Health

Resources To Help You Build A Better Understanding Of Autism

Books, podcasts, organisations, & social media accounts to check out during Autism Awareness Week & beyond.

Mother and daughter sitting together and talking.
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Autism Awareness Week runs from March 29 to April 4. It’s a time when organisations can highlight the characteristics of the condition, just how common it is, and the nuances of loving someone with autism. Understanding autism can be the first step in supporting a loved one with the condition, but it’s important to bear in mind that no two people with autism are the same. That said, here are some resources that can help to build a fuller picture of what living with autism in 2021 is like.

It’s estimated that 700,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed with autism. New research has found that it’s likely to be a much more common condition than people previously thought. The Independent reported that one in 57 children in England are on the autistic spectrum, and that it’s more common in children from underprivileged backgrounds.

If your child, sibling, partner, or relative has been diagnosed with autism then it can be difficult to know where to begin in terms of research. One of the best things you can do is educate yourself on ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). Learn the common signs and symptoms, and establish which of these your loved one experiences.

It can also be overwhelming for those supporting a person with autism – know that you’re not alone. There are so many great organisations, social media accounts, and books dedicated to building a better understanding of what life with autism is like, and busting the myths associated with the condition. Below, we’ve put together a list of resources to help.

Organisations

National Autistic Society

The National Autistic Society is on a mission to make the world a better place for people with autism. They have a number of resources for people with ASD, and their loved ones, as well as running a helpline.

Ambitious About Autism

Ambitious About Autism advocates for and shares resources on children and young people with autism. They also support parents and carers of children with autism to ensure that children with ASD aren’t stigmatised or othered.

NHS Autism Support Groups

Getting information from organisations can be helpful but the NHS has a search tool that allows you to find autism support groups near you. This may allow you to speak to other people who are in a similar position to you, to get their advice, and build friendships.

Autism Initiatives

Autism Initiatives works closely with people with autism and their families. They offer a number of resources and work in schools and colleges to highlight what autism is and how it manifests differently in different people.

Autism Together

Autism Together runs one-to-one support sessions for people with autism, and their loved ones. They can offer help and advice, and have a helpline open during office hours.

Social Media Accounts

Haley Moss

In her Instagram bio, Haley Moss outlines that she’s an attorney, artist, and author. She creates infographics and speaks on panels about her experience as a young person with autism.

Leanne Libas

Leanne Libas speaks out about ableism, autistic identities, and acceptance on her Instagram.

Sara Jane Harvey

Sara Jane Harvey, aka Agony Autie uses her platform to advocate for disabled and intersectional rights.

J

J creates TikTok videos to dispel the misconceptions surrounding autism. They also share the work of other autistic creators.

Tyla

Tyla is an autism and mental health advocate. She uses her platform to talk about living and working in London with autism.

Books

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison

John Elder Robison has Aspergers, a high functioning form of autism. In Look Me in the Eye he talks about his experience at home and school, and how it’s impacted his relationship with others and himself.

Buy on Waterstones

The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband by David Finch

Five years after he married his wife, Kristen, David Finch was diagnosed with Aspergers. In The Journal of Best Practices he takes the reader on his journey to understand what exactly that means for him, and his marriage.

Buy on Bookshop.org

Aspergers and Adulthood: A Guide to Working, Loving, and Living With Asperger’s Syndrome by Blythe Grossberg

Part of supporting a loved one with autism is trying to understand the world through their eyes. In Apsergers and Adulthood, Blythe Grossberg outlines that autism often adds another dynamic to things like living alone, dating, and working.

Buy on Hive

To Siri, With Love by Judith Newman

In To Siri, With Love, Judith Newman invites the reader into her home for a year. She lives with her twin teenage sons. Gus, one of the twins, is autistic, and Newman explores what that means for the family day to day. Central to the story is Gus’s friendship with Siri, and the endless information it provides him.

Buy on Waterstones

Stim: An Autistic Anthology by Lizzie Huxley-Jones

Lizzie Huxley-Jones has brought together some of the most talented and creative voices to share what having autism is really like, in a book that’s written by the people who have it. She says that “it is rare that autistic people get to share their own experiences.” Stim seeks to bust the stereotypes and stigma attached to autism, and showcase individual experiences through essays, fiction, and art.

Buy on Bookshop.org

Podcasts

The Autism Show

The Autism Show is a weekly podcast that speaks to people with autism, advocates and campaigners, and educators to explore topics like family life, working, and education.

Word of Mouth

On Radio 4’s Word Of Mouth, Michael Rosen has explored what we can learn about connections and communication from people with ASD.

Spectrum

Spectrum platforms people working in autism research and education to provide them with a space to talk about their experiences. They’ve spoken about what it’s like to be a Black autistic researcher, and the links between autism and social media when it comes to diagnosis.

Autism POVs

Autism POVs is the podcast for the organisation, Autism Speaks. They speak to experts and advocates as well as people living with autism about knowing your rights, celebrities with autism, and supporting families with autism.

Modern Love

Modern Love is the New York Times podcast that explores relationships in all of their forms. It has episodes on dating and marriage when one partner has autism, and also discusses bringing up an autistic child.