April is Autism Awareness Month

Autism Ribbon There are many ribbons to go with many causes. Red, pink, and yellow ribbons often adorn lapels or cars, but the ribbon for autism awareness stands out among many with its brightly colored puzzle pieces. When I see it, I am reminded of the continuing mystery that is autism, but I like Jesse Saperstein’s optimistic take on the ribbon:

“It is unlike any puzzle on earth where the front of the box indicates where each piece should fit, but the pieces still fit perfectly. This is what I hope society will strive for as we make more of an effort to understand. Society shall eventually find a place for individuals on all ends of the autism spectrum.”

Older teens and adults looking for a firsthand look at autism may be interested in Atypical: Life with Asperger’s in 20 1/3 Chapters by Jesse A. Saperstein as Jesse takes on empathy, bullying, and other aspects of his unusual life, which included hiking the Appalachian Trail to raise money for pediatric AIDS.

Jennifer Roy writes from a slightly different perspective in her new teen novel, Mindblind. Roy is the author of the award-winning Yellow Star, and she is also the mother of a highly gifted son who has Asperger’s Syndrome. Much of the book is fictional (especially the mean dad, she points out on her web site), but certain aspects of the highly gifted narrator in Mindblind are based on her son. The result of this effort to blend aspects of her real life with fiction is an optimistic story about a gifted-but-different teen trying to figure out where he belongs in this world that doesn’t seem meant for him.

“Different is okay,” writes Daniel Stefanski. This may sound like kindergarten, but consider the source. Daniel Stefanski is a 14- year-old kid with autism. In his new book How to Talk to an Autistic Kid, he speaks to other kids about his experience with autism and what it means for his friends, neighbors, and classmates. There are many, many books about autism, but this one is different. And that’s okay.

For more great titles about autism, see the Hot Topics list we created for Autism Awareness Month.


Atypical : Life with Asperger’s in 20 1/3 Chapters. Jesse A. Saperstein. Perigree. 2010.

Mindblind. Jennifer Roy. Marshal Cavendish. 2010.

How to Talk to an Autistic Kid. Daniel Stefanski. Free Spirit Publishing. 2011.

Blogger:  Mindy R