I’ve changed this section from Books We’re Reading to Resources because, to be honest, I haven’t time to read many books — and, if we need real advice, we turn to Nate’s therapist and pediatrician. These are all good autism resources that we have either used or continue to use in our journey.
If your child is newly diagnosed on the autism spectrum, you must get the Autism Speaks: 100 Day Kit right now. This book is free and is specifically designed for families of newly diagnosed autistic kids. It maps out an action plan for the next 100 days including who you should meet with following the diagnosis, therapies to explore, and meetings that will be required if your child is in the public school system. You may download the book as a .pdf or, through a grant from Federal Express, may order the book online and pick it up at your nearest Fed Ex/Kinkos shop.
Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm is a pretty amazing book. It simply lists ten things that the author imagines an autistic child would tell those who aren’t and then delves a little deeper into the why. The first item? First and foremost, I’m a kid — not an autistic kid. Autism shouldn’t precede anyone’s name. The list, without the essays, is also included in Autism Speaks’ 100 Day Kit.
A good book to explain autism, either to family and friends or to your child, include All Cats have Asperger Syndrome by Kathy Hoopmann (its partner book is the charming All Dogs Have ADD). It uses pictures of cats to explain traits of autism including wanting to be near you but not touched, stimming (cats play with one piece of yarn over and over and over again), and the inability to be a good liar. You can preview the book on Amazon through the above link to get a feel for it.
Autism Speaks provides autism resources by state including advocacy, financial, and legal resources; services broken down by birth to three, preschool (3-5), school age (5-22), and adults (22+); information on equine, music, occupational, physical, and speech therapists; and community services like camps, haircuts, respite care, and recreational activities.
Depending on the severity of your child’s autism, s/he may qualify for a handicapped parking permit, which may be used whenever s/he is in the car. Autism Daddy did a great blog post about it, which you may find here, that links you to the appropriate page on each state’s DMV website.