Autism is a developmental disorder characterised by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communications and sensory oversensitivity. Here at Five Books, we have spoken to a number of experts on the subject and asked them to recommend the best books on autism.
They include the originator of the influential 'mind-blindness' theory and director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University, Simon Baron-Cohen; Barry Prizant, another of the world's leading scholars of autism spectrum disorders; and Uta Frith, professor of cognitive development and author of a fascinating book on autism through history.
Having a child diagnosed with autism, or an autism spectrum disorder, can be a frightening or stressful experience for a parent, but Prizant makes clear that there are positives, too: "In many ways, people with autism enhance our lives and help us to be better people," he told us, adding: "Yes, there are significant challenges . . . But many families and many people with autism do find, with the right support, we can understand them better."
By informing themselves as well as they can—through careful research, both online and in books recommended by our experts—parents might hope to move forward with optimism.
Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate: A User Guide to an Asperger Life
by Cynthia Kim
The Real Experts: Readings for Parents of Autistic Children
by Michelle Sutton (editor)
Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism
by Barry Prizant and Tom Fields-Meyer
Autism Adulthood: Strategies and Insights for a Fulfilling Life
by Susan Senator
The Eagle Tree
by Ned Hayes
Writing about autism has undergone an important shift, finally giving a voice to people with autism, says Steve Silberman, the winner of the 2015 Baillie Gifford Prize for his book tracing the history of autism, NeuroTribes. He picks the best new books on autism.
by Tom Fields-Meyer
Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently
by Steve Silberman
Seven Keys to Unlock Autism
by Elaine Hall
Understanding Autism for Dummies
by Stephen Shore and Linda Rastelli
Asperger's from the Inside Out
by Michael John Carley
The author of Autism and Talent and Autism in History puts her subject into historical context and tells us why studying the development of the mind continues to fascinate her
The head of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University tells us about myths surrounding autism and Asperger’s, and what inspired his own research into the subject
Autism expert Simon Baron Cohen tells us about the links between empathy and language, and says our acts of cruelty to one another have at their root a failure to empathise.