’ve got memoirs written by people with autism.
You’ve got fictional works where there is a main character with autism. And finally, perhaps the biggest category, and probably the most important one for someone new to autism looking to find out what it’s all about, you’ve got straight informational books about what autism is, and what you can do about it.
Now, some of these books are as dry as an encyclopedia. They use all kinds of technical jargon, and after reading two pages you feel like you want to cry.
Some are heavily biased towards bad news, and never give you any suggestions about what you can do to improve something, or any hope about the future. You want to avoid books like that – getting an autism diagnosis is hard enough without some author who doesn’t even know your child telling you there’s no hope.
Some are simply too clinical.
What to Look for in a Book on Autism Symptoms and Treatment
1. No Jargon!!!
So what do you want to look for in an informational book about autism symptoms and treatment? Well, you want something that uses plain, everyday language to communicate to you in terms that you can understand. So many books assume you already have a PhD in psychology and expect you to understand complex clinical terms…avoid this at all costs!
2. Find a Writer Who Has Been Through It and Succeeded
You want a book from someone who’s been there, and who you can relate to. A lot of informational books are written by therapists using a lot of fancy terms. But much better are the how-to books written by parents or professionals with autistic children who can give you practical advice about living with an autistic child because they’ve been there.
They know what your worries are. They can give you ideas on common autism topics, such as avoiding meltdowns, getting your child support and special education services at school, how to help your child if they are being bullied, how to deal with sensory issues and communication problems, and so much more. They can give you anecdotes from their own kids’ life to illustrate ways to solve problems.
3. Book Organization is Important
One thing you will realize when reading a book on how to help your child’s autism symptoms is that it can be overwhelming. There is a lot of information. You need a book that has a good index and where the information is easily skimmed to find what you are looking for.
Look for a book that have lists and bullet points, so you can take these strategies and use them in your daily life while having an easy to go to reference point. An index will also help for finding that particular topic you were wondering about.
4. The Information Should Help You Train Others
Additionally, a good book on autism symptoms and treatments will give you suggestions on what to tell relatives, teachers, babysitters and others that work with your child how to relate to them in a way that works for everyone. It is not only you that needs this education…it is your entire support network who needs to understand your child with autism. Tips on how to explain your child and their needs to others are often missing in books.
5. Books are Best if Age Specific
General books on autism are likely the first step in the process that most parents will take. However, over time, parents need additional information that is specific to their loved one. Is your loved one a child? A teenager? An adult? Each of these groups has specific needs and the solutions to their autism problems should be geared to these special needs.
A parent of a child with autism needs specific information…diagnosis, choosing a therapist, choosing a school, and how to speak with siblings. A teenager may face issues with dating, bullying or hygiene. Adults with autism – many of whom were never diagnosed early in life – need guidance on employment, personal relationships, keeping a marriage alive, self-advocacy, therapy options, possible group housing or government assistance.
One example of a series of books that generally follows this format is the series by Craig Kendall on autism and Asperger’s syndrome. As a father of a child with autism, Craig has created a series of books that deal with challenges parents and adults face.
There are many good books about autism symptoms out there, if you take the time to look.