When my son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, I turned to books. I knew about ASD from my psychology background, but that just told me the diagnostic criteria and what the “acceptable” treatments were. It didn’t tell me about the human experience of ASD, nor did it provide me with guidance or insight on parenting a child with ASD. I needed reassurance as a parent, I wanted a guidebook, a map, answers. But books about neurodiversity can only do so much. The answers, I’ve found, are by simply living day-to-day and letting my son teach me. What did help was reading anything and everything I could about neurodiversity—novels, nonfiction, parenting books, psychology books, middle-grade or children’s books, YA, etc.
What is neurodiversity? According to the National Symposium on Neurodiversity at Syracuse, it is “a concept where neurological differences are to be recognized and respected as any other human variation.” This can include ASD, dyslexia, ADHD, dyscalculia, Tourette syndrome, dyspraxia, and others. This is reflected in my book selection.
This list includes a variety of books about neurodiversity: fiction, nonfiction, memoir, parenting, and more. It contains books for adults, teens, and children. I’ve noted with (#ownvoices) when the author is neurodivergent.
I was lucky enough to read an ARC of this, and overall, I really liked the non-pathologizing of kids with different needs. Having a child with neurodifferences can be challenging, and this is a good guide to how to reframe your expectations and parenting skills to help facilitate their growth and happiness.
Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism by Barry M. Prizant
“Autism therapy typically focuses on ridding individuals of “autistic” symptoms such as difficulties interacting socially, problems in communicating, sensory challenges, and repetitive behavior patterns. Now Dr. Barry M. Prizant offers a new and compelling paradigm: the most successful approaches to autism don’t aim at fixing a person by eliminating symptoms, but rather seeking to understand the individual’s experience and what underlies the behavior.” This was one of the first books I read when I suspected my son was neurodivergent, and I really appreciated the idea of NOT changing my son’s behaviors.
All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism by Lydia Brown, E. Ashkenazy, Morenike Giwa Onaiwu (#ownvoices)
“Delve into poetry, essays, short fiction, photography, paintings, and drawings in the first-ever anthology entirely by autistic people of color, featuring 61 writers and artists from seven countries. The work here represents the lives, politics, and artistic expressions of Black, Brown, Latinx, Indigenous, Mixed-Race, and other racialized and people of color from many autistic communities, often speaking out sharply on issues of marginality, intersectionality, and liberation.”
Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism by Temple Grandin (#ownvoices)
“In this unprecedented book, Grandin delivers a report from the country of autism. Writing from the dual perspectives of a scientist and an autistic person, she tells us how that country is experienced by its inhabitants and how she managed to breach its boundaries to function in the outside world.”
Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood by Edward Hallowell and John Ratey
“Through vivid stories and case histories of patients—both adults and children—Hallowell and Ratey explore the varied forms ADHD takes, from hyperactivity to daydreaming. They dispel common myths, offer helpful coping tools, and give a thorough accounting of all treatment options as well as tips for dealing with a diagnosed child, partner, or family member. But most importantly, they focus on the positives that can come with this “disorder”—including high energy, intuitiveness, creativity, and enthusiasm.”
Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison (#ownvoices)
“Ever since he was young, John Robison longed to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits—an inclination to blurt out non sequiturs, avoid eye contact, dismantle radios, and dig five-foot holes (and stick his younger brother, Augusten Burroughs, in them)—had earned him the label “social deviant.” It was not until he was forty that he was diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. That understanding transformed the way he saw himself—and the world. A born storyteller, Robison has written a moving, darkly funny memoir about a life that has taken him from developing exploding guitars for KISS to building a family of his own. It’s a strange, sly, indelible account—sometimes alien yet always deeply human.”
Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism by Ron Suskind
“This is the real-life story of Owen Suskind, the son of the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind and his wife, Cornelia. An autistic boy who couldn’t speak for years, Owen memorized dozens of Disney movies, turned them into a language to express love and loss, kinship, brotherhood.The family was forced to become animated characters, communicating with him in Disney dialogue and song; until they all emerge, together, revealing how, in darkness, we all literally need stories to survive.”
We’re Amazing 1,2,3! A Story About Friendship and Autism (Sesame Street) by Leslie Kimmelman and Mary Beth Nelson
This is a great picture book for kids, whether they’re neurotypical or neurodivergent. Julia has autism, and the book explains what autism is in a way that’s easily understood by young children. Highly recommend this one.
An Early Start for Your Child with Autism: Using Everyday Activities to Help Kids Connect, Communicate, and Learn by Sally J Rogers, Geraldine Dawson, and Laurie A. Vismara
This book was recommended to me by the psychologist who diagnosed my son, and I love it. It’s one of the best books for parents that I’ve read. It doesn’t emphasize changing stereotypical behaviors, but encourages parents to build on the strengths of the child and help them understand things like functional play, connecting with others, and activities of daily living. No pathologizing, shaming, or changing.
The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida, KA Yoshida, and David Mitchell (#ownvoices)
“Using an alphabet grid to painstakingly construct words, sentences, and thoughts that he is unable to speak out loud, Naoki answers even the most delicate questions that people want to know. Questions such as: “Why do people with autism talk so loudly and weirdly?” “Why do you line up your toy cars and blocks?” “Why don’t you make eye contact when you’re talking?” and “What’s the reason you jump?” With disarming honesty and a generous heart, Naoki shares his unique point of view on not only autism but life itself.”
Kids Like Us by Hilary Reyl
“Martin is an American teen on the autism spectrum living in France with his mom and sister for the summer. He falls for a French girl who he thinks is a real-life incarnation of a character in his favorite book. Over time Martin comes to realize she is a real person and not a character in a novel while at the same time learning that love is not out of his reach just because he is autistic.”
Helping Your Child with Language-Based Learning Disabilities: Strategies to Succeed in School & Life with Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, ADHD & Processing Disorders by Daniel Franklin
“[This book] outlines an attachment-based approach to help your child succeed based in the latest research. This research indicates that a secure attachment relationship between you and your child actually optimizes their learning ability by enhancing motivation, regulating anxiety, and triggering neuroplasticity. In this book, you’ll discover why it’s so important to accurately assess your child, find new perspectives on LBLDs based on the most current studies, and discover tips and strategies for navigating school, home life, and your child’s future. Most importantly, you’ll learn how your own special bond with your child can help spark their interest in reading, writing, and math. Every child is unique—and every child learns in his or her own way. With this groundbreaking guide, you’ll be able to help your child thrive, in school and life.”
A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert (#ownvoices)
“After years of military service, Evan Miller wants a quiet life. The small town of Ravenswood seems perfect—until he stumbles upon a vicious web of lies with his new neighbour at its centre. Ruth Kabbah is rude, awkward, and—according to everyone in town—bad news. Thing is, no-one will tell Evan Does she perform ritual sacrifices? Howl at the moon? Pour the milk before the tea? He has no clue. But he desperately wants to find out. Because Ruth doesn’t seem evil to him; she seems lonely. And funny, and clumsy, and secretly quite sweet, and really f*%king beautiful…The more Evan’s isolated, eccentric neighbour pushes him away, the more he wants her. Her—and all her secrets.”
Aspergirls: Empowering Females with Asperger Syndrome by Rudy Simone (#ownvoices)
“This is a must-have handbook written by an Aspergirl for Aspergirls, young and old. Rudy Simone guides you through every aspect of both personal and professional life, from early recollections of blame, guilt, and savant skills, to friendships, romance and marriage. Employment, career, rituals and routines are also covered, along with depression, meltdowns and being misunderstood. Including the reflections of over thirty-five women diagnosed as on the spectrum, as well as some partners and parents, Rudy identifies recurring struggles and areas where Aspergirls need validation, information and advice. As they recount their stories, anecdotes, and wisdom, she highlights how differences between males and females on the spectrum are mostly a matter of perception, rejecting negative views of Aspergirls and empowering them to lead happy and fulfilled lives.”
A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass
“Thirteen-year-old Mia Winchell is far from ordinary: she suffers from a rare condition called synesthesia, the mingling of perceptions whereby a person can see sounds, smell colors, or taste shapes. When trouble in the school finally convinces Mia to reveal her secret, she feels like a freak; and as she embarks on an intense journey of self-discovery, her family and friends have trouble relating to her. By the time she realizes she has isolated herself from all the people who care about her, it is almost too late. Mia has to lose something very special in order to understand and appreciate her special gift in this coming-of-age novel.”
Love on my Mind by Tracey Livesay
“Successful PR executive Chelsea Grant is one assignment away from making partner at her firm and nothing will stand in her way. Her big break? Turn a reclusive computer genius into a media darling in time for his new product launch. He may have been dubbed the ‘sexiest geek alive’ but he has no patience for the press—and it shows. Piece of cake, right? Only problem is…his company doesn’t want him to know they hired her. After a disastrous product launch two years ago, tech CEO Adam Bennett knows the success of his new device depends on the media’s support. When a twist of fate brings the beautiful PR specialist to his door, Adam hires Chelsea to help turn his image around. Their attraction is undeniable and the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to keep things professional.”
My Baby Rides the Short Bus: The Unabashedly Human Experience of raising Kids with Disabilities edited by Yantra Bertelli, Jennifer Silverman, and Sarah Talbot
I recently read this and it was a breath of fresh air. Parents of children with a variety of neurological and physical disabilities and different abilities write with disarming honesty, dark humor, smart-assery, and love about the very real struggles, challenges, and beauty of everyday parenting.
The Elephant in the Playroom: Ordinary Parents Write Intimately and Honestly About Raising Kids with Special Needs edited by Denise Brodey
“…Brodey introduces us to a community of intrepid moms and dads who eloquently share the extraordinary highs and heartbreaking lows of parenting a child with ADD/ADHD, sensory disorders, childhood depression, autism, and physical and learning disabilities, as well as kids who fall between diagnoses. Hailing from Florida to Alaska, with kids ages three to thirty-three, the parents in this collection address everything from deciding to medicate a child to how they’ve learned to take care of themselves, offering readers comfort, kinship, and much- needed perspective.”
Odd Girl Out: My Extraordinary Autistic Life by Laura James (#ownvoices)
“With a touching and searing honesty, Laura challenges everything we think we know about what it means to be autistic. Married with four children and a successful journalist, Laura examines the ways in which autism has shaped her career, her approach to motherhood, and her closest relationships. Laura’s upbeat, witty writing offers new insight into the day-to-day struggles of living with autism, as her extreme attention to sensory detail—a common aspect of her autism—is fascinating to observe through her eyes.”
The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas (#ownvoices)
“’Sometimes I feel like everyone else was handed a copy of the rules for life and mine got lost.’ Grace is autistic and has her own way of looking at the world. She’s got a horse and a best friend who understand her, and that’s pretty much all she needs. But when Grace kisses Gabe and things start to change at home, the world doesn’t make much sense to her any more. Suddenly everything threatens to fall apart, and it’s up to Grace to fix it on her own.”
The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to be a Better Husband by David Finch (#ownvoices)
“Five years after he married Kristen, the love of his life, they learn that he has Asperger syndrome. The diagnosis explains David’s ever-growing list of quirks and compulsions, but it doesn’t make him any easier to live with. Determined to change, David sets out to understand Asperger syndrome and learn to be a better husband with an endearing yet hilarious zeal.”
Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X Stork
“Marcelo Sandoval hears music that nobody else can hear—part of an autism-like condition that no doctor has been able to identify. But his father has never fully believed in the music or Marcelo’s differences, and he challenges Marcelo to work in the mailroom of his law firm for the summer…to join “the real world.” There Marcelo meets Jasmine, his beautiful and surprising coworker, and Wendell, the son of another partner in the firm. He learns about competition and jealousy, anger and desire. But it’s a picture he finds in a file a picture of a girl with half a face that truly connects him with the real world: its suffering, its injustice, and what he can do to fight.”
Asperger’s Children: The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna by Edith Sheffer
This was a hard, hard book to read, especially considering the current fascist leanings of the government. It was ultimately worth pushing through and finishing, and there are a lot of lessons to be learned in this one.
Love That Boy: What Two Presidents, Eight Road Trips, and my Son Taught me about a Parent’s Expectations by Ron Fournier
“[This book] is a uniquely personal story about the causes and costs of outsized parental expectations. What we want for our children—popularity, normalcy, achievement, genius—and what they truly need—grit, empathy, character—are explored by National Journal’s Ron Fournier, who weaves his extraordinary journey to acceptance around the latest research on childhood development and stories of other loving-but-struggling parents.”
This was the first book recommended to me by my son’s OT, and has a wealth of information about sensory issues, developmental issues, and how to work with your child and his/her needs. Highly recommend.
How to Be Human: Diary of an Autistic Girl by Florida Frenz (#ownvoices)
“With powerful words and pictures Florida Frenz chronicles her journey figuring out how to read facial expressions, how to make friends, how to juggle all the social cues that make school feel like a complicated maze. Diagnosed with autism as a two-year-old, Florida is now an articulate 15-year-old whose explorations into how kids make friends, what popularity means, how to handle peer pressure will resonate with any pre-teen. For those wondering what it’s like inside an autistic child’s head, Florida’s book provides amazing insight and understanding. Reading how she learns how to be human makes us all feel a little less alien.”
Rules by Cynthia Lord
“Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She’s spent years trying to teach David the rules from ‘a peach is not a funny-looking apple’ to ‘keep your pants on in public’—in order to head off David’s embarrassing behaviors. But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a surprising, new sort-of friend, and Kristi, the next-door friend she’s always wished for, it’s her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal?”
Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap: NT is ok! By Clay Morton, Gail Morton, and Alex Merry
“Johnny is different. He is never exactly on time, he can’t seem to stick to a routine and he often speaks in cryptic idioms. Johnny is neurotypical, but that’s OK. A picture book with a difference, [the book] turns the tables on common depictions of neurological difference by drolly revealing how people who are not on the autistic spectrum are perceived by those who are. The autistic narrator’s bafflement at his neurotypical friend’s quirks shows that ‘normal’ is simply a matter of perspective.”
The Power of Neurodiversity: Unleashing the Advantages of Your Differently Wired Brain by Thomas Armstrong
“ADHD. dyslexia. autism. the number of illness categories listed by the American Psychiatric Association has tripled in the last fifty years. With so many people affected, it is time to revisit our perceptions on this ‘culture of disabilities.’…Thomas Armstrong illuminates a new understanding of neuropsychological disorders. He argues that if they are a part of the natural diversity of the human brain, they cannot simply be defined as illnesses. Armstrong explores the evolutionary advantages, special skills, and other positive dimensions of these conditions.”
Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking by Julia Bascom (#ownvoices)
“A collection of essays written by and for Autistic people. Spanning from the dawn of the Neurodiversity movement to the blog posts of today, Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking catalogues the experiences and ethos of the Autistic community and preserves both diverse personal experiences and the community’s foundational documents together side by side.”
Authoring Autism: On Rhetoric and Neurological Queerness by Melanie Yergeau (#ownvoices)
“Melanie Yergeau defines neurodivergence as an identity—neuroqueerness—rather than an impairment. Using a queer theory framework, Yergeau notes the stereotypes that deny autistic people their humanity and the chance to define themselves while also challenging cognitive studies scholarship and its reification of the neurological passivity of autistics. She also critiques early intensive behavioral interventions—which have much in common with gay conversion therapy—and questions the ableist privileging of intentionality and diplomacy in rhetorical traditions. Using storying as her method, she presents an alternative view of autistic rhetoricity by foregrounding the cunning rhetorical abilities of autistics and by framing autism as a narrative condition wherein autistics are the best-equipped people to define their experience….”
A List of Cages by Robin Roe
“When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian—the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years…”
Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde (#ownvoices)
“Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought. Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.”
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
“Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.”
Med Head: My Knock-Down, Drag-out, Drugged-Up Battle with my Brain, as told by James Patterson and Hal Friedman
Hal Friedman’s son, Cory, has OCD, as well as Tourette Syndrome, depression, anxiety, and alcohol addiction. This is his story.
When I was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds and Michael Frost
“Ali’s got enough going on, between school and boxing and helping out at home. His best friend Noodles, though. Now there’s a dude looking for trouble—and, somehow, it’s always Ali around to pick up the pieces. But, hey, a guy’s gotta look out for his boys, right? Besides, it’s all small potatoes; it’s not like anyone’s getting hurt. And then there’s Needles. Needles is Noodles’s brother. He’s got a syndrome, and gets these ticks and blurts out the wildest, craziest things. It’s cool, though: everyone on their street knows he doesn’t mean anything by it. Yeah, it’s cool…until Ali and Noodles and Needles find themselves somewhere they never expected to be…somewhere they never should’ve been—where the people aren’t so friendly, and even less forgiving.”
My Thirteenth Winter: A Memoir by Samantha Abeel (#ownvoices)
“Samantha Abeel couldn’t tell time, remember her locker combination, or count out change at a checkout counter—and she was in seventh grade. For a straight-A student like Samantha, problems like these made no sense. She dreaded school, and began having anxiety attacks. In her thirteenth winter, she found the courage to confront her problems—and was diagnosed with a learning disability. Slowly, Samantha’s life began to change again. She discovered that she was stronger than she’d ever thought possible—and that sometimes, when things look bleakest, hope is closer than you think.”
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
“Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow. This improbable story of Christopher’s quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.”
The Real Experts: Readings for Parents of Autistic Children edited by Michelle Sutton (#ownvoices)
“Who better to help us understand autistic children and their needs, than the people who have actually been autistic children? Listening to the insights and experiences shared by autistic bloggers has helped Michelle Sutton to help her two autistic children to thrive…Michelle has collected writings from a dozen autistic authors, containing “insider” wisdom on autism that has been invaluable to her family. The result is an extraordinary resource for families with autistic children, and also for educators, therapists, and other professionals.”
Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate: A User Guide to an Asperger Life by Cynthia Kim (#ownvoices)
“Cynthia Kim explores all the quirkyness of living with Asperger Syndrome (ASD) in this accessible, witty and honest guide looking from an insider perspective at some of the most challenging and intractable aspects of being autistic. Her own life presents many rich examples. From being labelled nerdy and shy as an undiagnosed child to redefining herself when diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome as an adult, she describes how her perspective shifted to understanding a previously confusing world and combines this with the results of extensive research to explore the ‘why’ of ASD traits. She explains how they impact on everything from self-care to holding down a job and offers typically practical and creative strategies to help manage them, including a section on the vestibular, sensory and social benefits of martial arts for people with autism.”
Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight: What to do if you are Sensory Defensive in an Overstimulating World by Sharon Heller, PhD (#ownvoices)
“We all know what it feels like to be irritated by loud music, accosted by lights that are too bright, or overwhelmed by a world that moves too quickly. But millions of people suffer from Sensory Defensive Disorder (SD), a common affliction in which people react to harmless stimuli not just as a distracting hindrance, but a potentially dangerous threat. Sharon Heller, PhD is not only a trained psychologist, she is sensory defensive herself. Bringing both personal and professional perspectives, Dr. Heller is the ideal person to tell the world about this problem that will only increase as technology and processed environments take over our lives.”
Views from Our Shoes: Growing up with a Brother or Sister with Special Needs edited by Donald Meyer
“The children whose essays are featured here range from four to eighteen and are the siblings of youngsters with a variety of special needs, including autism, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, ADD, hydrocephalus, visual and hearing impairments, Down and Tourette syndromes. Their personal tales introduce young siblings to others like them, perhaps for the first time, and allow them to compare experiences. A glossary of disabilities provides easy-to-understand definitions of many of the conditions mentioned.”
Riding the Bus with my Sister by Rachel Simon
“Rachel Simon’s sister Beth is a spirited woman who lives intensely and often joyfully. Beth, who has an intellectual disability, spends her days riding the buses in her unnamed Pennsylvania city. The drivers, a lively group, are her mentors; her fellow passengers are her community. One day, Beth asks Rachel to accompany her on the buses for an entire year. This wise, funny, deeply affecting true story is the chronicle of that remarkable time.”
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
“Caitlin has Asperger’s. The world according to her is black and white; anything in between is confusing. Before, when things got confusing, Caitlin went to her older brother, Devon, for help. But Devon was killed in a school shooting, and Caitlin’s dad is so distraught that he is just not helpful. Caitlin wants everything to go back to the way things were, but she doesn’t know how to do that. Then she comes across the word closure—and she realizes this is what she needs. And in her search for it, Caitlin discovers that the world may not be so black and white after all.”
Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin
“Jason Blake is an autistic 12-year-old living in a neurotypical world. Most days it’s just a matter of time before something goes wrong. But Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does. Jason can be himself when he writes and he thinks that PhoenixBird—her name is Rebecca—could be his first real friend. But as desperate as Jason is to meet her, he’s terrified that if they do meet, Rebecca will only see his autism and not who Jason really is.”
Rain Reign by Ann M Martin
“Rose Howard is obsessed with homonyms. She’s thrilled that her own name is a homonym, and she purposely gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein), which, according to Rose’s rules of homonyms, is very special. Not everyone understands Rose’s obsessions, her rules, and the other things that make her different—not her teachers, not other kids, and not her single father. When a storm hits their rural town, rivers overflow, the roads are flooded, and Rain goes missing. Rose’s father shouldn’t have let Rain out. Now Rose has to find her dog, even if it means leaving her routines and safe places to search.”
Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke
“Jack might be the only kid in the world who’s dreading summer. But he’s got a good reason: summer is when his single mom takes a second job and leaves him at home to watch his autistic kid sister, Maddy. It’s a lot of responsibility, and it’s boring, too, because Maddy doesn’t talk. Ever. But then, one day at the flea market, Maddy does talk—to tell Jack to trade their mom’s car for a box of mysterious seeds. It’s the best mistake Jack has ever made.”
Ido in Autismland by Ido Kedar (#ownvoices)
“[This book] opens a window into non-verbal autism through dozens of short, autobiographical essays each offering new insights into autism symptoms, effective and ineffective treatments and the inner emotional life of a severely autistic boy. In his pithy essays, author Ido Kedar, a brilliant sixteen year old with autism, challenges what he believes are misconceptions in many theories that dominate autism treatment today while he simultaneously chronicles his personal growth in his struggles to overcome his limitations.
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (#ownvoices)
“Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases—a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old. It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice—with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan—from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but crave all of the other things he’s making her feel.”
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
“The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers. Rosie Jarman possesses all these qualities. Don easily disqualifies her as a candidate for The Wife Project (even if she is “quite intelligent for a barmaid”). But Don is intrigued by Rosie’s own quest to identify her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on The Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.”
What books about neurodiversity do you recommend?
Looking for more on books about neurodiversity? Check out Think Differently: A Neurodiversity Little Free Library.