Thanks to my friend Rae, at powerfulwomenreaders for her post on Autism Acceptance Month/Autism Awareness Day. it reminded me that I wanted to post about this as well. Many of you may be aware that my grandson is on the Autism Spectrum and my BFF has a son, who is now a young adult, that also has autism. I was the principal at a school that had three classes of students with varying learning issues, many of them with autism. As you can see, this is something that is near and dear to my heart
A Few Facts About Autism
- Autism spectrum disorder now affects 1 in 68 children. Boys are nearly 5 times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with ASD.
- Autism spectrum disorder is one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the United States. ASD is more common than childhood cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined.
- In the late 1990s, the diagnostic title changed to reflect a more politically correct social environment. Now the proper expression is “people with autism or autism spectrum disorder”. (Carla here, I dislike when someone says my grandson is Autistic. He is a little boy with autism)
- Autism spectrum disorder is not degenerative. Individuals with ASD can continuously improve. They are most likely to improve with specialized, individualized services and opportunities for supported inclusion.
- Children and adults with autism spectrum disorder often care deeply but lack the ability to spontaneously develop empathic and socially connected typical behavior. Individuals with ASD often want to socially interact but lack the ability to spontaneously develop effective social interaction skills.
- Co-morbid medical conditions in autism spectrum disorder are common and may include: allergies, asthma, epilepsy, digestive disorders, feeding disorders, sleeping disorders, sensory integration dysfunction, cognitive impairments and other medical disorders.
- Each child with autism spectrum disorder is a unique individual; people with ASD differ as much from one another as do all people. Children and adults with ASD may speak or interact with others. They may have good eye contact. They may be verbal or non-verbal. They may be very bright, of average intelligence or have cognitive deficits.
- Hyperlexia, the ability to read above one’s age or grade level in school, commonly accompanies autism spectrum disorder.
- Individuals with autism spectrum disorder may be very creative and find a passion and talent for music, theater, art, dance and singing quite easily.
- Many people with autism spectrum disorder are successfully living and working and contributing to the well being of others in their local communities. This is most likely to happen when appropriate services are delivered during the child’s educational years.
This Autism Awareness month (and every month), it’s important to recognize the need for positive representation in fiction, as well as the amazing impact that neurodiversity has on literature.
There are more and more books being written that have characters with autism. I have read some great stories that depict these characters very well. I wish I had kept a list of some of them. Instead, I went online and found a list. I am only including ones that I have read and rated four or five stars.
Bring Him Home by Nicole Trope
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
The Original Ginny Moon by Ludwig Benjamin
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Some Choose Darkness by Charlie Donlea
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
House Rules by Jodi Picoult
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant
Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer
Because You’re Mine by Rea Frey
There are so many more books that should be included in this list. I hope to post a list of children’s books later in the month.
If you have read a book that you would recommend that has a character with autism, please include it in the comments below.