Five remarkable stories for Autism Awareness Day

The reason I jump by Naoki Higishida

Written by Naoki Higishida when he was only 13, this incredible book explains the often baffling behaviour of autistic children and shows the way they think and feel – such as about the people around them, time and beauty, noise, and themselves. Naoki abundantly proves that autistic people do possess imagination, humour and empathy, but also makes clear, with great poignancy, how badly they need our compassion, patience and understanding.

Dear Miss Landau by James Christie

James Christie is a Scot with Apserger syndrome. Juliet Landau stars in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is the true story of their friendship.

Mary and Max

This claymation-animated movie starring the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman charts the correspondence between an eight-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, with her alcoholic mother and inattentive father, and an obese 40-something Jewish New Yorker prone to panic attacks. The only thing the two have in common is their friendlessness and profound sense of alienation. Based on real events spanning continents and decades, this is a highly original, very funny and deeply moving piece of work.

A friend like Henry by Nuala Gardner

Determined that her autistic son, Dale, should live a fulfilling life, Nuala Gardner describes her despair after being repeatedly let down by the authorities. But their lives were transformed when they welcomed a golden retriever into the family and found that the bond between Dale and his dog helped him to produce the breakthrough they sought. There’s a sequel: All because of Henry

All cats have Asperger syndrome by Kathy Hoopmann

This book draws parallels between children with Asperger syndrome and the behaviour of cats, illustrating shared characteristics and evoking the difficulties and joys of raising a child who is different.

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