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Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month. Check out these these adult fiction books featuring characters with autism and learn more about ASD from the included non-fiction titles.

The boy who felt too much : how a renowned neuroscientist and his son changed our image of autism forever by Lorenz Wagner

"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. Henry Markram is the Elon Musk of neuroscience, the man behind the billion-dollar Blue Brain Project to build a supercomputer model of the brain. 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 suffers from 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 the Intense World Syndrome. When Kai was first diagnosed, his father consulted studies and experts. He knew as much about the human brain as almost anyone but still felt as helpless as any parent confronted with this condition in his child. What's more, the scientific consensus that autism was a deficit of empathy didn't mesh with Markram's experience of his son. He became convinced that the disorder, which has seen a 657 percent increase in diagnoses over the past decade, was fundamentally misunderstood. Bringing his world-class research to bear on the problem, he devised a radical new theory of the disorder: People like Kai don't feel too little; they feel too much. Their senses are too delicate for this world"--

The pattern seekers : how autism drove human invention by Simon Baron-Cohen

"In The Pattern Seekers, Simon Baron-Cohen reveals the surprising answer to two apparently distinct questions: Why are humans so inventive? And why does autism exist? The first question hangs over almost every human endeavor: Business people want to knowhow to innovate. Cognitive psychologists want to understand the nature of creativity. Evolutionary scientists and comparative psychologists want to understand why we are capable of such cultural complexity and diversity, when other animals, at best, havelearned how to use a rock as a simple tool. At the same time, the study of autism has become a preeminent concern among overlapping groups, from educators to scientists to business people and parents -- and of course to people with autism themselves. In The Pattern Seekers, Simon Baron-Cohen argues these two questions are actually the same: understanding autism -- specifically the fixation on patterns that is considered characteristic of the condition -- is the key to understanding both the ancient origins and the modern flowering of human creativity. With a perspective that spans the first stirrings of our ancestors on the African Savannah to the corridors of high-tech companies, Baron-Cohen shows how what he calls systemizing underlies everything from the invention of the first musical instrument to the innovative output of Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. Bolstering his argument with a range of fascinating case studies-including the way Kobe Bryant plays basketball and the piano, the prevalence of autism in various Dutch cities, and how chimpanzees learned to use grass to catch termites -- he describes how a passion for pattern-finding is at the heart of modern science and technology. But such powers come at a cost: The better one is at it, the less empathy one has for others, making social functioning difficult. And although it might be fashionable in some circles to talk about being "on the spectrum," many seek a cure for autism, and the world still struggles to accept and accommodate the autistic. So, even as Baron-Cohen seeks to understand what autism "is for," he seeks to change the way our society thinks about and behaves toward autistic people. As Baron-Cohen puts it, the critical role of autistic traits in our species' past means it's not simplytime to tolerate autism or celebrate neurodiversity, but that it's time to show autistic people the highest respect. The Pattern Seekers is the rarest of books: mission-driven psychology combined with groundbreaking evolutionary science. It is necessaryand joyful reading for anyone concerned with how our society treats those it calls disordered, and the beginning of a new chapter in how we investigate ourselves as a species"--

I have been buried under years of dust : a memoir of autism and hope by Valerie Gilpeer

"'I have been buried under years of dust and now I have so much to say.' These were the first words twenty-five-year-old Emily Grodin ever wrote. Born with nonverbal autism, Emily’s only means of communicating for a quarter of a century had been only one-word responses or physical gestures. Every emotion, from displeasure, frustration and pain, to joy and love, could be expressed only through meltdowns, screaming, or hugs. Leading up to that breakthrough, though, most family, friends, doctors, and school administrators were skeptical about Emily's future. Her mother, Valerie Gilpeer, had long seen keen intelligence in Emily. Together with her husband and Emily's father, Tom, Valerie sought to give Emily every advantage, seeing out therapies, special schools, extracurricular outings, even suing the local school district repeatedly to get the services Emily deserved and was entitled to under the law. Valerie was determined that her daughter could and, in fact, must learn to communicate. But after twenty-five years, not much had changed. Until the fateful day when the Emily that Valerie’s always knew there emerged. Starting with the sentence 'I have been buried under years of dust,' Emily was suddenly able to give her parents, as well as readers of this remarkable book, insight into her life and the struggles she faced, and reveal herself as an emerging poet. For the first time, she could describe that gave her pleasure and what annoyed her. Through the ups and downs of her diagnosis, the family's challenges and disappointments, readers learn of Emily’s extraordinary transformation. As she finds her voice with the help of a computer tablet, she shares her unique perspective on what it's like to live with nonverbal autism and to be thought of as cognitively challenged, despite her razor-sharp intelligence. Emily's prose and poetry reflect her love and gratitude for parents who always believed in her and sacrificed everything to ensure her life was as full and vibrant as possible. A story of hope, sacrifice, and tenacity, I Have Been Buried Under Years of Dust is a heartfelt love letter between a mother and her child, an important contribution to our understand of nonverbal autism and the power of familial love."--book jacket

Sincerely, your autistic child : what people on the autism spectrum wish their parents knew about growing up, acceptance, and identity

"In this book, autistic people of diverse racial, ethnic, educational, socioeconomic, and gender backgrounds talk about not just what we wish our own parents had known when we were growing up, but what we most want all parents to know about raising autistic kids today"--

We're not broken : changing the autism conversation by Eric Garcia

With a reporter's eye and an insider's perspective, Eric Garcia shows what it's like to be autistic across America

Autism adulthood : strategies and insights for a fufilling life by Susan Senator

Autism Adulthood features interviews with parents, caregivers, researchers, and professionals. Each vignette reveals firsthand a family’s needs and goals—the circumstances, thought processes, and unique solutions. Sharing the wisdom that emerges from parents’ and self-advocates’ experiences, Senator adds her own observations and conclusions based on her long-term familiarity and understanding of autism. Told in Senator’s trademark warm, approachable style, Autism Adulthood, Second Edition paints a vivid and thought-provoking picture of many people grappling with grown-up, real-life autism. Senator’s is the only book of its kind, as real families share their stories and their creative solutions.

Navigating autism : 9 mindsets for helping kids on the spectrum by Temple Grandin

"Empowering strategies for anyone who works with children and teens on the spectrum. International best-selling writer and autist Temple Grandin joins psychologist Debra Moore in presenting nine strengths-based mindsets necessary to successfully work withyoung people on the autism spectrum. Examples and stories bring the approaches to life, and detailed suggestions and checklists help readers put them to practical use. Temple Grandin shares personal experiences and anecdotes from the thousands of parentsand professionals who have sought her advice, while Debra Moore draws on more than three decades of work as a psychologist with kids on the spectrum and those who love and care for them. So many people support the lives of these kids, and this book is for all of them: teachers; special education staff; mental health clinicians; physical, occupational, and speech therapists; parents; and anyone interacting with autistic children or teens. Readers will come away with new, empowering mindsets they can applyto develop the full potential of every child"--

The autism language launcher : a parent's guide to helping your child turn sounds and words into simple conversations by Kate C Wilde

The bride test by Helen Hoang

"From the critically acclaimed author of The Kiss Quotient comes a romantic novel about love that crosses international borders and all boundaries of the heart... Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions--like grief. And love. He thinks he's defective. His family knows better--that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships,his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride. As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can't turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn't go as planned. Esme's lessons in love seem to be working...but only on herself. She's hopelessly smitten with a man who's convinced he can never return her affection. With Esme's time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he's been wrong all along. And there's more than one way to love"--

Divergent mind : thriving in a world that wasn't designed for you by Jenara Nerenberg

"A paradigm-shifting study of neurodivergent women-those with ADHD, autism, and other sensory processing differences-exploring why these traits are overlooked in women and how society benefits from allowing their unique strengths to flourish As a successful, Harvard- and Berkeley-educated writer, entrepreneur, and devoted mother, Jenara Nerenberg was shocked to discover that her "symptoms" that were only ever labeled as anxiety were considered autistic and ADHD. Being a journalist, she dove into the research and uncovered neurodiversity-a framework that moves away from pathologizing "abnormal" versus "normal" brains and instead recognizes the vast diversity of our mental makeups. Divergent Mind is a long-overdue, much-needed answer for women who have a deep sense that they are "different." Sharing real stories from women with ADHD, autism, synesthesia, misophonia, and more, Nerenberg explores how these brain variances present differently in women and dispels widely held misconceptions. She also offers a path forward, describing practical changes in how we can communicate, design our surroundings, and better support divergent minds. When we allow our wide variety of brain makeups to flourish, we create a better tomorrow for us all"--

Flying at night by Rebecca L Brown

"An emotionally charged novel about family -- the slow accumulation of wrongs that drive us apart and the unlikely paths that lead us home again. Piper Hart has poured all her energy into raising her son, Fred, while her often-absent husband, Isaac, has poured all his energy into a career defending the wrongly accused. She's always told herself her son is perfectly normal, but somewhere deep inside her rests a tiny suspicion that all is not well. Her whole world is leveled when her son is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Nine-year-old Fred has just traded in a fascination with airplanes for the gruesome details of World War II, which he knows by heart. But besides his mother and his grandfather's border collie, Chuck Yeager, Fred is an island. Lance "the Silver Eagle" Whitman is Piper's father, a national hero, and a raging narcissist. A heart attack leaves Lance in a coma, but, much to his family's distress, he doesn't die. When Lance wakes up with a traumatic brain injury, his wife decides thatafter a lifetime of emotional and verbal abuse, she is walking away, and Piper must decide what will become of her once-proud tyrant of a father. Piper chooses to bring him home, where both Fred and Lance, misunderstood by the world around them, begin toconnect" --

Asperger's children : the origins of autism in Nazi Vienna by Edith Sheffer

In the first comprehensive history of the links between autism and Nazism, prize-winning historian Edith Sheffer uncovers how a diagnosis common today emerged from the atrocities of the Third Reich. As the Nazi regime slaughtered millions across Europe during World War Two, it sorted people according to race, religion, behavior, and physical condition. Nazi psychiatrists targeted children with different kinds of minds―especially those thought to lack social skills―claiming the Reich had no place for them. Hans Asperger and his colleagues endeavored to mold certain “autistic” children into productive citizens, while transferring others to Spiegelgrund, one of the Reich’s deadliest child killing centers. In this unflinching history, Sheffer exposes Asperger’s complicity in the murderous policies of the Third Reich.

Dragonfly : a daughter's emergence from autism : a practical guide for parents by Lori Ashley Taylor

Part narrative and part practical guide, Dragonfly provides anecdotal and practical guidance for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder. The author discusses intervention strategies, therapies such as Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), and different medical tests. She explains Autism terminology like hyperresponsivesness and stimming. A classroom teacher herself, she recommends educational accommodations and supports. Busy parents can find practical tips on everything from making friends to Sensory Processing Disorder in helpful sidebars in the text. Taylor's personal experience is supplemented by wisdom from a series of round table discussions featuring other parents of children with autism.

Lake Success : a novel by Gary Shteyngart

"When his dream of the perfect marriage, the perfect son, and the perfect life implodes, a Wall Street millionaire takes a cross-country bus trip in search of his college sweetheart and ideals of youth. Myopic, narcissistic, hilariously self-deluded and divorced from the real world as most of us know it, hedge fund manager Barry Cohen oversees $2.4 billion in assets. Deeply stressed by an SEC investigation and by his 3 year-old-son's diagnosis of autism, he flees New York on a Greyhound bus in search of a simpler, more romantic life with his old college sweetheart, whom he hasn't seen or spoken to in years. Meanwhile, reeling from the fight that caused Barry's departure, his super-smart wife Seema--a driven first-generation American who craved a picture-perfect life, with all the accoutrements of a huge bank account--has her own demons to face. How these two imperfect characters navigate the Shteyngartian chaos of their own making is the heart of this biting, brilliant, emotionally resonant novel very much of our times"--

The Warner boys : our family's story of autism and hope by Ana Warner

Seahawks star running back Curt Warner and his wife, Ana, were prominent figures in Seattle in the early 1990s. When they dropped from the public eye after Curt’s retirement, everyone assumed it was for a simpler life. But the reality behind their seclusion was a secret they hid from even their closest friends: their twins, Austin and Christian, had been diagnosed with severe autism. What followed was a painful struggle to hold their family and their marriage together in a home filled with chaos, emotional exhaustion, and constant fear for the safety of their unpredictable but beloved boys. Now, after years of silence, the Warners share their inspiring journey from stardom and success to heartbreaking self-imposed isolation. Above all, it’s a story of the life-changing truth that love for family and each other―no matter how challenged―is the path to healing and peace.

Autism matters : empowering investors, providers, and the autism community to advance autism services by Ronit Molko

"We are approaching a critical period in the autism community. With a growing population of maturing and aging individuals living with autism, it is time to look to the future and ask how we can provide meaningful outcomes that enable a real quality of life for individuals with autism and successful investment opportunities for investors. In her latest book, Autism Matters: Empowering Investors, Providers, and the Autism Community to Advance Autism Services, Dr. Ronit Molko takes a critical look at the autism services industry and outlines the path for providers, clinicians, and investors to forge new programs and opportunities that will equip autistic individuals with the skills they need to build high-quality, self-determined lives."--

Stuff you need to know : a guide for young adults with autism by Patricia Weaver

The state of Grace by Rachael Lucas

Sixteen-year-old Grace has Asperger's, a horse, and a best friend who understands her, which is pretty much all she needs, but when she kisses Gabe and things start to change at home, suddenly everything threatens to fall apart, and it is up to Grace to fix it on her own.

The politics of autism by Bryna Siegel

The Politics of Autism investigates the truths and fictions of public understanding about autism, questioning apparent realities too sensitive or impolitic to challenge. Is there really more autism? How has the count expanded by diagnosing autism over other conditions? Have scientific methods in autism diagnosis gone hand-in-hand with autism increases? Are mild autism cases really a 'disorder,' rather than personality variant? Can autism be quiescent in childhood but truly first recognizable in adulthood? Why does popular media often portray people with autism as odd geniuses ignoring the kind of autism most have?

Differently normal by Tammy Robinson

Caring for her autistic sister leaves no time in Maddy's life for a boyfriend, but when she meets Albert, she begins to fall for him, even when the odds are stacked against them.

Autism in heels : the untold story of a female life on the spectrum by Jennifer Cook O'Toole

Jennifer exposes the constant struggle between carefully crafted persona and authentic existence, editing the autism script with wit, candor, passion, and power. Her journey is one of reverse-self-discovery not only as an Aspie but--more importantly--as a thoroughly modern woman. Beyond being a memoir, Autism in Heels is a love letter to all women. It’s a conversation starter. A game changer. And a firsthand account of what it is to walk in Jennifer's shoes (especially those iconic red stilettos). Whether it's bad perms or body image, sexuality or self-esteem, Jennifer's is as much a human journey as one on the spectrum. Because autism "looks a bit different in pink," most girls and women who fit the profile are not identified, facing years of avoidable anxiety, eating disorders, volatile relationships, self-harm, and stunted independence. Jennifer has been there, too. Autism in Heels takes that message to the mainstream. From her own struggles and self-discovery, she has built an empire of empowerment, inspiring women the world over to realize they aren't mistakes. They are misunderstood miracles.

Fall down 7 times get up 8 : a young man's voice from the silence of autism by Naoki Higashida

"The author of the bestselling phenomenon The Reason I Jump returns with a unique memoir about life as a young adult with severe autism. With an introduction by David Mitchell, who translated this book with his wife, KA Yoshida, this extraordinary new work explores education, identity, family, society, and personal growth, opening a window into the mind of its nonverbal author and providing remarkable insights into autism in general"--

The luster of lost things by Sophie Chen Keller

"A fablelike debut for readers of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Rebecca Makkai's The Borrower, in which a boy with an uncanny ability to find lost objects must embark on his most important search yet in order to save his mother's enchanted dessert shop, the only place he's ever called home. There's only one place in the world that lonely twelve-year-old Walter Lavender Jr. feels at home: The Lavenders, his mother's unusual West Village dessert shop, where meringues scud through displays like clouds, marzipan dragons breathe actual fire, and the airy angel food cake can make customers pounds lighter. When the mysterious and magical Book at the heart of the shop vanishes and a landlord threatens closure, it's up to Walter to find the Book and save the shop. Despite--or because of--a communication disorder that renders him speechless and friendless, Walter has a special ability to find lost things. In fact, the only thing he's failed to find is his father, a pilot lostin a presumed plane crash at sea before Walter was born. Accompanied by Milton, his best friend and overweight golden retriever, Walter's quest will take him around and under New York City, into subway tunnels and soaring over Central Park, from bottle collecting in Chinatown to racing through the Met, and introduce him to the extraordinary and forgotten people of this fantastical city. Along the way he will discover his voice and learn what it means to truly be found"--

Strange beauty : a portrait of my son by Eliza Factor

"A unique and hopeful story of how one woman and her family were transformed by her child's multiple disabilities and inability to talk and how she, in turn, transformed a community. This intimate,no-holds barred memoir shares one family's experiences with a child who is both autistic and physically disabled. It is a story of infectious laughter, blood on the floor, intense physical conflict, and of two little girls growing up in the shadow of their charming and fitful brother. And it is the story of a mother and writer and the illuminating effect of imagining the world through the eyes of her beautiful, charismatic, and nonverbal son, Felix. Felix and his sisters inspire Eliza to start Extreme Kids, a community center that connects families with children with disabilities through the arts and play, andtransformhow she saw herself and the world. She writes of the joy this project brings her, as well as the disconnect of being lauded for helping others at the same time that she cannot help her own son. As Felix grows bigger and stronger, his assaults against himself grow more destructive. When his bruised limbs and face prompt Child Services to investigate the Factors for abuse, Eliza realizes how dangerous her home has become. Strange Beautyis a personal story, but it shines a light on the combustible conditions many families are living in at this moment. The United States offers parents whose children are prone to violence very little help. That Eliza's story ends happily, with Felix thriving at Crotched Mountain School, is due more to luck than policy. There are few such schools and many such children. When children are violent, we fail to account for the internal and external pressures that lead to violence. This is both cruel and counterproductive, for people with disabilities have much to teachus,if we will only listen"--

The way it hurts by Patty Blount

Guitarist Elijah and actress Kristen connect after unusual circumstances bring them together, but cruelty from strangers online and Kristen's strict father threaten their relationship.

In a different key : the story of autism by John (John Joseph) 1955- Donvan

Nearly seventy-five years ago, Donald Triplett of Forest, Mississippi, became the first child diagnosed with autism. Beginning with his family’s odyssey, In a Different Key tells the extraordinary story of this often misunderstood condition, and of the civil rights battles waged by the families of those who have it. Unfolding over decades, it is a beautifully rendered history of ordinary people determined to secure a place in the world for those with autism—by liberating children from dank institutions, campaigning for their right to go to school, challenging expert opinion on what it means to have autism, and persuading society to accept those who are different.
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