- The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome by Tony Attwood. This book is the textbook on textbook Aspergers. Lots of info, lots of what to look for, not so much, in my opinion, on what to do. Finding WHAT TO DO is the hardest thing, I think.
- Kids in the Syndrome Mix by Kutscher, Wolff and Attwood. Hits it right on, that there is this type of kid that bounces from ADHD to Bipolar to Tourettes to LD to Aspergers. The Kid is definitely 'in the mix.' Unfortunately, once you've read Attwood's Asperger's tome, the Papolos's Bipolar "bible", and then Russell Barkley's ADHD books like I have, you've essentially already read this book. I suggest this book for TEACHERS, and for parents new to a diagnosis, or have a child entering school and special ed without a diagnosis, but with a strong sense that their child will be diagnosed with ADHD and the like.
- Seeing Through New Eyes by Melvin Kaplan. I keep putting this book down before I can get very far. It is about Behavioral Optometry, which is a method of helping The Kid that I am very seriously considering. He was evaluated by a Behavioral OD this fall, and it was clear that The Kid had difficulty tracking an object with his eyes across a field of vision (his eyes jumped, intermittently, rather than smoothly following the object, something which developmentally he should be able to do by 8 years old), and cannot discern depth perception with great accuracy. The conceit of this kind of therapy is that if you repair the ability to see, you will clear up a number of the sensory and attentional difficulties that manifest from problems created by these vision impairments. These are not vision impairments normally caught by your everyday eye doctor, and of course the therapy and the exams are not covered by insurance. I am not a fan of this particular book, although I'm interested in following this course of therapy, because it promises a complete cure to autism, aspergers, ADHD, learning disabilities, etc. That annoys me. I don't get my hopes up anymore.
- The Out of Sync Child and The Out of Sync Child Has Fun by Carol Kranowitz. The basics on Sensory Integration Dysfunction. The Kid has numerous sensory issues, which I've written about before. Clothes have to be just so, with no tags or fabrics that he might find disturbing. Jeans are out, as are any pants with buttons. Loud, open, cacophonous rooms or venues make him either explode outward or escape inward, either way, unreachable. I could go on and on. I didn't find the former especially helpful for a plan of action, but the latter has lots of fun, sensory-friendly activities and games. We are, and have been, on the waitlist for weekly occupational therapy for months now, and now that we're at this stage, I find it hard to believe that I've waited this long to take this plunge into intensive OT. To any trained eye, it should have been the first thing we did when he was in preschool. Bygones.
- Saving the best for last, of course. Thinking About Me, Thinking About You by Michelle Garcia Winner. Big fan. I'm a BIG fan of Ms. Winner. Her methods don't work for all kids on the Autism Spectrum, but her brand of teaching social convention is right up my kiddo's alley. I have been pleading for his school to use the Superflex program with him in his 1:1 therapy time, but they haven't done so even though they own the program, mostly in favor of allowing him to perseverate on paper airplanes and the like. Grrr. At any rate, the basic tennet of the Social Thinking programs is that social convention, like everything else we aim to teach children with ASD's, can be broken down and taught. You can be taught that other people are thinking about you as you are acting. You can be taught that other people think differently than you and may or may not expect you to act in certain ways at certain times. You can be taught that there are appropriate situations for certain behaviors, and situations where certain behaviors are never appropriate. Big fan. Huge.
So, to this I add two items, fiction or memoir.
- I Love You To Pieces. A totally heartbreakingly wonderful book of short stories written by parents of special needs children, organized along a timeline of birth to adulthood, representing the various concerns that come along with each milestone and age in both the lives of the children and parents. Some of the authors' children have autism, some cerebral palsy, some more rare disabilities I'd never heard of before. If you are a parent of a child with special needs, this is inspiring, touching, real. If you have a friend who has a child with special needs and you want to know what the spectrum of emotion they may go through, this book will give you a fairly good idea.
- Hurry Down Sunshine. I'm not done yet, and technically this book is about schizophrenia, but it's also about a dad and his daughter. I have promised the publisher I'd write a full post about the book once I get it done, so expect that sometime next week.
Now, I know I'm missing many many books here. Most notably, I want to read more books from the perspective of adult aspies, like Look Me in the Eye and some of Jonathan Mooney's books. Any other suggestions?