I love picture books. You can do some amazing things with beautiful and/or well-written children’s literature. You can teach language, introduce math, and induce belly laughs. You can also help children with autism understand themselves. Over the years I’ve read a good number of picture books for autism spectrum kiddos. These are my favorites.
My Friend with Autism by Beverly Bishop and Craig Bishop If you have a young child on the autism spectrum or a newly diagnosed child, this is a must-have resource. This picture book does a great job explaining to kids what it means to have autism. But the value doesn’t stop there. There are tips for caregivers at the back of the book! I have used this book to help other adults understand my child. Last year I gave it to a neighbor and asked her if she would read it with her son. It’s a non-threatening way to explain autism to your child and others.
My Best Friend Will by Jamie Lowell and Tara Tuchel – Another great resource for helping children, My Best Friend Will was written by a fifth grader and her teacher. The truly beautiful black-and-white photographs tug at your emotions. This talented young author helps others peek inside autism and value others who are different.
Understanding Sam and Asperger Syndrome by Clarabelle van Niekerk and Liezl Venter- This is the picture book I used with my son to talk to him about being an “Aspie”. I would read through the story and how Sam didn’t like loud sounds, and I said, “Do we know anyone else who doesn’t like loud noises?” My son replied, “Me.” We continued through the book like that, stopping at various places. It was a very gentle way to introduce the idea of having Asperger syndrome/autism.
When My Worries Get Too Big by Kari Dunn Buron – This interactive picture book helps children deal with anxiety and overwhelming emotions. Dunn Buron geniously incorporates her Incredible 5-Point Scale in a way that young children can use it. She also empowers them by putting them in the driver’s seat. Your child can write and draw in this book, sharing how they feel and what helps them. It’s definitely another useful book to have on your shelf.
Sensitive Sam by Marla Roth-Fisch – Many children with autism deal with sensory challenges. Sensitive Sam helps these children understand they’re not alone. Roth-Fisch takes her experience with Sensory Processing Disorder and as a SPD parent and crafts a tale about a boy and his challenges. This is another great book to share with others to help them understand what your child faces.
Ashi’s Birthday and Other Dreaded Days by Annie Eskeldson – I wish I’d had this book in the beginning of my autism parenting journey. Children with autism will love this book because it shows someone else like them. The book takes the reader through a year of holidays, showcasing the challenges for kids with developmental delays and sensory issues. Parents can use this book to help family and friends understand why group celebrations are not so happy for their child.
Picture books are an easy, non-defensive way to share about autism with others. They also help your child understand a little about himself and gain some confidence. Now you have six picture books to read and add to your library. Which one will be first?
Have you discovered a great picture book for children with autism? I’d love to hear about it!
Jenny Herman wants to live in a world where dark chocolate dispensers reside on every corner. As a homeschooling special needs mom, she’s been featured in Autism Parenting Magazine, Wit and Wisdom from the Parents of Special Needs Kids: Mostly True Stories of Life on the Spectrum, and various blogs. If she survives the onslaught of testosterone in her home, she may take a moment to blog, read a book, try a new recipe, or loom knit a gift. You can find Jenny’s book The Power of One: Change Your Perspective, Change Your Life Amazon. Discover her tips for special needs parenting, hands-on homeschooling, and pressing on at jennyherman.com.
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