AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER
Although I have read and enjoyed most of the books listed, there are a few that I haven’t yet read, but wanted to include on the list – read and decide for yourself!
Biographies of People with Autism
Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism –Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind, this book is the true story of his son Owen Suskind. An autistic boy who couldn’t speak for years, Owen memorized dozens of Disney movies and turned the lines into a form of communication with his family. Movie available
Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism – Written by Temple Grandin, Ph.D., a gifted animal scientist. Temple gives us insight into the thought processes and feelings of people with autism. This is my all-time favorite. Movie available
The Reason I Jump – Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, self-aware, and charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, gives us a child’s perspective as he demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in childhood.
Look Me in the Eyes: My Life with Asperger’s – Written by John Elder Robison, this book tells of a child’s desperation to connect with others, his struggle to fit in, and his continued struggle throughout adulthood. I love the title because it is a common, but inappropriate demand made of children with autism.
Dancing with Max: A Mother and Son Who Broke Free, by Emily Colson, daughter of Chuck Colson shares a story of a single mother’s love and perseverance, her son’s autism diagnosis with its challenges and gifts, and their triumph together over life’s toughest obstacles.
Successful People with Autism lists creative people with autism and their achievements.
LEARNING DISABILITIES / DYSLEXIA
Biographies of People with LD/ Dyslexia
Thank you, Mr. Falker – An autobiographical children’s book written by Patricia Polacco about a teacher that took the time to teach her to read. This is a fabulous book to help children understand their own dyslexia.
My Dyslexia – Philip Schultz traces his difficult childhood and shows how a boy who did not learn to read until he was eleven went on to become a prize-winning poet by sheer force of determination. His life as a member of a family with two dyslexics, countered by his intellectual and creative successes as a writer, reveals an inspiring story of the strengths of the human mind.
Learning Outside the Lines: Two ivy league students with learning disabilities and ADHD give you the tools for academic success and educational revolution – Jonathan Mooney, David Cole and Edward Hallowell share an encouraging book for students who plan to attend college, based on their own personal experiences. Information includes how to make the most of a syllabus, understanding different teaching styles of professors and how to study without wasting time.
Books written by Ann Brancroft are not about her learning disability but her strength to overcome and succeed in fulfilling her dreams, in spite of having LD.
Famous Dyslexics provides an extensive lists of successful people with dyslexia.
ATTENTION DEFICIT/ HYPERACTIVE DISORDER
Biographies and Personal Stories from people with ADHD
What Your ADHD Child Wishes You Knew Dr. Sharon Saline records the stories, comments and advice of kids with ADHD, based on her work as a psychologist for 25 years. Even though this isn’t a biography, it is a very helpful compilation of personal experiences that lead to success.
Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder Edward Hallowell wrote this classic in 1995, updated in 2011, as a must read for anyone dealing with ADHD because it provides a plethora of practical strategies for families. Again, it’s not a biography, but shares many personal stories as examples. He has also written Answers to Distractions and Delivered from Distractions.
Real People, Real ADHD: Stories of Struggles, Success and Inspiration (Life with ADHD) Authors Peter Jaksa and Merle Kaplan share a wealth of information through personal stories, written in first person, of real people successfully living with ADHD.
Thomas Brown and Russell Barkley, experts on the topic, have both written several books that you’ll find useful and encouraging.
Biographies of People with Tourette Syndrome
Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome made Me the Teacher I Never Had Brad Cohen shares his personal story growing up with TS and the challenges he faced in pursuing his teaching career. His self-advocacy makes this book (and movie) a great resource for children and families learning to cope with TS.
What Makes You Tic? My Journey from Tourette’s to Tolerance by Marc Elliot. I haven’t read this one, but included it so you could get a varied perspective on TS.
The Keeper: A Life of Saving Goals and Achieving Them Tim Howard takes you on his personal journey from childhood ADHD and Tourette Syndrome to professional soccer player. In this book he discusses his Christian faith and how that sustained him in tough times.
Biographies of People with Physical Disabilities
Joni: An Unforgettable Story The story of Joni Eareckson Tada, who triumphed over devastating odds after a diving accident to touch countless lives the world over with the healing message of Christ.
Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life Born without arms or legs, Nick Vujicic overcame his disabilities to live an independent, rich, fulfilling, and ridiculously good life while serving as a role model for anyone seeking true happiness.
The Story of My Life Helen Keller suffered a severe illness that left her blind, deaf, and mute. Her tenacious struggle to overcome these handicaps, with the help of her inspired teacher, Anne Sullivan, is one of the great stories of human courage and dedication.
Rise Above Diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of six, Ralph founded BraunAbility, the world’s leading manufacturer of mobility vehicles. An inspiring story of the evolving attitude in American towards the disability community.
Bibliotherapy uses children’s books to teach children difficult concepts about life and provides a starting point for discussing deeply important issues such as managing a disability, developing relationships, and expressing feelings appropriately. Below are the simple steps to get started with this extremely helpful and enjoyable practice.
- Find an appropriate book that your child can identify with.
- Read the story to your child.
- Discuss the main character’s challenges, feelings, and successes.
- Help your child make connections to the story by discussing the similarities and differences to the life of the main character
God Made Me Unique: Helping Children See Value in Every Person, by Joni Eareckson Tada
Helps Christian parents and caregivers teach children that God creates every person in the image of God and each individual has tremendous value, regardless of his or her appearance or abilities.
Mrs. D’s Corner , This website, written by special educator Stephanie D., contains 60 children’s books covering a wide array of disabilities, included with descriptions of the book, pictures, and links to the books. This is a very helpful tool when using bibliotherapy with children.