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Must Read Books for Parents of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders Part I: The Basics of Autism and Happy Families

If your child has recently been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), you are no doubt seeking information about ASD and the journey ahead for your family. You will need to make informed decisions about autism treatment options and manage the stressors associated with having a loved one with special needs. To do that, you and your family will need help. And you no doubt will seek out several books for advice and expertise.

The sheer number and diversity of books about autism may seem daunting. That’s why I’m putting together a series of articles to provide parents with guidance about trustworthy sources of information to help you feel more knowledgeable and confident about the future.

Travis Thompson’s Making Sense of Autism is published by Paul Brookes Publishers. Dr. Thompson is an eminent scientist with expertise in many types of disabilities. He writes with a very relatable and understandable style and provides a solid introduction to helping a child with ASD. His book provides an excellent introduction to autism spectrum disorders and early intervention approaches. The chapters covering associated disabilities and medications often used with children with autism provide useful information about advanced topics that families are not likely to find in other basic books on autism.

Susan Senator’s The Autism Mom’s Survival Guide (for Dad’s too): Creating a Balanced and Happy Life while Raising a Child with Autism is published by Trumpeter Press. Senator is the mother of a son with autism and two other children. Her book focuses on how to think about the family’s future. It also provides strategies for balancing multiple life roles and demands and maintaining a loving and intact family while managing the many unique tasks of raising a child with autism.

Glen Latham’s The Power of Positive Parenting: A Wonderful Way to Raise Children is published by P & T Ink Publishers. It turns out that I can’t write a “best books” list for parents without including this amazing text on how to be a loving and effective parent. The other books in this list are all specifically targeted to families of children with autism while this book is about parenting any child and strengthening your family. This positive parenting approach has become the core for virtually every evidence-based parenting intervention available today.

I hope you enjoy these books and find them useful. The next edition of this series will focus on recommendations for books on early intensive behavioral intervention.

Questions? Contact Linda A. LeBlanc, Ph.D., Director of Research and Clinical Services, Trumpet Behavioral Health