Transitioning, employment, and personal happiness

Autism spectrum disorder is not specifically a pediatric issue. Statistics show that in the United States, 1 in 45, or 2.21% of adults over the age of 18, have autism. This is higher than the 1.85% prevalence rate of children in the US with ASD. Despite these numbers, until recently, research and support for adults on the spectrum was limited and many had to navigate the transition to employment and independent living on their own. Today, the database of helpful information has grown substantially and includes books, blogs, research, and more on the topic of ASD in adults. Most help books for ASD adults available are written by research professionals and aimed at professionals, teachers, and parents. However, several pioneering autistic individuals have also taken to writing and aim to share their experiences and advice to create more experience-based support and knowledge about ASD in adults. Below is a list of eight books written by ASD adults on their experiences. Topics include preparing for transitions, self advocacy, college experiences, and more. 

Living Independently on the Autism Spectrum: What You Need to Know to Move Into a Place of Your Own, Succeed at Work, Start a Relationship, Stay Safe, and Enjoy Life as an Adult on the Autism Spectrum

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Adams Media (2013)

Written by Lynne Soraya

Lynne guides individuals on the spectrum transitioning into adulthood with her own experience and advice. She covers everything from finding roommates, deciding career paths, budgeting, friendships, relationships, and much more.

Build Your Own Life: A self-help guide for individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome

Jessica Kingsley Publishers (2003)

Written by Wendy Lawson

This book is considered by many as essential reading for individuals on the higher-functioning end of the autism spectrum. Wendy Lawson uses poetry and images to lead you through the dizzying interactions of life as an adult with ASD. She highlights and advises on what she has found most difficult and helps you discover what personal skills you could develop and turn into a career.

Nobody Nowhere: The Remarkable Autobiography of an Autistic Girl

Jessica Kingsley Publishers (1998)

Written by Donna Williams

This was the first book published by an autistic person for autistic people. The author, Donna Williams, was diagnosed with autism later in life and her first autobiography tells of what her life was like fighting to understand herself and the world around her. She challenges societal norms through her captivating authenticity. Nobody Nowhere was a New York Times best-seller for 15 weeks after publication. Williams has since published eight more novels.

Navigating College: A Handbook on Self Advocacy Written for Autistic Students from Autistic Adults

The Autistic Press (2013)

Collaborative project from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network

This book is a collaborative work that provides stories and tools from autistic adults who have gone through college. It contains personal accounts and advice that the contributors wish they knew before they went to college. In their own words, “We’ve done this all before – Let us help you out.” You can download the pdf for free by clicking on the title above or here.

Aquamarine Blue 5

Swallow Press (2002)

Edited by Dawn Prince-Hughes

This was the first book written by autistic college students about the challenges they faced in school. It provides personal stories and experiences from high functioning individuals who are extremely sensory sensitive. Aquarium Blue 5 not only chronicles the difficulties faced by these students but also details the gifts and talents that are specific to autistic individuals, which, when given the correct support, enrich universities, communities, and the world as a whole. This book is inspiring as it is helpful.

Asperger’s on the Job: Must-Have Advice for People with Asperger’s or High Functioning Autism and their Employers, Educators, and Advocates

Asperger's on the Job: Must-Have Advice for People with Asperger's or High Functioning Autism and their Employers, Educators, and Advocates by [Rudy Simone, Temple Grandin]

Future Horizons (2012)

Written by Rudy Simone

Rudy Simone gives candid advice for job searches, interviews, and more for individuals on the spectrum seeking employment. She also provides in-depth advice and personal accounts for employers and educators to help support employees on the spectrum. Her writing is based on her own experiences and those of 50 other adults with ASD from across the world. She presents useful solutions to difficult problems for everyone in the workplace. This is a great tool for adults with ASD and their advocates. 

Ask and Tell: Self-Advocacy and Disclosure for People on the Autism Spectrum

AAPC Publishing (2004)

Written by Ruthe Elaine Joyner Hane, Kassiane Sibley, Stephen M. Shore, Roger N. Meyer, Phil Schwarz, and Liane Holliday Willey

A helpful guide to the double-sided issue of disclosure and self-advocacy. This book helps individuals on the spectrum to advocate for their own fulfilling and independent lives. The six authors use their own experiences to show the personal depth of decision to disclose diagnosis. They also give specific “how-to” and “what to say” tips, making it just as helpful as it is insightful and personal. It is truly a one-of-a-kind book. 

A Practical Guide to Happiness in Adults on the Autism Spectrum: A Positive Psychology Approach

A Practical Guide to Happiness in Adults on the Autism Spectrum: A Positive Psychology Approach by [Victoria Honeybourne]

Jessica Kingsley Publishers (2003)

Written by Victoria Honeybourne

Hailed as a must-read for anyone on the spectrum and those who support them, this book is straightforward and relatable and offers a refreshing definition of what happiness looks like on the spectrum. It provides advice and exercises for building social and personal skills and maintaining mental health in a positive way. It covers topics like self-doubt, finding your own talents, and how to support autistic adults in the workplace. 

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