Life, Animated by Ron Suskind
Temple Grandin by Thinking in Pictures
Born on Blue Day by Daniel Tammet
Look Me In The Eye by John Elder Robinson
I Am Intelligent by Peyton Goddard
We hear so much about autism and the spectrum, but what is it, exactly? Is it just excessive geekiness? Consider that what makes us so successful as a species is our ability to communicate, and not just through words but with complex social cues. It’s instinctive; babies seek out faces, adults can decipher expressions and body language at a glance. Except when they can’t. For people on the spectrum, parts of the brain are wired differently. They have to learn social interactions as if it were a foreign language. Temple Grandin likened it to being an anthropologist on Mars.
You can follow these anthropological journeys in Life, Animated by Pulitzer prizewinning journalist and father of an autistic child Ron Suskind, Thinking in Pictures by autism pioneer Temple Grandin, Born on Blue Day by autistic savant Daniel Tammet, and Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison, the autistic brother of Augusten Burroughs, who has problems of his own (Running With Scissors.)
For a darker look at the dangers a girl with autism can face, seek out Donna Williams Nobody Nowhere and Somebody Somewhere or Dawn Prince-Hughes Songs of the Gorilla Nation. Or see what it’s like to advocate for a for a special needs child whose behavior is unacceptably violent with I Am Intelligent by Peyton Goddard. (Ask us how to get these books via Interlibrary Loan.)
Then see why your brain screams at you to avoid people who act differently by reading The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker. We’re all of us different, but some are more different than others.