Autism Acceptance Day and Month

World Autism Acceptance Day is April 2, 2021. It kicks off Autism Acceptance Month, a global and national effort to help increase understanding and acceptance of the autism spectrum. One in 68 children in the U.S. is born with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Autism is a complex group of developmental disorders that may also affect a person's ability to communicate and interact with others and may be accompanied by other health issues. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is still learning about the causes of autism spectrum disorder, and there is no known cure. However, early diagnosis, therapies, and support for specific symptoms can be helpful.

The organizations below are helpful to persons with autism and their families in navigating the many resources and information available to them.

The Asperger/Autism Network (AANE) serves children and adults and provides a mixture of in-person and virtual services to meet the needs of autistic adults, family members, neurodiverse couples, and professionals, no matter where they live. The AANE community is geared towards families and individuals with high-functioning autism (formerly known as Asperger's syndrome, now an outdated diagnosis), but no formal diagnosis is needed to attend conferences/programs, seek referrals, or access support. AANE is unique in that people with ASD are involved in every aspect of the organization—from being on the board and volunteering to serving on committees and as paid staff. Also, AANE parent coaches and support specialists are “dual-certified,” with both lived experience in autism and professional expertise.

Autism New Jersey is a nonprofit agency committed to ensuring safe and fulfilling lives for individuals with autism, their families, and the professionals who support them. Through awareness, credible information, education, and public policy initiatives, Autism New Jersey leads the way to lifelong individualized services provided with skill and compassion. They recognize the autism community’s many contributions to society and work to enhance their resilience, abilities, and quality of life. This site has great resources and information specifically about New Jersey resources and governmental agencies and services that will be useful for New Jersey residents with Autism and their families.

The Autism Society of America is a grass-roots organization with chapters across the United States, offering person-to-person, community-based support, insights, and advocacy. The Autism Society also provides an online database of local information and recommendations for parents and autism providers. If you need help finding the best therapists, navigating schools, finding a dentist, or even a buddy group for your child, the local chapter will probably be your best resource.

Autism Speaks. Founded by former NBC executive Bob Wright and his family, Autism Speaks has created international events such as "Light It Up Blue" and the Autism Speaks Walk program, the latter of which has raised over $305 million. Eighty-five percent of the organization's funds go towards research, advocacy, programs, and services for both autistic children and adults. Its “Learn the Signs” public service campaign, in particular, is credited with raising parental awareness of autism by 50%.

Here some books with autism as a subject available for check-out from the Mercer County Library:

Autism books for children and teens:

After the Worst Thing Happens by Audrey Vernick. Twelve-year-old Army is reeling after her thoughtlessness leads to her dog's death, but channels her grief into a plan to help keep the new neighbors' autistic daughter from wandering away.

Bad Best Friend
by Rachel Vail. Eighth-grader Niki's best friend, Ava, dumps her just as life at home is becoming more complicated by her brother Danny's behavior and her mother's refusal to admit Danny is on the autism spectrum.

A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold. When his veterinarian mom brings home a stray baby skunk that needs rehabilitation before it can be placed in a wild animal shelter, Bat, who has autism, resolves to prove that he is up to the challenge of caring for the skunk permanently.

The Boy Who Steals Houses by C. G. Drews. Sam is only fifteen but he and his autistic older brother, Avery, have been abandoned by every relative he's ever known. Now Sam's trying to build a new life for them. He survives by breaking into empty houses when their owners are away, until one day he's caught out when a family returns home.

Can You See Me? By Libby Scott & Rebecca Westcott. Hiding her struggles on the autism spectrum from her new classmates at Kingswood Academy, sixth grader Tally questions her understanding of what normal means when her best friend begins to feel uncomfortable. Scott has autism.

Funny, You Don't Look Autistic: A Comedian's Guide to Life on the Spectrum by Michael McCreary. Stand-up comic and activist Michael McCreary describes how he was diagnosed with ASD in early childhood and found healing and empowerment through journaling, as a comedian, and in dispelling misconceptions about autism.

My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete, Ryan Elizabeth Peete and Rodney Peete. From bestselling author and actress Holly Robinson Peete--a heartwarming story about a boy who happens to be autistic, based on Holly's son, who has autism. A girl tells what it is like living with her twin brother who has autism and sometimes finds it hard to communicate with words, but who, in most ways, is just like any other boy. Includes authors' note about autism.

The Space We're In by Katya Balen. Ten-year-old Frank's life revolves around his autistic brother, five-year-old Max, but after many changes over the course of a year, he discovers that he loves Max and is proud of him.

The Survival Guide for Kids With Autism Spectrum Disorders and Their Parents by Elizabeth Verdick & Elizabeth Reeve, M.D. Offers children and parents a resource for understanding autism and provides strategies for coping with the challenges they face.

We Could Be Heroes by Margaret Finnegan. Fourth-graders Maisie and Hank, who has autism, become friends as they devise schemes to save a neighbor's dog, Booler, from being tied to a tree because of his epilepsy.

Autism books for adults:

I Have Been Buried Under Years of Dust: A Memoir of Autism and Hope by Valerie Gilpeer & Emily Grodin. A poet with nonverbal autism and her mother recount their shared 25-year struggle with unsuccessful therapies before an astonishing breakthrough led to a communication awakening and remarkable insights into the neurological science of the autism experience.

Intelligent Love: The Story of Clara Park, Her Autistic Daughter, and the Myth of the Refrigerator Mother by Marga Vicedo. A science historian, drawing on previously unexamined archival sources and firsthand interviews, reveals the story of how one mother challenged the medical establishment and misconceptions about autistic children and their parents.

Parenting & Asperger's: A Practical Handbook to Help You and Your Child Navigate Daily Life by Michael Uram. Everyday parenting techniques to support kids ages 6 to 16 with Asperger’s. Raising a child with Asperger’s can be both exciting and challenging. This book equips you with the confidence and tools to help them better communicate, understand social cues, and adapt to changes.

The Pattern Seekers: How Autism Drives Human Invention by Simon Baron-Cohen. The director of Cambridge’s Autism Research Centre identifies the evolutionary link between autism and ingenuity, revealing that people on the spectrum have played an essential role in human progress, often at the expense of their social well-being.

Different... Not Less: Inspiring Stories of Achievement and Successful Employment from Adults With Autism, Asperger's, and ADHD by Temple Grandin & Tony Atwood. Temple’s primary mission is to help people with ASD and ADHD tap into their hidden abilities. Temple chose contributors from a wide variety of skill sets to show how this can be done. Each individual tells their own story, in their own words, about their lives, including relationships, bullying, making eye contact, honing social skills, and eventual careers.

Launching Your Autistic Youth to Successful Adulthood: Everything You Need to Know About Promoting Independence and Planning for the Future by Katharina Manassis. Drawing on her experiences as the mother of a child on the autism spectrum and a child psychiatrist, Katharina Manassis shares common transition-related challenges and offers real solutions for each. The book helps parents and teens plan for every stage of the journey.

Safeguarding Your Child with Autism: Strategies and Tools to Reduce Risks by Jack Scott, et al. The authors, who are specialists in special education and autism safety, a director of a school for students with autism, and a parent of a child with autism, explain how to keep children and teens with autism spectrum disorder safe from unintentional injury, focusing on hazards around the house and at school that pose an immediate danger. They describe information and data on the risk status of children with autism; ways to approach child safety; how to teach children with autism to be safe; major risk areas, including drowning, poisoning, and other hazards, as well as the importance of community partnerships; safety risks at school, including bullying and the use of physical restraints, and how to use the Individualized Education Program process to ensure goals related to safety are included in an educational plan; elopement and wandering; devices and technology to ensure safety; collaborating with first responders and other community safety partners; and future directions for safety.

What Science Tells Us About Autism Spectrum Disorder: Making the Right Choices for Your Child by Raphael A. Bernier, Geraldine Dawson & Joel T. Nigg. From leading autism researchers, this accessible guide helps you put the latest advances to work for your unique child. Separating fact from fiction about causes, treatments, and prevention, the book guides you to make lifestyle choices that support the developing brain. From the impact of sleep, exercise, diet, and technology, to which type of professional help might be the right fit, the authors cover it all with expertise and compassion. Learn about the choices you face--and the steps you can take--to build a happier, healthier life for your child and family.

Right from the Start: A Practical Guide for Helping Young Children with Autism by Karin Donahue & Kate Crassons. This book is a comprehensive yet accessible resource explaining the best practices for teaching young children with autism, especially in its milder forms. It offers practical, easy-to-use strategies for building social and emotional skills—strategies that enrich the learning environment for neurotypical children as well.

The Boy Who Felt Too Much: How a Renowned Neuroscientist and His Son Changed Our View of Autism Forever by Lorenz Wagner & Leon Dische Becker. An international bestseller, the story behind Henry Markram's breakthrough theory about autism, and how a family's unconditional love led to a scientific paradigm shift. He has set the goal of decoding all disturbances of the mind within a generation. This quest is personal for him. The driving force behind his grand ambition has been his son Kai, who has autism. Raising Kai made Henry Markram question all that he thought he knew about neuroscience, and then inspired his groundbreaking research that would upend the conventional wisdom about autism, expressed in his now-famous theory of Intense World Syndrome.

Come in to (or call) your local branch to find more books and information on autism this month!

- by Larry M., Acquisitions and Cataloging