The artist for the above image is @Kayas_Kosmos.
Again – I have a strong aversion to using the term favorite.
I am going to list some of the books that helped me infinitely in understanding myself and what Autism actually is. I haven’t read every Autistic book yet – so it’s very hard for me to say if these are the best – they are the ones I have had a lot of value out of. The thing to realise is that Autism isn’t understood at all.
Science is still very wrong – Autistic people have existed for a long time – I found evidence of Autistic peoples existence in the 1st and 2nd Century AD. I will be writing about this particular issue with mental health in an upcoming book of my own – critically analyzing the current taxonomy and understanding of mental health.
Favorite books on understanding Autism
‘The Reason I Jump’ – Naoki Higashida
‘Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8’ – Naoki Higashida
Naoki Higashida as a thirteen year old severely disabled non-speaking Autistic child was able to work out a way to communicate using a letter chart (not the correct technical term). He wrote a series of questions and answers relating to what his experience of being Autistic was like. I read this book this year. For the first time in 37 years I understood how I was different. I had just recently been diagnosed as Autistic – but I didn’t know what that meant.
I would urge ALL people to read this – those who you think are severely intellectually challenged are rarely ever – the latest studies show those who do have severe intellectual disability are about 2% of the Autistic population.
This next part might be challenging to hear for some:
Those Autistic children who you think are intellectually disabled because they cannot talk – actually are not at all – they usually lack the means to communicate.
At least read the introductions to the books by David Mitchell (of Cloud Atlas fame) please. The introduction to ‘Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8’ has one of the most brutal and extremely important realisations to have as the parent of an Autistic child. He realises he has been lied to – he has been hurting his child because of science that is wrong. He’s distraught for doing it – it’s an honest admission of doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.
He turns his sadness and guilt into anger to make change – targeting those who have been doing it – the charities and scientists who’ve been actively harming Autistic people for money and fame. Listen to how he talks about his child between the two introductions – he finally understands them and their relationship is thriving – he accepts them for their Autistic behaviour.
Favorite Autistic History Book
Steve Silberman has done an incredible job of talking about how prevalent Autistic people actually are – our estimations about how many people are Autistic are probably off by a scale of magnitudes higher than current estimates.
Autistic treatment and the destruction of Autistic culture has grown out of developmental psychology which is all based on the eugenics science of the 20th century. White supremacist eugenics paved the way for the mistreatment of Autistic people.
This book covers some incredible Autistic people who were given an opportunity to shine, and to live amazing lives due to their support – and so many of them made vast contributions to the advancement of technology. The entire field of computing is filled with Autistic people – it’s one area where the trait of systemizing and the way the Autistic mind works is embraced – but keep in mind that this is only one category of Autistic people.
It also delves into the history and destructive nature of Applied Behavior Analysis in the treatment of Autistic people. Simply put ABA is conversion therapy for Autistic people – it causes trauma even if using positive reinforcement – DO NOT USE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY ON AUTISTIC PEOPLE – YOU WILL REMOVE AGENCY AND ALLOW ABUSE TO OCCUR BY DECEPTIVE NON-WELL MEANING PEOPLE. I ENDED UP NOT BEING ABLE TO FEEL PAIN WHEN I SHOULD THANKS TO THE DENIAL OF MY SENSORY NEEDS.
We are desperately trying to get people to STOP doing behaviour therapy – there’s a petition here to start an official inquiry into the abuse of Autistic people using this therapy in New Zealand (anyone can sign).
This should transform your view on Autistic people – this is one of the few books that Autistic people actually recommend about Autism written by an non-Autistic author.
Favorite Book for Parents
TW/CW // Trauma – I love this book. Autistic people should read it, with the following advice. This book also unfortunately for me was a key to my childhood memories – it included prompts that reminded me of specific situations that had occurred in my childhood that I had locked away. These are not false memories – which is based on some very bad science and gaslighting. These are things my mind had hidden from me to protect me – it’s been hard to process.
I wish my parents had read this. I wish I had the things this book suggested as a child. I wish every parent of an Autistic child could read this book. No matter how ‘High’ or ‘Low’ functioning you consider your child to be – which is again bad science.
All Autistic people have been trying to do their entire lives is communicate honestly to the people around them, but we’ve so often been told that the things we think or say are wrong, or that we are making excuses.
We end up losing ourselves.
There are so many heartfelt stories, so many different tales of trauma, so much sadness and internalized ableism each of the writers have had to overcome, and are still dealing with.
It’s a mirror of my experience at times, I was born AMAB – but I am non-binary bixsexual person – I do not identify as a man. I was a sensitive empathetic person growing up in a man’s world, my best friends have always been women or those with feminine traits. At nearly all times in my life I was utterly savaged for it if I showed it OR I would blend in by doing things that made me hate myself because they grated against my internal morality and need for honesty.
It was 34 years until a single authority figure in my life actually listened to me – even though I was undiagnosed.
There are key themes across their writing.
Believe your Autistic child. Love your Autistic child. Fight for the rights of your Autistic Child. Be patient. Be kind. Assume competence always. Help us communicate the right way.
NEVER MOURN YOUR ALIVE CHILD BECAUSE EVEN IF THEY ARE TOO YOUNG TO UNDERSTAND AT THE TIME – THEY WILL REMEMBER AND FIGURE IT OUT AND THEY WILL WISH THEY WERE DEAD TOO. ABLEISM MAKES YOU DO THIS. NOT AUTISM.
We usually hear things you think are in hushed tones.
I read this book with tears streaming down my face the entire time, because my life might not have been utterly impossible for 37 years. I never knew I was Autistic. I never knew why horrible things kept happening to me as a child or as an adult. I sometimes didn’t know they were horrible things until I was older. I did bad things because I thought it was important to have at least some ‘friends’, or due to not being educated properly. The people I made ‘friends’ with were bad people who hurt others and were hurting me. I never had boundaries. I was a perfect target for abuse – and people took advantage of that until I was 34.
I didn’t know myself because I didn’t know I was Autistic, but after reading their stories, I realise even with my complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of living in a world that’s hated me for reasons I couldn’t work out – I was at times one of the luckier ones.
Children need to know they are Autistic – but you need to know what being Autistic actually means – there’s a range of voices here all with differing levels of support needs at different times – Autism is rarely a fixed thing – it’s “severity” ebbs and flows generally due to the amount of external stress in our life times.
Parents need to be the first step in making sure we have the tools we need to thrive – and those tools are often not the ones you are thinking of – they are the ones WE as Autistic people need.
Please read this book parents. PLEASE. Reread it. Take notes. Turn to it on hard days where your child is struggling more.
If you think Autism is hard for you – this gives you a glimpse of what it’s actually like for us – don’t make our lives more difficult than they need to be – the rest of society will already be making it hard enough for us as it is.
Daily blog challenge
I will be writing every day on being Autistic for April using this list of prompts:
Alt-Text Format with links to other blogs – Autistic Acceptance Month – 30 Days of Acceptance and appreciation:
- Day 1 – Introduction
- Day 2 – What I love about being Autistic is…
- Day 3 – My diagnosis/discovery story
- Day 4 – Reactions to “coming out
- Day 5 – Special Interests
- Day 6 – Supports and Appreciation
- Day 7 – The Autistic Community
- Day 8 – Favorite Autistic Blog
- Day 9 – Favourite Autistic-owned Business
- Day 10 – Sensory Life
- Day 11 – Stims
- Day 12 – Favorite Autism-charity
- Day 13 – Family
- Day 14 – Routine
- Day 15 – Everyone should know…
- Day 16 – Work/School
- Day 17 – Accommodations
- Day 18 – Someday…
- Day 19 – I hate it when…
- Day 20 – Communication
- Day 21 – One thing other people don’t understand
- Day 22 – Dispel a myth
- Day 23 – Can’t live without…
- Day 24 – Political Issue
- Day 25 – Symbols!
- Day 26 – Favorite Autism book
- Day 27 – Identity Language
- Day 28 – Dealing with meltdowns
- Day 29 – Famous Autistics
- Day 30 – Acceptance means…