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What do kids with Autism Like to read?

So I made a new friend recently. Her name is Leyla Kader Dahm, which sounds like the name of a musical princess. As it happens she’s written a book which I will share with you later. Anyway, we got to chatting and I discovered she has a son who was recently diagnosed with Autism. Fortunately as people with Autism or other Spectrum Disorders seek to become more understood, pop culture responds with more books about them. People on the Spectrum vary as widely as the disorder itself. Take for example the fun book, The Rosie Project. The main character, Don Tillman is probably an undiagnosed Aspie who even taught a lecture to a group of students with Asbergers. The book is quite funny as Don insists that potential wives take a questionnaire to see if they are suitable wife material, which he calls the Wife Project.

Another book about a person on the Spectrum is House Rules by Jodi Piccoult, where the young man is accused of a horrible crime. Also, let’s not forget the widely popular Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, in which this young man is also accused of a crime. There are other books as well,  but those are the top ones that pop into my head.  Born on a Blue day is a non fiction title.

Always looking for an opportunity to learn, I asked Princess Leyla what kinds of books her little guy likes to read. You know how much I love the littles and picture books, so I was anxious to see what books speak to her little one. And to no great surprise, when Little Guy likes a book, he likes to hear it over and over and over (and over) again. No different than neurotypicals, is it? Here are a few of the books Little Guy likes:

* Scuffy the Tugboat

Scuffy the Tugboat by Gertrude Crampton

* Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

* Stop that Pickle! 

Stop That Pickle! by Peter Armour

* The Cat in the Hat

The Cat in the Hat by Doctor Suess

* Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault

That’s quite a great taste in books Little Guy has! While I’m not exactly sure what the connection is between the books is, I can only hazard a guess; they contain repetitive words and pictures and phrases which might appeal to someone on the Spectrum, which also, I must note appeals to neurotypical children as well.  I can’t tell you how many times I read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to my littles when I taught preschool. So many reads, so much love for it though!

As an interesting aside, Princess Leyla has a friend with multiple children on the spectrum who has written a book called
Sand in My Sandwich: And Other Motherhood Messes I’m Learning to Love.  I don’t know anything about the woman or the book but if you need some insight for yourself, it might be a good place to start.

Let me know what you think about any of the books on this list.  Also? Stay tuned because I will feature Leyla’s book soon! 

By Pam

My passion is advocating for diversity in children's and YA literature.

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