The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders

The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (And Their Parents)

Elizabeth Verdick & Elizabeth Reeve, M.D.

Free Spirit Publishing, Nonfiction, Self-Help, Mar. 22, 2012

Suitable for: Ages 8 -13 and Parents

Theme:  Autism, coping strategies, making friends, identifying feelings,  dealing with change and information to help families

Opening:  This book begins with a beautiful introduction to kids from the authors. “We don’t believe in can’t or never.” “If you have ASD, there are differences between you and other people.  But your life can be about can.   You can make friends, succeed to the best of your ability in school, be an awesome son, daughter, sister, brother, or friend, and learn, grow and connect with others.  Never say never.”  And there is a special introduction for parents that focuses on the uniqueness of the disorder.  “Each child is an individual.  They can’t be lumped together because of the vast differences in how they think, learn, feel, behave and communicate.” 

This survival guide is meant for a parent and child to read together so the material can be discussed and questions answered.  It is an informative and upbeat book for children who have been diagnosed within the autism spectrum to learn about themselves and their disorder, and to find coping strategies to deal with daily challenges.  Beginning with a description of ASD and its many symptoms,  this guide includes information about relationships with family members, making friends at school, community involvement, changing schools, feelings, communications, body language,  bullying, playing, relaxation, sleep and personal hygiene.

What I like about this book:   Elizabeth Verdick and Elizabeth Reeve, M.D., are both parents of children with autism and offer a unique perspective.  The guide has a wonderful balance of text, examples, tips from famous people with autism, colorful and  lively illustrations, and stories from kids with ASD.  The book is a great resource packed with tools that kids can use to navigate new daily experiences, find a calm-down space,  talk about a new emotion (I am upset), organize schoolwork and schedules, and eat a balanced diet.  I don’t recommend parents read the book from beginning to end with a child.  It is a resource that can be used when they need help.   The chapters are well-marked and topics easily located.   You will find that this guide will be very handy as your child enters many new developmental stages.  

April is National Autism Awareness Month.   According to a report released March 29 by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the estimated number of U.S. autistic kids has skyrocketed by 78 percent since 2000.  Now, one in 88 American kids has autism, according to the new figures.  Among boys, it’s one in 54.  The big question is “why?”   One expert said, “better diagnosis, broader diagnosis, better awareness, and roughly 50 percent of ‘We don’t know’.”   Another advocate said, “we have an epidemic of autism in the United States.”   For more information, visit Autism Speaks.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

25 thoughts on “The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  1. Hi Patricia, I have posted this great review on Plum Tree Books and on Kiss My Kindle. Thank You for all you do to raise awareness of these often disregarded issues.


    • Thank you Niamh, I appreciate getting the word out. This book was just released, and is a very important guide meant to be read with a parent. I think autistic kids will like working with this tool.


  2. Hi Pat, this looks like an easy, user-friendly, and very practical and hands-on kind of book which deals with a very important issue/topic. I’m sure this would be deeply appreciated by parents who are constantly on the lookout for tips and strategies that work with their children.


    • Myra, I will be interested in hearing from a parent. It opens the door to talk about autism with their kids. It is a great balance of information, humor, big questions, great illustrations. I am happy the mothers came up with the idea, since they have autistic children and have first-hand experience.


  3. Pat, once again, though I know this book has a very clear target audience, I would hope this book would also get into the hands of a much wider audience of teens and adults to helps us all understand these challenges better and respect the ‘never say never’!


    • Joanna, the audience is clearly targeted, but I think that all family members would benefit. I agree, it would help a broader audience understand the challenges of autism and how to interact. I was very impressed with the guide and applaud the author’s for taking on such a big project! The one parent also is a psychiatrist, which add credibility to advice. This is such a positive book.


  4. We got a review copy of this book from Free Spirit (the publishers) and it looked fantastic. I went through quite a bit of it one day and late in the day someone came into the shop to buy something and mentioned that he was going to be spending time with his grandson, an autistic teen. I offered him the book. He was somewhat dismayed, saying “He’s severely autistic, I can’t imagine him reading this.” I suggested that he and the child’s parents find times to read it to him. He thumbed through it, and thought about it. Finally he said that he would take it and try. I don’t know the outcome yet, and may never know, but I do know one thing for sure. We can never tell what another person is really thinking, unless that person can clearly tell us. This book could be like Star Trek’s universal translator. It can give those of us not on the spectrum an idea of what it is like to be on that journey, and can give people on the autism/aspergers spectrum some tools to break through to us. At least we have to try.


    • Craig, a great story. I thought about giving my copy as a giveaway on he blog. But wanted it to go to someone who really would like to have the book. I loved your last statement about giving those of us not on the spectrum an idea of what is like, and give people on the autism spectrum some tools to break through to us. I believe that is a goal of the authors. I thought the book was upbeat, bright and colorful, funny, yet tackled big questions and gave great tips and tools. Will be interesting to what those who use the book think.


  5. Nice choice for autism awareness month!

    Without even seeing the content of this book, I can imagine that many of the ideas would be helpful to kids with AND without autism!

    The things you highlighted: “relationships with family members, making friends at school, community involvement, changing schools, feelings, communications, body language, bullying, playing, relaxation, sleep and personal hygiene” are challenging for all kids, regardless of disability.


    • Cathy, yes I agree. Although targeted for kids with autism, many of the themes I highlighted apply to all kids. I was very happy with this colorful, well-written book. The authors kept it lively and a lot of fun.


  6. This sounds like a great book for kids with ASD. Do you think it would be good for kids without ASD to learn from too? I was thinking about what you said about being creative in telling kids in school. I think I can donate some books to my classroom about autism and sensory integration disorder. Maybe other kids will read them! I did read Rules (I didn’t review it) I like how it’s told from the sister who didn’t have ASD. I thought it was a really good book!


    • Erik, I think it would be a good book in helping kids without ASD understand autism, as well as helping autistic kids interact with people. Donating the books is a good idea, and I think that teachers would benefit too from having the resources.


    • Micahel, it is a very well-written guide that covers so many bases in a very fun and lively manner. I enjoyed reading the book. Illustrations are great. Hope you mention it to parents you know because it might help them connect in new ways. The authors did a superb job!


  7. I love this! Sounds like a wonderful book with great information, and I love the fun cover. I love to see how much there is available for autism and about autism. Wonderful choice!


    • Thanks Leigh! More and more is being written on autism. Many of the books I’m reviewing this month have just been released. That’s so good for the autism cause, families and kids. We can all learn from it.


  8. Yet another excellent-sounding book, Pat. I agree with so many people who have commented that this would be excellent to teach other kids (and other parents) about life on the autism spectrum scale.

    Thank you!


    • Beth, I was so excited to find this new book! I agree with your comments. But, it is a book ASD kids can call their own and it’s meant to be read with parents. Glad your liked the selection!


  9. Sounds like another good one here. You’ve showcased a number of good books on autism. I will have to send a link to your blog to my sister in law. Her son is currently being tested to determine if he is indeed autistic. I’m sure she will be looking for some resources. Thank you, Pat.


    • Ruth, I continue to run across parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles in our group of bloggers who have family member or friend with a child with ASD. I’m glad that I can be a source of information. The best parent book to read is “Following Ezra,” which I reviewed a few months ago. Thanks for sharing.


  10. Wow, I had no idea that autism was such a common problem. Those are terrible numbers. I guess I’m a little insulated from this one. The challenges in our family have gone in different directions. This sounds like a great resource.

    On a completely different subject, did you ever get the book you won on Danielle’s blog? Or find the link I posted after your comment? Sorry for posting that here, but the email I sent you came back to me.


    • Micehlle, it has reached skyrocketed since 2000. It’s all over the news. One of the reasons I’m reviewing at least one new book a week during Autism Month. The guide is wonderful. Sent you an e-mail on your second question.


  11. Pingback: Survival Guide Authors Talk About Autism | Children's Books Heal

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