Center for Children with Special Needs

Books We Recommend for Autism

13 Books: from understanding your child's diagnosis, to helpful strategies and tips, toilet training and more. 

1. Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm (2012).

Helps parents, grandparents, babysitters understand the needs of children with ASD. In multiple languages.

This guide goes over important topics such as:

  • My sensory perceptions are disordered
  • Distinguish between won’t and can’t
  • I am a concrete thinker
  • I interpret language literally
  • Be patient with my limited vocabulary
  • Because language is so difficult for me, I am very visually oriented
  • Focus and build on what I can do rather than what I can’t do
  • Help me with social interactions
  • Identify what triggers my meltdowns.

2. Autism Spectrum Disorders: What Every Parent Needs to Know by Drs. Alan I Rosenblatt and Paul S. Carbone. American Academy of Pediatrics (2019).

Straightforward book discusses symptoms, diagnosing, accessing services, behavioral treatments, complementary/alternative medicine, adolescence and beyond. Includes stories by parents.

Helps you understand how ASDs are defined and diagnosed and provides you with information on the most current types of behavioral and developmental therapies. It also helps parents understand what they can do to help promote a smooth transition from adolescence through the teen years and into adulthood.

Topics include:

  • Symptoms
  • Frequency and types of ASDs
  • Accessing care
  • Services in the community
  • Tapping into educational resources
  • Behavioral and developmental treatment
  • The role of complementary and alternative medicine 
  • Screening tools
  • Adolescence and beyond

3. An Early Start for Your Child with Autism: Using Everyday Activities to Help Kids Connect, Communicate, and Learn by Sally J. Rogers and Geraldine Dawson (2012).

Research reveals that parents can play a huge role in helping toddlers and preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) connect with others and live up to their potential. Provides practical strategies parents can use to turn daily routines such as breakfast or bath time into fun and rewarding learning experiences that target crucial developmental skills.

4. Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies, and Hope That Can Transform a Child’s Life by Lynn Kern Koegel and Claire LaZebnik (2014).

Explanation of Response Therapy, a kind of behavior therapy used in natural settings.

Experts discuss “pivotal response” approach developed at the center to provide concrete ways of improving the symptoms of autism and the emotional struggles that surround it, while reminding readers never to lose sight of the humor that lurks in the disability quirkiness or the importance of enjoying your child. From the shock of diagnosis to the step-by-step work with verbal communication, social interaction, self-stimulation, meltdowns, fears, and more

5. A Parents’ Guide to High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder: How to Meet the Challenges and Help Your Child Thrive by Sally Ozonoff, Geraldine Dawson, and James McPartland (2014).

Useful guide for parents work with children’s unique impairments and harness his or her capabilities for children with high functioning ASD, including Asperger syndrome. Topics include:

  • How ASD is diagnosed
  • What treatments and educational supports work
  • Implications of DSM-5 diagnostic changes
  • Helping children relate to pears, learn rules of appropriate behavior, and succeed in school

6. Visual Supports for People with Autism: A Guide for Parents and Professionals by Marlene Cohen (2016).

Visual supports are pictorial, graphic, or scheduling aids. This book outlines visual aid tools for teaching academic, daily living, and self-help skills to people with autism. Shows teachers, parents, and service providers how to make low-tech visual supports, and offers strategies for using them. Visual aids include:

  • Activity schedules
  • Calendars
  • Charts
  • Checklists & to-do lists
  • Color coding
  • Flip books
  • Graphic organizers
  • Mnemonics
  • Name tags
  • Photo boards
  • Power Cards
  • Scripts
  • Social Stories
  • Video modeling

7. 101 Ways to Do ABA! Practical and Amusing Positive Behavioral Tips for Implementing ABA Strategies in Your Home, Your Classroom, and the Community by Tameika Meadows, BCBA (2012).

Discusses strategies to handle persistent, challenging behaviors.Topics include:

  • Tantrums
  • Self-stimulatory behaviors
  • Attending to the teacher in a classroom
  • Dining out in restaurants

... all from an Applied Behavior Analysis perspective.

8. ABA Programs for Kids with Autism: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers by Dr. Gary Brown (2014)

Discusses 25 ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) programs designed as guidelines for parents and caregivers of children with behavioral problems and developmental delays associated with nuropsych disorders such as Autism. Also includes helpful tips for helping your child with Autism and an updated list of recommended iOS apps to help your child. 

9. Teach Toileting: A Revolutionary Approach for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders by Deborah Bialer (2014).

It is the change to the location of the bathroom that challenges your child, not purposeful resistance to toileting. "My child refuses to sit and pee; he just runs out of the bathroom and then pees on my couch."

10. Toilet Training for Individuals with Autism by Maria Wheeler (2012).

Toilet training roadmap for success. Includes easy-to-read bulleted lists offer over 200 do's and don'ts, along with more than fifty real-life examples. Learn how to gauge readiness, overcome fear of the bathroom, teach how to use toilet paper, flush and wash up and deal with toileting in unfamiliar environments. A life preserver for parents and reluctant children!

11. Autism Every Day: Over 150 Strategies Lived and Learned by a Professional Autism Consultant with Three Sons on the Spectrum by Alyson Beytien (2011).

Practical ideas for handling autism, every day. Outlines over 150 tried-and-true techniques for home, school, and community. Covering a full array of issues―from picky-eating and echolalia to IEPs and “The Woes of Walmart”

12. The Incredible 5-Point Scale: Second Edition, Assisting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Understanding Social Interactions and Controlling Their Emotional Responses by Kari Dunn Buron and Mitzi Curtis (2012).

Shows how the use of a simple 5-point scale can help students understand and control their emotional reactions to everyday events. How to: break down a given behavior and, with the student's active participation, develop a scale that identifies the problem and suggests alternative, positive behaviors at each level of the scale.

13. The New Social Story Book, Revised and Expanded 15th Anniversary Edition: Over 150 Stories that Teach Everyday Social Skills to Children and Adults with Autism, and Their Peers by Carol Gray and Tony Attwood (2015).

Promotes real social understanding in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) through Social Stories . A standard approach for teachers and parents all over the globe, and the stories are more effective than ever! Offers over 150 of the most requested Social Stories.