My Recommendations: Books for Autism Families

April 17, 2020
(Some of my all time faves!)

Well, hey y’all. I haven’t posted anything in a month because I have been HOME SCHOOLING MY CHILD (not by choice) and adjusting to yet another NEW NORMAL for us, as a family living with Autism during COVID-19 + quarantine + safer at home mandates. By the way, for those of us who have lost track, it’s April and therefore:  Happy National Autism Awareness Month!

I will write more about how we are coping in a separate post, but I will say that I am encouraged daily by my child’s (and my) ability to adapt and be flexible and talk about the challenging things and the not-so-bad things.

In the meantime, I was recently asked about any book recommendations I would have, to help assist with a family’s journey in raising a child with autism. So for now, I’d like to share my TOP reference books for getting help and support along the way (and, on-going).

I’m not sure how many of us have “extra” time on our hands, but if we feel like we do and want to learn more about this world of autism, here are my enthusiastic recommendations:

1) The Highly Sensitive Child / Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D

*Exactly as it sounds — a great read on understanding our child’s “extra” sensitivities – physically, emotionally, psychologically. This was one of the first books I read when Arizona was initially diagnosed with “SPD” – sensory processing disorder. What happens when the world overwhelms our child?

2) The Reason I Jump / Naoki Higashida

*This heartwarming book (the inner voice of a 13 year old with autism) was written by a non-verbal Japanese boy who learned to communicate via device and express how he is living with his particular autism. A very mind-blowing and transformational read for those of us trying to understand the autism brain a little more. It definitely helped me understand my child, more deeply.

3) Raising a Sensory Smart Child / Lindsay Biel and Nancy Peske

*A ground-breaking handbook for parents of children suffering from Sensory Integration (SI) Dysfunction (also known as SPD – sensory processing disorder) examines the causes and implications of the disorder and offers indispensable advice on how to help youngsters overcome the ailment to normalize affected motor, speech, and social skills. Very thorough resource book!

4) Healing the New Childhood Epidemics (Autism / ADHD / ASTHMA and Allergies) – Kenneth Bock, MD

*This book used to be my BIBLE in the beginning of our journey. My daughter has “all” of these labels / diagnoses and this was a very straightforward and nurturing read that really helped calm me down! Note: I am not a huge fan of the word “healing” because it implies that we will reach a point of “complete graduation” from symptoms / diagnoses – and I don’t believe that to be necessarily true in all cases. Just my humble opinion! ALSO – at press time: this book is currently FREE via Amazon audible.

5) The Strong-Willed Child / Dr. James Dobson

*My mother actually had this book when I was a child and recommended it to me. I can’t imagine it was used as a handbook to help understand / raise me, haha! Note: there is a NEW version of this book called the NEW Strong-Willed Child (also by Dr. James Dobson) – now available via Amazon audible for FREE.

6) When You Worry About the One You Love / Dr. Edward Hallowell

*This book was especially helpful in understanding emotional, behavioral and learning challenges and looks at reasons (including genetics) as to why these might be. Great resource.

7) Driven to Distraction / Dr. Edward Hallowell

*I really respond well to this author – I like him. This was a helpful read when my child first received her official ADHD diagnosis at the age of 6. Another mom whose son was diagnosed with ADD a few years earlier gave me the recommendation. This book looks at how to recognize and methods for coping with, attention deficit disorder.

8) The Conscious Parent / Dr. Shefali Tsabary

*Dr. Shefali is a mentor who I have worked with in small groups, as an attendee to her talks and conferences, and I’ve taken her online courses …. this was single-handedly the most inspirational and spiritual book for me as a PARENT of a child with special needs – because it helps us to see our children as their OWN beings – not our mini mes that we are molding to feed / assuage our own egos. This book helped me to really understand how to honor my child for exactly who she is. Interestingly, this book isn’t specifically for special needs parents, but my takeaway from it really helped me transform myself by empowering my child. Fun fact: all of Dr. Shefali’s courses

9) The Motherhood Evolution: How Thriving Mothers Raise Thriving Children / Suzi Lula

*Suzi Lula, spiritual therapist and counselor, is my biggest inspiration behind understanding self-care as a mother, and more importantly, the re-defining of self-care as non-negotiable and imperative for my emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. I have never understood “put your own oxygen mask on first, before your child’s” better than after I read this book. Suzi takes us through a relationship of surviving with our children, to that of thriving. Highly recommend!

Okay, that’s it for now. Enjoy! I would love to hear about your recommendations as well. What books have assisted you the most in this life journey, even outside of parenting?

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