Co-editor of the not for profit parenting magazine, AuKids, Debby Elley has now written her first parenting guide, Fifteen Things They Forgot to Tell You About Autism: The Stuff That Transformed My Life as an Autism Parent. Here on our blog, she describes the book and its aims in her own words.
I’ll let you into a secret. It’s not really fifteen things, it’s a lot more. My son Bobby calls it Fifteen Things YOU TOTALLY MISSED About Autism, but the thing is, you’d be forgiven for missing them. No-one tells you what it’s important to know. You sort of find out the hard way. That is, with time and effort and sometimes a few tears.
Fifteen Things… is the sort of book that I could only write having amassed a decent body of evidence from my own experience of raising twins. It’s now 12 years since they were diagnosed and I’m one of those parents who can look back with the benefit of hindsight and tell myself where I went wrong. That’s no fun at all, so I thought that I’d prefer instead to tell those at the beginning of this learning curve where they can go right.
It’s Autism Awareness Month and each week we’ve shared a series of blog posts on books by, for, and about autistic adults. Pretending to be Normal: Living with Asperger’s Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder) Expanded Edition is an updated edition of the bestselling story of a woman who, after years of self-doubt and self-denial, learned to embrace and appreciate her Asperger’s syndrome traits.
Liane Holliday Willey shares, with insight and warmth, the daily struggles and challenges that face many of those who have AS and charts her inspirational journey to self-acceptance.
“When Pretending to be Normal was published in 1999, I saw society as if a big mesh fence surrounded it. I could poke my fingers through the holey mesh, and see the blurry images on the other side, and put my ear against the tight weave to hear conversations within the webbed walls, but I couldn’t break down the barriers that were so real, they might as well have been made of steel chains. Read blogs and memoirs from those on the spectrum and you will quickly note most of us felt like we were on the outside looking in, always trying with all our might to prove we had potential to offer, kindness to share and skill sets to turn into productive work. We tried everything to just get a foot in the door of the NT world. We knocked and knocked and pleaded and fought and bribed and pouted and joked and offered favors and turned over every leaf to find a way in to typical society until we were exhausted and spent or until we found a way to pretend we were what society wanted us to be. Though our pluses outweigh our negatives, we are different thinkers who can act in ways not always socially acceptable, leaving society confused…”
To read the full chapter, CLICK HERE.
To find out more about this book visit our WEBSITE, or browse a selection of our books written for autistic adults HERE.
As you might already know, we’re marking Autism Awareness Month throughout April by sharing a series of blog posts on books by, for, and about autistic adults. Featuring personal stories from those with Asperger’s Syndrome, Sarah Hendrickx’s book, Asperger Syndrome & Employment highlights successful scenarios and provides suggestions for employers and those in search of work. This extract looks at key criteria which can be helpful to think about.
Is there any such thing as the perfect job? Or is this an oxymoron? A suitable job is one which allows best use of specific skills and minimises the areas of weakness. Lone working, excellent factual memory, logical analysis and problem-solving are likely strengths for someone with AS. Jobs which have been suggested to be more suitable for those with AS include:
- postman – lone working, lack of pressure, involves exercise
- gardener – lone working, lack of pressure, physical work (can be relaxing)
- IT technician – lone working, technical precision required, problem solving
- software engineer – problem solving, working to precise specifications
- photographer – creative, lone working, using technical skills
- researcher – analytical, focused, detail-driven
- accountant – proficiency with numbers, accuracy
- librarian – system focused, excellent factual memory
- piano tuner – perfect pitch, lack of pressure, lone working, specialist interest
It’s Autism Awareness Week in the UK this week and, while we want to foreground the voices of our autistic authors as much as possible every week of the year, this week it’s especially important for us all to better recognise, understand and accept the variety and validity of autistic experience. With this in mind, the below extract is an introduction to Gillian Drew’s bestselling An Adult With an Autism Diagnosis: A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed. Aimed at those who receive a diagnosis for the first time as adults, this book draws on personal experiences to provide positive advice on dealing with life, health, and relationships following an adult diagnosis. With thanks to the author for allowing us to share their story.
When I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, an Autism Spectrum Disorder, at the age of 28, I was sent away without so much as a leaflet to explain what it all meant. As you can imagine, I was left with more questions than answers. What exactly is autism? Why do I have it? How can it be treated? What does it mean for my life? How does it affect work? How does it affect relationships? What are the long-term consequences? Can I still get married and have children? Should I get professional support? Where should I live? How do I explain this to people? Why was I not diagnosed as a child? Will things improve?
Unfortunately, there was nobody I could ask and nobody who could answer. As someone whose only knowledge of autism came from the movie Rain Man, I discovered to my dismay that there were no books catering for the newly diagnosed adult. The vast majority of the literature on autism focuses on children with the condition, and those books that do cover adults assume you either received the diagnosis as a child and therefore understand an awful lot about it already, or are qualified as a clinical psychologist. I craved a book that could help me understand what it means to be diagnosed with autism as an adult.
Failing to find it, I decided to write it myself to help others come to terms with this life-changing news.
Described as ‘an excellent read providing visionary insight’ by Jane Miller (County Manager Occupational Therapy and Reablement, Kent County Council), Autism and Enablement shows how to help adults with autism achieve greater independence and become more self-sufficient.
We are very pleased to receive so much positive feedback after the launch of our book Autism and Enablement. The Kent specialist ASC Enablement approach is the first of its kind provided by a UK Local Authority and we are honoured to publish a book on the approach. We hope that the approach is taken up nationally; this is only equitable because enablement is provided across the county to older people and people with physical needs, and increasingly to people with mental health issues and learning disability. We would argue that people on the spectrum are prime candidate for enablement because it is not inevitable that just because you have autism you should be destined to rely on others throughout the lifespan. People we have met have been found to have significant potential for personal growth, increased self-worth and self-esteem, for an increased sense of wellbeing and internal resilience; many just haven’t been offered the right support and neither have their supporters.
All About Me is an in-depth guide describing the practicalities of telling a child or young person about their autism diagnosis. It discusses when to tell, who should do it, and what they need to know beforehand. In this blog, author Andrew Miller explains his reasons for creating the book, and who can benefit from it.
What motivated you to write All About Me?
Telling children and young people that they have autism and trying to explain what it means to them is difficult. The abstract nature of autism, its associated differences in cognition and its lifelong implications make it hard for children to understand, and finding out that they have autism could potentially cause some individuals emotional and psychological upset. Therefore, in some cases it could create more problems for an individual than it might intend to solve.
Wonderfully detailed and obsessively precise, Artistic Autistic calls out to the perfectionist in all of us. Straight from the pen of Peter Myers, an artist with Asperger’s Syndrome, these delightfully complex illustrations reveal the exacting nature of an Asperger mind. Can you match Peter’s detailed drawings with your own meticulous colouring?
As part of our JKP Advent season, we’re offering you the chance to download free sample pages from the book, to enjoy colouring in at home this Christmas.
Enter a world of order, detail and precision through every page of this extraordinary colouring book. Providing a mesmerizing snapshot into the creative world of autism through the mind of Peter Myers, an artist with Asperger’s Syndrome, the book includes an introduction by the artist along with a collection of pen and ink illustrations ready to be brought to life.
Letting his imagination inspire his creativity, Peter’s artwork captures perfectly his constantly changing and shifting ideas, down to the very last millimetre. Add your personal stamp to these beautifully complex drawings and let your own exacting nature express itself.
Victoria Honeybourne is a senior advisory teacher, trainer and writer with a particular interest in promoting wellbeing amongst young people on the autism spectrum. We caught up with Victoria upon the publication of her latest book, A Practical Guide to Happiness in Children and Teens on the Autism Spectrum, to ask a few questions about how it came about.
What motivated you to write A Practical Guide to Happiness in Children and Teens on the Autism Spectrum and who is the book for?
There has been a lot of interest recently in using findings from the positive psychology movement to improve happiness, wellbeing and resilience in children and young people. However, I realised that many of the strategies advised were not always the most appropriate for those on the autism spectrum. I wanted to write a book which looked at these issues from an autistic point of view. The book is for anybody working with children and young people on the autism spectrum – mainstream teachers, teaching assistants, mentors, speech and language therapists, and parents.