Growing up I always gravitated towards reading and writing. I preferred English while my sister was the math wizard. Now that I am in adulthood, I so badly want to be the person that comes home from work and reads, but something happened. That something is called 18 different streaming services and a coping mechanism called “binge watching”.
In all seriousness, I have recently gotten back into reading, as many do during the summer time. While I love a good romance or thriller, I am here to recommend 3 books that will teach you more than some of your college courses. Each of these books are books about autism, written by individuals with autism.
1. The Reason I Jump
I’ll be honest, I didn’t know about this book until I watched the documentary inspired by it on Netflix (shoutout to my unhealthy habits). The Reason I Jump is written by Naoki Higashida (and translated by David Mitchell), who was 13-years-old when he wrote this biography. Naoki explains what it is like to be nonverbal with autism. I know for a fact every single one of you has wanted nothing more than to understand what our students experience. Naoki dives into so much of how he feels, processes and responds, giving you the opportunity to simply attempt to understand.
I cannot recommend this memoir enough, whether you are a parent, teacher or completely outside of education, Naoki’s perspective should be read by all. And on that note, please watch the documentary on Netflix while you’re at it.
2. We’re Not Broken
We’re Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation is written by Eric Garcia, a Latino, political journalist who is on the spectrum. Garcia dives into his own experiences, as well as the experiences of others. He also debunks many myths that the media typically portrays when it comes to autism. His story shows how he is being forced to “navigate a world where the road maps are written in a different language”. Reading this book enhanced my already strong need to advocate for my students. It also opened my eyes to perspectives that I would never understand as a neurotypical human, and it made me want to change the norms that we as a society have thrust upon everyone.
3. My Sensory Life
My final recommendation isn’t a book, instead it is one of my fellow bloggers, Abigail Rivera. Abigail has written a series of blogs for The Autism Helper that dives into what her personal journey has been since being diagnosed with autism at the age of 16. Her most recent series of blog posts, My Sensory Life, dive into how she experiences the 5 senses and how they have evolved over time. Abigail paints a picture of scenarios that you would never even think of, giving her readers such a great understanding and insight into how she perceives the world on a daily basis.
Hey Abigail, I think this is our sign that you need to meet Ollie and take a picture with him!