If you’re Canadian, you absolutely have to read the Anne of Green Gables series… (and even if you’re not – Canadian, I mean.) I think I read the first 3 in the series twenty times! My copies actually fell apart! And I’m crazy about Ken Follett (I’ve just started the 3rd book in his Century Trilogy), as well as Game of Thrones (natch!!! – is that seventh book ever coming out?!) Greg Iles is pretty awesome too – but beware – if you start his new fabulous novel called “Natchez Burning” – beware…. It’s a trilogy and I didn’t know this when I started. It’s like waiting for the next season of Game of Thrones to start. All that aside, you’re probably more interested in what I’ve found helpful in my quest to understand autism. These are my Top 10… (starting with my Top 5 – because 10 is too much for one read…)
- Thinking in Pictures – and other Reports from my Life with Autism – by Temple Grandin – an absolute must-read. She describes what it’s like to be in her head, and the ways that she’s figured out how to function and interact in a world she often does not understand. In fact, anything written by Temple is amazing – this just happens to be my favourite.
- The Way I See It – A Personal Look at Autism & Asperger’s – by Temple Grandin – ditto on the above – fabulous read.
- Emergence Labeled Autistic – by Temple Grandin and Margaret M. Scariano – you really just need to read all of these books by Dr. Grandin. In fact, I’m going to re-read some of these. It’s been a while since I waded through them.
- Making Peace with Autism – by Susan Senator – Susan is a writer/poet/advocate who writes eloquently and sometimes heartbreakingly about being a mother to an autistic child. It took me some time to get through this one, because she brought raw emotion to the fore – I would start sobbing and would have to put it down for awhile. But she also communicates that it’s going to be okay. I leant this book to a friend, who like me, has an autistic son. She could not get through it. She said she was “not ready to forgive it.” I totally got what she meant… but I also wanted some peace. Susan’s blog is fabulous, especially if you are American – she has great insight into services that are offered in her system. Find her at http://susansenator.com/blog/.
- Songs of the Gorilla Nation – My Journey Through Autism – by Dawn Prince-Hughes, Ph.D. – The best way to describe this is to quote Dawn herself: “This is a book about autism. Specifically, it is about my autism, which is both like and unlike other people’s autism. But just as much, it is a story about how I emerged from the darkness of it into the beauty of it.” Enough said…
And that’s the point, I think. There is beauty and advantage to being an autistic person. I’m not saying it’s not scary, or frustrating, or confusing. You just have to find those particular gifts and celebrate them. It has been a distinct pleasure and joy to watch Henry’s attributes and strengths grow.