The main problem with autism is that there are no outward physical signs of a disability. The general public has little awareness of the difficulties faced by those with autism, often assuming those with the condition are rude, naughty or stupid. Society places emphasis on our ability to socialise and although many people with autism are talented, intelligent individuals they find life difficult because the rest of the population fail to understand their needs.
Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that some people are more disabled than others, but all share the ‘triad of impairments’. They are:
- difficulty with social communication
- difficulty with social interaction
- difficulty with social imagination
Many also suffer from a heightening of the senses, meaning that strong light, noise, smell or touch can be unplesant.
You probably know someone with undiagnosed autism.
It is estimated that one in every hundred people have autism, but a diagnosis is often only obtained for those at the more severe end of the spectrum.
Does this sound like someone you know?
- Rigidly follows rules
- Talks endlessly about a single subject
- Unable to understand facial expressions
- Incapable of lying
- Has inflexible routines
- Thinks literally
- Has difficulty understanding sarcasm
If you’d like more information the National Austic Society is a fantastic source of information.
The Best Fiction Books About Autism?
Since my son received his diagnosis I’ve made an effort to read as many books as possible containing autistic characters. Most have the factual details of the condition right, but very few capture the difficulties and emotions correctly.
An entertaining romance involving a man with Asperger’s syndrome. It is a fantastically positive book and is the first I recommend to someone looking for fiction involving autism.
Speed of Dark is set in the near future, at the moment they find a cure for autism. This is a fantastic book that questions whether or not we’d be better off without autism in our society.
This is a wonderful book for older children, but I loved it too. It is narrated by the imaginary friend of a child with autism and gives a fantastically original perspective on the condition. The audio book is particularly good.
This little gem deserves to be more widely known. It questions how responsible children are for their actions and is a gripping, forgotten masterpiece.
This YA book questions whether or not we should force those with autism to integrate with society. It is entertaining and insightful and the book I am most likely to recommend to family members unfamiliar with autism.
This modern classic was the first to bring autism to a wider audience. It remains one of the best books on the subject.
Which is your favourite book that deals with autism?