In this post I recommend Autism Positive books. As well as being constructive they will help reinforce many of the things I talk about in my articles.

Over the years I have read an awful lot of books about Autism.  Honestly, most of them (many still popular today) are full of myths and stereotypes, so I have carefully selected books by Autistic people and allies of Autistic people that I would recommend. 

These are my personal recommendations; so there’s bound to be books not on the list which you think should be!

Some of the older ones may use outdated terminology, but still have something useful to say.

This is a huge list (over 50 at the last count) and I don’t recommend you read all of the books!

Look for the ones which are relevant to you and your experiences. And return as your experiences change and you need new advice and perspectives.

Despite it being a long list I hope it less daunting than typing ‘Autism Positive Books’ into Amazon or Google and seeing the pages of results (and I guarantee that they wouldn’t all be autism positive anyway!).

Some of the books are expensive as they are academic publications, but you can ask your library to order books for you.

All of the links below that take you to amazon are affiliate links.  Which means that if you add something to your basket and purchase it, I’ll get a tiny percentage.  It doesn’t cost you anything more, but does me a small favour, as it’s a way for me to support my income and keep doing stuff for free or as little as possible.


To help you find the books you need I’ve recreated my list of Autism Positive book recommendations on my own online Book Shop. This is free to access and much easier to navigate than one very long blog post as I have distinct categories inside my book shop.


What this means is that you’ll be able to search for book via categories and it will generally be a much nicer experience for you!

What I also love is that your books are sourced from UK bookshops and the shop owners get a much better profit split than from Amazon (and I get 10%). As an avid reader with hundreds of books, who loves an independent book shop, this makes me happy.


Some books won’t be available from BookShop and will only be available from Amazon or academic publishers. I’ll leave these books below.

If you’re visiting this blog from outside of the UK you might wish to find the book on your local Amazon or your equivalent to


This blog post and the Book Shop listing will always be free to access. But there’s 90+ books listed across the two locations and that’s not always the easiest when you’re just browsing and looking for inspiration. So now you can buy the complete list as an ebook (it’s more like a catalogue!) which you can download and print and keep. And the best thing is that as I add new books the ebook will be updated for you.

Find out more about the Autism Positive ebook and add it to your resources for just $5.


These are the books which aren’t available via my Bookshop store and are only available via Amazon or private publishers (the links are to Amazon UK, so you may need to find the book in your regional Amazon).

10 Rules, Dr Damian Milton

Damian’s interest in autism began when his son was diagnosed in 2005 as autistic at the age of two. Damian was also diagnosed with Asperger’s in 2009 at the age of 36. 

Thanks to Damian’s ability to present his views and insights, he is able to challenge many of the ideas held by society. Damian works part-time for the National Autistic Society (NAS) as Head of Autism Knowledge and Expertise (Adults and Community) and sits on the scientific and advisory committee for Research Autism. 

Damian currently teaches on the MA Education (Autism) programme at London South Bank University and is a consultant for the Transform Autism Education (TAE) project. In 2017 Damian joined the Tizard Centre, University of Kent as a part-time Lecturer to coincide with his work for the NAS.

BUY ME – Amazon only – not on Bookshop

A mismatch of Salience, Dr Damian Milton

A Mismatch of Salience explores the communication challenges between Autistic people and neurotypical people and seeks to re-balance and celebrate this diversity.

BUY ME – Amazon only (Not on Bookshop)

All the weight of our dreams (Anthology), Edited by Lydia X Brown

Delve into poetry, essays, short fiction, photography, paintings, and drawings in the first-ever anthology entirely by autistic people of color, featuring 61 writers and artists from seven countries. 

The work here represents the lives, politics, and artistic expressions of Black, Brown, Latinx, Indigenous, Mixed-Race, and other racialized and people of color from many autistic communities, often speaking out sharply on issues of marginality, intersectionality, and liberation.

BUY ME – Amazon only (not on Bookshop)

The Secret Life of Rose: Inside An Autistic Head, Rose Smitten Jodie Smitten

Do you know anyone who is autistic? Or maybe you are? This book will introduce you to life with autism, help you understand those in your life who are autistic from the perspective of an 11 year old autistic girl and her Mum; an autism specialist .

We cover subjects such as sensory differences, masking, making friends and eye contact!

Foreword by Dr Luke Beardon & back cover reviews from Kieran Rose, The Autistic Advocate & Dr Pooky Knightsmith

BUY ME – Amazon only (not on Bookshop)

Neurotribes, Steve Silberman

This is perhaps the most significant history of the discovery, changing conception and public reaction to autism we will see in a generation. –

A well-researched, readable report on the treatment of autism that explores its history and proposes significant changes for its future… In the foreword, Oliver Sacks writes that this “sweeping and penetrating history…is fascinating reading” that “will change how you think of autism.” No argument with that assessment. –Kirkus Reviews

Winner of the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction, this Sunday Times bestseller upends conventional thinking about autism and suggests a broader model for acceptance, understanding, and full participation in society for people who think differently.

BUY ME – Amazon only – not on Bookshop

Fall down 7 times, get up 8, Naoki Higashida

Naoki Higashida met international success with THE REASON I JUMP, a revelatory account of life as a thirteen-year-old with non-verbal autism. Now he offers an equally illuminating insight into autism from his perspective as a young adult. 

In concise, engaging pieces, he shares his thoughts and feelings on a broad menu of topics ranging from school experiences to family relationships, the exhilaration of travel to the difficulties of speech. 

Aware of how mystifying his behaviour can appear to others, Higashida describes the effect on him of such commonplace things as a sudden change of plan, or the mental steps he has to take simply to register that it’s raining. 

Throughout, his aim is to foster a better understanding of autism and to encourage those with disabilities to be seen as people, not as problems.

BUY ME – Amazon only – not available on Bookshop

The Autism Spectrum Guide to Sexuality and Relationships: Understand Yourself and Make Choices that are Right for You, Emma Goodall

Unravelling the complexities of relationships and sexuality, this straight-talking guide will help you to navigate the associated social, emotional and physical issues. Expert advice and real life examples give you the knowledge to reflect on your own sexuality, provide you with information on different types of relationship, and gives you the confidence to decide which type of relationship is right for you. 

Together with important information on sexual health, this book will help you to understand how to find and maintain a relationship of your choosing in a safe and enjoyable way.

Exploring the often unspoken rules of sex and relationships, this book also covers often unaddressed topics, such as:

· what sexual attraction looks and feels like

· how to identify your own sexual identity and preferences (and how they may change)

· what your rights are, and how to stay safe

· having children, or choosing not to, the impact of this on relationships

· how to recognise power imbalances within relationships, and what to do

BUY ME – Amazon only – not available on Bookshop

It’s an Autism thing, Emma Dalmayne

It’s an Autism thing… I’ll help you understand is a valuable teaching and learning resource, written from the perspective of an autistic woman whose children are also on the autism spectrum.

Each chapter concentrates on a specific topic, which is broken down into ‘My Experiences’, ‘Information’ and ‘Advice’. A picture is used to separate each section and make this clear.

The book offers insights into some of the potential trials and challenges of daily life for an autistic person.

BUY ME – Only available on itunes (not listed in Catalogue)

Pretending to be Normal: Living with Asperger’s Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder), Lianne Holliday Willey

Compelling and witty, Liane Holliday Willey’s account of growing to adulthood as an undiagnosed Autistic has been read by thousands of people on and off the autism spectrum since it was first published in 1999.

Bringing her story up to date, including her diagnosis as an adult, and reflecting on the changes in attitude over 15 years, this expanded edition will continue to entertain (and inform) all those who would like to know a little more about how it feels to spend your life `pretending to be normal’.

BUY ME – Amazon only – not available on Bookshop

Loud hands: Autistic people speaking, Edited by Julia Bascom

Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking is a collection of essays written by and for Autistic people. 

Spanning from the dawn of the Neurodiversity movement to the blog posts of today, Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking catalogues the experiences and ethos of the Autistic community and preserves both diverse personal experiences and the community’s foundational documents together side by side.

BUY ME – Amazon only – not available on Bookshop

Naming Adult Autism: Culture, Science, Identity, James McGrath

Naming Adult Autism is one of the first critiques of cultural and medical narratives of Autism to be authored by an Autistic adult . 

Autism is a ‘social disorder’, defined by interactions and lifestyle. Yet, the expectations of normalcy against which Autism is defined have too rarely been questioned. 

This book demonstrates the value of the Humanities towards developing fuller understandings of Autistic adulthood, adapting theory from Adorno, Foucault and Butler. 

The chapters expose serious scientific limitations of medical assumptions that Autistic people are gifted at maths but indifferent to fiction. After interrogating such clichés in literature, cinema and television, James McGrath also explores more radical depictions of Autism via novels by Douglas Coupland, Margaret Atwood, Clare Morrall and Meg Wolitzer, plus poems by Les Murray and Joanne Limburg.

BUY ME – Amazon only (not available on Bookshop)

Camouflage: The Hidden Lives of Autistic Women, Dr Sarah Bargiela

Autism in women and girls is still not widely understood, and is often misrepresented or even overlooked. 

This graphic novel offers an engaging and accessible insight into the lives and minds of women with autism, using real-life case studies. The charming illustrations lead readers on a visual journey of how women on the spectrum experience everyday life, from metaphors and masking behaviours to communication online, dealing with social pressures and managing relationships. 

Fun, sensitive and informative, this is a fantastic resource for anyone who wishes to understand how gender affects autism, and how to create safer, more accommodating environments for women on the spectrum.

BUY ME – Amazon only (not available on Bookshop)

Representing Autism: Culture, Narrative, Fascination, Stuart Murray

From concerns of an ‘autism epidemic’ to the MMR vaccine crisis, autism is a source of peculiar fascination in the contemporary media. 

Discussion of the condition has been largely framed within medicine, psychiatry and education but there has been no exploration of its power within representative narrative forms. Representing Autism is the first book to tackle this approach, using contemporary fiction and memoir writing, film, photography, drama and documentary together with older texts to set the contemporary fascination with autism in context. 

Representing Autism analyses and evaluates the place of autism within contemporary culture and at the same time examines the ideas of individual and community produced by people with autism themselves to establish the ideas of autistic presence that emerge from within a space of cognitive exceptionality. Central to the book is a sense of the legitimacy of autistic presence as a way by which we might more fully articulate what it means to be human.

BUY ME – Amazon only (not available on Bookshop)

I Think I Might Be Autistic: A Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis and Self-Discovery for Adults, Cynthia Kim

What if instead of being weird, shy, geeky or introverted, your brain is wired differently? For adults with undiagnosed Autism, there is often an “aha!” moment–when you realize that Autism just might be the explanation for why you’ve always felt so different.

BUY ME – – Amazon only (not available on Bookshop)

Re-Thinking Autism: Diagnosis, Identity and Equality Paperback by Rebecca Mallett and Sami Timimi Katherine Runswick-Cole (Editor)

Challenges the existing models of autism, the practices related to them, including diagnosis, `treatment’, and societal attitudes – essential reading for all professionals in the field

BUY ME – Amazon only (not available on Bookshop)

What Every Autistic Girl Wishes Her Parents Knew Paperback, by Inc. Autism Women’s Network, Emily Paige Ballou

“What Every Autistic Girl Wishes Her Parents Knew” is the book that many of us wish our parents would have had access to when we were growing up. In this first book release from the Autism Women’s Network, the autistic contributors write with honesty and generosity about the emotional needs, sensitivity, and vibrancy of autistic girls.

BUY ME – Amazon only (not available on Bookshop)

The Nine Degrees of Autism: A Developmental Model for the Alignment and Reconciliation of Hidden Neurological Conditions by Philip Wylie, Wenn Lawson, Luke Beardon

The Nine Degrees of Autism presents a much-needed positive tool for understanding the developmental process of autism, and to facilitate the improved mental health and well-being of individuals on the spectrum. The ground-breaking model charts nine distinct stages of development – from pre-identification, to learning to live with changes in self-image following a late diagnosis, through to self-acceptance and wellbeing. Using the model as a framework each chapter focuses on a particular stage of the process. Experts provide personal insights into the environmental and societal challenges faced by individuals with autism, and dispel a number of popular misconceptions.

The positive developmental model described in this book will encourage people on the Spectrum to accept themselves by focusing on their gifts rather than weaknesses, and to avoid identifying with negative medical classifications. The developmental process which the authors describe is also applicable to other ‘hidden’ neurological conditions such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Aphasia, and ADHD.

The book should be read by anyone who wants to understand the real nature and experience of autism and will also be essential reading for a range of professionals seeking to work more effectively with individuals on the spectrum.

BUY ME – Amazon only (not available on Bookshop)

Autistic Community and the Neurodiversity Movement: Stories from the Frontline by Steven K. Kapp

This open access book marks the first historical overview of the autism rights branch of the neurodiversity movement, describing the activities and rationales of key leaders in their own words since it organized into a unique community in 1992. Sandwiched by editorial chapters that include critical analysis, the book contains 19 chapters by 21 authors about the forming of the autistic community and neurodiversity movement, progress in their influence on the broader autism community and field, and their possible threshold of the advocacy establishment. The actions covered are legendary in the autistic community, including manifestos such as “Don’t Mourn for Us”, mailing lists, websites or webpages, conferences, issue campaigns, academic project and journal, a book, and advisory roles. These actions have shifted the landscape toward viewing autism in social terms of human rights and identity to accept, rather than as a medical collection of deficits and symptoms to cure.

BUY ME – Amazon only (not available on Bookshop)

Sensory Trauma: AUTISM, SENSORY DIFFERENCE AND THE DAILY EXPERIENCE OF FEAR by Dr Rorie Fulton, Emma Reardon, Kate Richardson, Dr Rachel Jones

Autistic people use their bodies, sounds and words to declare that their sensory experience is different to that of non-autistic people. Accounts of autistic sensory experience can be found in two types of “sensory writing” that, whilst ostensibly referring to the same lived experience, appear to run on parallel, if not divergent, tracks (our use here of the term “sensory writing” encompasses the non-text accounts produced by autistic people such as blogs and YouTube films). Autistic people, when they recount their sensory experience of the world, use language quite different to that used by autism professionals. Sensory writing by autistic people is, of its nature, self-referential. It may be nuanced and reflective as well as, at times, graphic, shocking and replete with sensory detail. Autistic sensory writing describes the relationship between individual bodies and the world, hence is multifarious. By contrast, sensory writing by autism professionals tends to be siloed by discipline and heavily constrained by the conventions of clinical-academic discourse. Partly on account of these constraints, sensory writing by autism professionals is, for the most part , neurocentric (brain-focused) and so tends to exclude the relationship between individual autistic bodies and the world. In this position paper, we contrast the autistic and neurocentric genres of sensory writing and seek to reconcile them using the concept of affordances . On this basis, we generate a novel “Sensory Trauma” framework within which to [re]consider the lived experience of autistic people.

BUY ME – Amazon only (not available on Bookshop)

Autism in Translation: An Intercultural Conversation on Autism Spectrum Conditions (Culture, Mind, and Society) by Elizabeth Fein, Clarice Rios

Autism is a complex phenomenon that is both individual and social. Showing both robust similarities and intriguing differences across cultural contexts, the autism spectrum raises innumerable questions about self, subjectivity, and society in a globalized world. Yet it is often misrepresented as a problem of broken bodies and disordered brains. So, in 2015, a group of interdisciplinary scholars gathered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for an intellectual experiment: a workshop that joined approaches from psychological anthropology to the South American tradition of Collective Health in order to consider autism within social, historical, and political settings. This book is the product of the ongoing conversation emerging from this event. It contains a series of comparative histories of autism policy in Italy, Brazil, and the United States; focuses on issues of voice, narrative, and representation in autism; and examines how the concept of autism shapes both individual lives and broader social and economic systems.

BUY ME – Amazon only (not available on Bookshop)

Autism: A Social and Medical History by Mitzi Waltz

Autism: A Social and Medical History contextualizes autism as a socio cultural phenomenon, and examines the often troubling effects of representations and social trends. Exploring the individuals and events in the history of this condition, Waltz blends research and personal perspectives to examine social narratives of normalcy, disability and difference.

Autism has often been seen as separate from other forms of impairment and negative attitudes towards people with autism and, in the past, their parents, have been prevalent. This book explores key research in the field as well as insight from parents and people with autism, the latter of whom have often had no voice in what is written about the history of autism.

This book will appeal to researchers and students in the fields of medical sociology, disability studies, and medical history as well as increasing public debates on autism.

BUY ME – Amazon only (not available on Bookshop)


You may also like to visit my overview of Safe places online for Parents of Autistic children and Autistic people to learn about Autism

We also recommend the comprehensive book lists from Meghan Ashburn at Not An Autism Mom. Meghan’s lists cover areas my lists don’t and are often particularly relevant for parents and educators of Autistic children and covers many more books for children to read and/or have read to them.

Whilst NeuroBears isn’t a book (or a book list!) it’s hugely accessible short course for Autistic kids and their parents and we wanted to recommend it here alongside the other resources.


    2 replies to "Recommended Autism Positive Books"

    • Taran kaur

      Thanks for the book suggestions!! I found your blog through a course I’m doing and I really like your blog and honest approach. I don’t personally have autism (well it’s a spectrum so maybe) I’ve supported people in the past as part of my job and I really enjoy it, it makes sense to me. Have you written anything on overwhelm and anxiety? Do you feel they are interconnected as traits or separate. Also I’m a yoga teacher and that is a whole great discuss ion on it’s own as breathwork and movement grounds me and gives me more body awareness. I would love to know your thoughts.

    • Andrea

      Hi there! Does this book list also include books for kids? Or is it focused solely on books for adults to read? Thanks!

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