April is Autism Awareness Month. The goal of the month is to increase global understanding and acceptance of people with autism.
In 2018 the CDC determined that approximately 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They found that 1 in 37 boys and 1 in 151 girls were on the autism spectrum. Autism affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups and minority groups tend to be diagnosed later and less often.
Medline Plus has more information about autism and the National Institute of Mental Health lists signs and symptoms.
Here are a few nonfiction books to learn more about autism:
Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Austim by Peter Hotez. Dr. Hotez’s daughter was diagnosed with autism. Dr. Hotez, a pediatrician-scientist who develops vaccines for neglected tropical diseases that affect the world’s poorest people, became troubled by the decades-long rise of the influential anti-vaccine community and their discourse around childhood vaccines and autism. He explains the science that denies the concerns of the anti-vaccine movement, debunks current conspiracy theories, and critiques the scientific community’s failure to effectively communicate the facts about vaccines and autism to the general public.
Autism in Heels by Jennifer Cook O’Toole. Jennifer was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 35, and for the first time in her life, things made sense. In this memoir Jennifer brings to light the constant struggle between a carefully crafted persona and an “authentic existence, editing the autism script with wit, candor, passion, and power.”
The Warner Boys by Ana Warner. “Seahawks star running back Curt Warner and his wife, Ana, were prominent figures in Seattle in the early 1990s. When they dropped from the public eye after Curt’s retirement, everyone assumed it was for a simpler life. But the reality behind their seclusion was a secret they hid from even their closest friends: their twins had been diagnosed with severe autism. What followed was a painful struggle to hold their family and their marriage together in a home filled with chaos, emotional exhaustion, and constant fear for the safety of their unpredictable but beloved boys.”