Parenting a child with autism is not only challenging. It can also become stressful. It’s even more overwhelming when you find so many self-help books and yet not know which ones would help you best.
As a parent, you only want what’s best for your child(ren). While books on autism do not hold all the answers, it can help you understand autism better and develop the skills you need to face the daily challenges of ASD.
With that in mind, we made a list of the best autism books for parents. The bonus? Every title is readily available on Amazon.
Are you ready?
Here they are.
Top 10 Must-Read Autism Parenting Books
First on our list is this Kindle Edition book by Elizabeth Verdick.
At a first glance at this autism book, you’d find it quirky and very fun.
But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
The Survival Guide for Kids with ASD offers a straightforward yet comprehensive resource to help parents understand autism better.
This is the book to buy if you need some help with accepting and understanding your child with autism. In its short bio, the book addresses common questions among parents (or kids with ASD themselves) like “Why me” or “What’s an ASD?”
It’s very much a survival guide with tips on diet, exercise and sleep. It even covers “toileting” and symptom management.
What makes it an even better read is that it provides helpful insight on how to handle intense behaviors and emotions.
You’d also gain more understanding on autism because the book contains real stories and even has helpful checklists.
Besides, what’s a survival guide without a checklist, right?
On top of our list is this ‘unique’ book from Dr. Barry M. Prizant.
Of all the books that talks about the subject of autism, Uniquely Human lives up to its name with its refreshing insight into ASD.
The book emphasizes the reason for why certain behaviors occur with children with autism. This is very valuable information for parents who know nothing or so little about autism.
As some of the readers mentioned, Uniquely Human is a book that will help shift your perspective. It’s a “beautiful” and “sensitive” book that “gets” what autism really is.
If you’re a parent struggling with your child because of autism, this book will help you love him or her all the more. Just the way they are.
Parents who discovered that their children have autism years ago testify that Uniquely Human digested for them what it took them years to discover by themselves.
It’s worth winning the Autism Society of America’s Dr. Temple Grandin Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Autism and with good cause.
If children with autism can communicate properly, what would they tell you?
That’s what this book talks about in its entirety.
Many people, including parents, do not understand what autism really is.
Read more: What is autism?
While this book is not as complex as Uniquely Human, this book is definitely a classic for parents of children with ASD.
Since it got published in 2005, the book has gotten even better with every new edition published along the years.
Using a child’s voice, Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew offers its readers a “look” into an autistic child’s perception of what is happening around them.
As a whole, the book explores some important characteristics of children with autism and how it shapes them in the years to come.
It’s an informative book that answers so many questions on what autism is.
Even better, the book contains useful and on point suggestions on how to help children with autism.
For parents of autistic children, even the simplest activity can become difficult and complicated.
In this book, parents find comfort in the fact that young children with autism can still connect with others and become the best version of themselves – even if they’re limited.
Backed by research, the book talks about groundbreaking intervention that you can do as early as your child is diagnosed with ASD.
The best news?
All the strategies are doable and practical. You can use them every day in your daily routine and help promote and improve language, engagement and even play.
It may not sound as fun as The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (And Their Parents), but this autism book for parents is definitely worth the read.
It’s a good resource with useful strategies and it’s a road map written by experts.
As far as autism books for parents go, The Life We Never Expected is more like a diary of parents who were thrown out of balance when they became parents to not just one, but two special needs children.
The book talks about the difficulty of being a parent to children with ASD. But at the same time, the book talks about hope and encouragement through prayer.
This book is a good read if you need encouragement from a Christian perspective.
Others who bought the book found it endearing, well-written, funny, and most of all, honest and truthful.
This book will cause you to face your own struggles as a parent of a child (or children) with autism. It will also provide you with helpful insight on the possible “heartbreaks” that you may experience as you live with someone with autism.
By reading any of these books, you get a better understanding of how children or people with autism see the world around them.
If you like Uniquely Human, then you will probably like reading The Loving Push.
Co-authored by autism authority, Dr. Grandin, The Loving Push spells out easy steps on how you can restore your child’s confidence to become successful adults.
The book contains more practical tips on how to prepare children with ASD for the “real” world in a common sense language that’s easy to understand.
Another must-read on the list is this book, Thriving with Autism.
The book is packed with 90 evidence-based activities fit to work on children ages 1 to 11 that makes learning fun and easy for kids on the spectrum.
Thriving with Autism is one of the best autism books for parents since it has simple, practical and engaging strategies to effectively teach your child.
Another benefit of getting this book is that you get to access supplemental materials online to make teaching and learning fun for your child.
Parents who’ve read the book only have great things to say in bold letters saying that the book has helped them provide support to their kids and build stronger relationships with them.
If you’re the kind of parent looking for stronger relationships and offering better support to your kid with ASD, Thriving with Autism is definitely the book for you.
Another great choice for books on autism parenting, A Parent’s Guide to High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder helps parents harness their child’s capabilities using real-world examples and vivid stories of kids with ASD.
The book is considered a “good starting point” if you’re still unfamiliar with ASD. The book puts an emphasis on the importance of discipline and how getting help and support helps a child with ASD as soon as he or she is diagnosed.
Kids with autism still enjoy play.
In fact, several studies support that children with sensory processing disorders learn best through play.
In this book, you’d find 101 games and activities PLUS an explanation as to why it’s helpful for your child on the spectrum.
However, this book is fuller with more text than images to explain the games and activities outlined in it. You may want to put that in consideration.
Of all the autism books for parents on this list, Connecting with the Autism Spectrum might be the only book written by someone who has ASD himself.
With that said, this book is a good starting point if you have yet to learn about autism.
Understanding autism can take a lot of time and effort. But this is one book that is informative especially for parents with children who were just diagnosed with autism.
Compared to other books in our list, this book is only a little over 100 pages. And yet it’s packed with essential information that is a must-read not just for parents, but even teachers and caregivers.
Remember that there are hundreds – if not thousands – of resources available for autism. Including parenting books. You don’t have to read all of them, though. Just pick something that will help you in your journey right now as a parent of a child with ASD.
Top 5 Affordable Essential Oils for Autism
Essential oils have been used by people since ancient times to aid healing. The great news? People and children with autism can benefit from them, too.
When it comes to essential oils, the first thing that probably comes to your mind is aromatherapy and massage.
Right now, essential oils are gaining even more popularity because of their many benefits. It’s an added bonus that they’re also perfect for kids and people on the autism spectrum.
So how do essential oils work? And which ones are best fit for children with autism?
Essential oils for autism – and the science behind it
Amazingly, essential oils are one of the best ways to naturally treat ASD. It’s even known to help with ADHD.
Thing is, there’s a science behind it that explains why and how.
In his study of essential oils for ADHD and autism, Dr. Terry S. Friedmann, MD, shared how essential oils help the brain.
“When the essential oil is inhaled, the micro droplets are carried to the limbic system of the brain, which is that portion that is the processing center for reason, emotion and smell, and to the hypothalamus, which is the hormone command center. The essential micro droplets are also carried to the lungs where they enter the circulatory system.”
Jill Hollway, a research scientist at the Nisonger Center of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center also reported anecdotes of parents seeing “improvements in quality of life” and smoother transitions from one activity to another – a common difficulty among children and people with autism.
More studies points out the many benefits of aromatherapy using essential oils to people with autism including:
- Sleep issues
- Attention deficiency or hyperactivity
- Sensory overload
Check it out: How to Live a Healthier Life with Autism
Top 5 essential oils for autism spectrum disorder
Overwhelmingly, you can find a lot of essential oils in the market. How much, you ask? A whopping 600 different varieties.
Twenty varieties can be considered a lot. But 600? Going through each one would take you months – or even years – to decide on its benefits.
With that in mind, we collected our top 5 picks for you and your family member in the autism spectrum disorder.
The vetiver plant, also known as perennial grass, is native to India. It’s a popular plant known for its antiseptip properties. It also has antispasmodic properties which is beneficial in providing inflammation relief and quick wound and scar healing.
As an essential oil for autism, Vetiver is both relaxing and calming which is ideal to combat ASD symptoms like impatience and difficulty in concentration.
Here’s how you can use vetiver essential oil for autism:
- Diffuse a few drops of vetiver oil to improve focus.
- Add a few drops of vetiver oil into a bathtub for better relaxation.
- Take one drop of vetiver oil, rub it in your palm and breathe in its scent to lessen anxiety and tension.
As an essential oil, sandalwood’s woodsy yet sweet smell promotes mental clarity. Like Vetiver oil, it’ll help relax and calm your child with ASD especially when used with a diffuser.
Aside from these benefits, sandalwood is also known to help with weight loss, reduce anxieties, improve attention level, improve oxygen levels and blood circulation, and relieve inflammations.
Here’s how you can use sandalwood essential oil for autism:
- Take a few drops of sandalwood and massage it on your back and shoulders to relax and ease tension.
- Calm your mind, focus better, lift your mood and lower stress levels by diffusing sandalwood essential oil.
Compared to other essential oils, lavender is very popular because of its many medicinal properties. Since ancient times, lavender oil has been used for bathing and cooking.
People with autism can greatly benefit with using a lavender oil because it helps fight emotional stress, reduce anxiety and also improve sleep.
Diffusing lavender essential oil also helps relieve constant headaches. It also acts as a natural antioxidant to protect against illnesses and infections.
Here’s how you can use lavender essential oil for autism:
- Diffuse a few drops of lavender oil to calm and relax your body as you sleep.
- Take a drop of lavender oil in your palm and inhale it to relieve feelings of stress and anxiety.
- Inhale lavender oil for 15 minutes to relieve tension headaches.
Cedarwood essential oil is another good option for people with autism.
This essential oil helps improve focus since it stimulates the pineal and pituitary glands. This is also the reason why cedarwood naturally helps the body function properly since it increases the melatonin levels.
Melatonin is a hormone that helps maintain the body’s natural clock especially sleeping and waking time. It’s the hormone responsible when you feel the need to eat (as you feel hungry) and even when you need to go and visit the toilet.
When inhaled, cedarwood essential oil also releases serotonin which is a hormone responsible to regulate mood, happiness and regulate anxiety.
Here’s how you can use cedarwood essential oil for autism:
- Diffuse a few drops of cedarwood oil to relax and reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.
- Directly breathe in the scent of cedarwood oil to calm your nerves or rub a drop between your palms.
Last, but not least on our list, is chamomile.
This essential oil is not only a great choice to help you sleep. It’s also packed with disease fighting properties. More than that, chamomile is best known for its properties to combat stress and anxiety resulting to lesser meltdowns and hyperactivity and better sleep at night.
Here’s how you can use chamomile essential oil for autism:
- Sleep better by adding a drop of chamomile to a warm cup of tea before bedtime.
- Diffuse a few drops of chamomile essential oil to help your body relax and calm down.
- Moist a towel and add a drop of chamomile oil as you put it in your forehead to relieve head or neck tension
Read more: How Sleep Helps Your Special Needs Child
When it comes to essential oils, a single drop can go a long way.
But just like any other treatment for autism, you can’t consider essential oils as a cure all for ASD. More so if it involves difficult behaviors that are visible in the spectrum. It’s also important that you use essential oils with caution. Make sure that you do your research first before blending one essential oil with another for maximum benefit.
On the other hand, there are essential oil blends that you may want to consider that targets calm, relaxation, energy, or even allergies that best fit your child’s needs.