Autism Spectrum Disorder


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 Thinking in pictures: My life with Autism by Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is a gifted animal scientist who has designed one third of all the livestock-handling facilities in the United States. She also lectures widely on autism—because Temple Grandin is autistic, a woman who thinks, feels, and experiences the world in ways that are incomprehensible to the rest of us.

In this unprecedented book, Grandin delivers a report from the country of autism. Writing from the dual perspectives of a scientist and an autistic person, she tells us how that country is experienced by its inhabitants and how she managed to breach its boundaries to function in the outside world. What emerges in Thinking in Pictures is the document of an extraordinary human being, one who, in gracefully and lucidly bridging the gulf between her condition and our own, sheds light on the riddle of our common identity.


Temple Grandin teaches people with Autism and those who work with people who have Autism, that this diagnosis indicates a difference not a disability.  She also had a wonderful Ted Talk, The World Needs all Kinds of Minds, that is a must watch.

Counselling People on the Autism Spectrum: A Practical Manual by Katherine Paxton and Irene Estay

The characteristics of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) present unique challenges, not only to people themselves affected, but also to counselling professionals. This manual provides counselling techniques that work not only for professionals, but also for individuals either coping with being on the spectrum themselves, or living with someone who has an ASD.

Regardless of intellectual and linguistic ability, people on the autism spectrum often have significant impairments in emotional expression, regulation, and recognition, and they are known to have higher rates of depression and anxiety than the general population. This comprehensive book shows how to develop the tools necessary to help people on the spectrum cope with their emotions, anxieties, and confusion about the often overwhelming world that surrounds them. Illustrated with useful case studies, it covers a range situations where counselling may be helpful for individuals with ASD, both children and adults, families where a member is on the spectrum, and couples where a partner has ASD. It also addresses specific issues, including depression, anxiety, emotional regulation, social skills, and stress, with effective strategies for dealing with each issue.

Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman

What is autism? A lifelong disability, or a naturally occurring form of cognitive difference akin to certain forms of genius? In truth, it is all of these things and more—and the future of our society depends on our understanding it. Wired reporter Steve Silberman unearths the secret history of autism, long suppressed by the same clinicians who became famous for discovering it, and finds surprising answers to the crucial question of why the number of diagnoses has soared in recent years.  Going back to the earliest days of autism research, Silberman offers a gripping narrative of Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger, the research pioneers who defined the scope of autism in profoundly different ways; he then goes on to explore the game-changing concept of neurodiversity. NeuroTribes considers the idea that neurological differences such as autism, dyslexia, and ADHD are not errors of nature or products of the toxic modern world, but the result of natural variations in the human genome. This groundbreaking book will reshape our understanding of the history, meaning, function, and implications of neurodiversity in our world.

Doing Therapy with Children and Adolescents with Asperger Syndrome by Richard Bromfield

Cutting-edge guidance for effective treatment of children and adolescents with Asperger Syndrome.  Diagnoses of Asperger Syndrome in children and adolescents are on the rise, and while some clinicians have training and experience in this area, most do not. Using vivid case material, Doing Therapy with Children and Adolescent with Asperger Syndrome offers clinicians the guidance they need to treat the young people they endeavor to help.




Ever since he was young, John Robison longed to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits—an inclination to blurt out non sequiturs, avoid eye contact, dismantle radios, and dig five-foot holes (and stick his younger brother, Augusten Burroughs, in them)—had earned him the label “social deviant.” It was not until he was forty that he was diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. That understanding transformed the way he saw himself—and the world. A born storyteller, Robison has written a moving, darkly funny memoir about a life that has taken him from developing exploding guitars for KISS to building a family of his own. It’s a strange, sly, indelible account—sometimes alien yet always deeply human.

At some point in nearly every marriage, a wife finds herself asking, What the @#!% is wrong with my husband?! In David Finch’s case, this turns out to be an apt question. Five years after he married Kristen, the love of his life, they learn that he has Asperger syndrome. The diagnosis explains David’s ever-growing list of quirks and compulsions, but it doesn’t make him any easier to live with.

Determined to change, David sets out to understand Asperger syndrome and learn to be a better husband with an endearing yet hilarious zeal. His methods for improving his marriage involve excessive note-taking, performance reviews, and most of all, the Journal of Best Practices: a collection of hundreds of maxims and hard-won epiphanies, including “Don’t change the radio station when she’s singing along” and “Apologies do not count when you shout them.” Over the course of two years, David transforms himself from the world’s most trying husband to the husband who tries the hardest. He becomes the husband he’d always meant to be. Filled with humor and surprising wisdom, The Journal of Best Practices is a candid story of ruthless self-improvement, a unique window into living with an autism spectrum condition, and proof that a true heart can conquer all.

If you know of another book that belongs on this list let us know here or tell us about it in the comments. Make sure you’re also following The Therapist’s Bookshelf on Facebook and Instagram.


Many therapists enjoy recommending books to their clients to supplement the work they are doing together. We also use books to help ourselves grow as people and practitioners. Remember though that books are never a replacement for real human connection or for therapy when it’s needed. If you find yourself needing a therapist, a great place to start is Psychology Today. If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.


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