6 books for understanding autism

2nd April 2024
6 books for understanding autism

World Autism Acceptance Week runs from 2-8 April. The week aims to raise awareness of how autism affects people in different ways, promote acceptance, and help make a society that works for all.

Find out more about autism on the National Autistic Society website here. Whether you’re autistic yourself, know someone with autism, or just want to find out more, we’ve gathered some great reads to celebrate World Autism Acceptance Week. Click the links to reserve and borrow them.


1. Women and Girls on the Autism Spectrum: Understanding Life Experiences from Early Childhood to Old Age - Sarah Hendrickx

The difference that being female makes to the diagnosis, life and experiences of an autistic person is hugely significant. In this widely expanded second edition, Sarah Hendrickx combines the latest research with personal stories from girls and women on the autism spectrum to present a picture of their feelings, thoughts and experiences at each stage of their lives.

Outlining what the likely impact will be for autistic women and girls throughout their lifespan, Hendrickx surveys everything from diagnosis, childhood, education, adolescence, friendships and sexuality, to employment, pregnancy, parenting, and aging. This is an invaluable companion for professionals, as well as a guiding light for autistic women to understand and interpret their own experience in context.


2. Understanding Autism: The Kids Guide - Vicky Martin & Scott Garrett

This book is for children wanting to find out more about autism.

You might want to read this book because you've had a diagnosis of autism, or perhaps you think you're on the autism spectrum and want to find out more. Or maybe you know someone with autism, and you want to understand them better. Whatever your reasons, this book will help you to understand what it is like to be autistic and how this can affect day-to-day situations such as school and friendships.

Content covered includes: what is autism, plans and changes, senses, routines and repetitive behaviour such as stimming, sensory overload, anxiety, feelings, communication, friendships, teachers and school, masking, dream worlds and escaping, talents and interests.


3. Autism for Adults: An Approachable Guide to Living Excellently on the Spectrum - Daniel M. Jones

Autistic influencer Daniel M Jones is an expert on living well on the spectrum. No matter what you're going through as someone with autism, Dan gets it – he's been there. He's here to explain everything he learned, and then some, in this instruction manual and memoir about life as an autistic person. Dan's book is packed with actionable advice that readers can immediately start putting into practice. You'll learn how to navigate common challenges, such as dating on the spectrum, holding down a job or performing well in in your studies. Best of all, you'll learn to improve your life while also empowering yourself.


4. Illuminated: Autism and All the Things I've Left Unsaid - Melanie Sykes

Melanie Sykes has been a face on our screens, a voice on our radios for nearly thirty years. As a presenter and broadcaster people turned to her for her humour, her honesty and insight. But between all the interviews and chat shows, is a life unseen, a story unsaid.

Her journey – from up north to down south, from Manchester to LA and via London, Paris and India, and through the eye of the storm of celebrity culture is a rollercoaster ride. Sex, drugs and rock and roll, certainly, but also brass bands and ice cream vans, broken hearts and healing adventures – a search not for fame but for freedom.

Her autism diagnosis in midlife has supercharged that journey – and means this isn’t a story just of breakdown, but of breakthrough. Funny, furious and gloriously frank, this is a book that lifts the lid on being a woman in the media, navigating relationships, and being a neurodivergent person speaking up in a neurotypical world. Illuminated is Melanie, in her own inimitable voice.


5. The Awesome Autistic Guide to Being Proud: Feeling Good About Who You Are - Yenn Purkis

This book explores what it feels like to be a young person on the autism spectrum and looks at all the brilliant things people on the autism spectrum can do.

Full of insights about being awesome and autistic, this book celebrates the strengths of understanding the world in a different way. It looks at all the reasons being you and thinking differently can be totally awesome! It also has tips for managing tricky situations such as meltdowns, sensory differences and anxiety. It includes fun activities and diary pages where you can write your thoughts and feelings to help you concentrate on your strengths and work on your challenges.

This book helps you develop the confidence to be who you are and help you live life with as little stress and anxiety as possible.


6. Your Child is Not Broken: Parent Your Neurodivergent Child Without Losing Your Marbles – Heidi Mavir

An unapologetic, deeply moving manual for parents of neurodivergent children from Heidi Mavir, a late-identified, neurodivergent adult and parent to an autistic/ADHD teenager.

This updated edition includes information on Pathological Demand Avoidance, Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria, an interview with Heidi's son Theo and more. Follow Heidi's irreverent and brutally honest story of her fight to be seen, heard and supported, while swimming against a tide of parent blame, ableist stereotypes and the weight of other people’s opinions.

Your Child Is Not Broken is a call to arms for parents and carers of autistic, ADHD, or otherwise neurodivergent children. It is the book that no one has dared to write but every parent needs to read. Heidi’s hilarious anecdotes and heartbreaking storytelling offer validation, comfort, reassurance and wisdom to parents who need it the most.


The Guille-Allès is an Autism-friendly Library

Before visiting the Library for the first time, you might like to read our social story for an idea of what to expect once you get here.

We are committed to making the library service accessible to those on the autism spectrum. We can provide weighted lap pads, textured sit cushions, and ear defenders. The lighting in the Children's Library can also be dimmed – just ask us.

We also have sensory relief kits available to make your visit easier. These kits include noise-cancelling headphones, emotion communication cards, and fidget toys. If you'd like to use a kit just ask a member of staff, or you can always contact us ahead of your visit at [email protected]