Autism is one of the most talked-about subjects in recent years, and it’s one of the hottest topics for books, as well. Autistic writers are increasingly getting involved in publishing, resulting in books from a wide range of perspectives – including titles written by autistic people specifically for the parents of autistic children.
Like books on any topic, however, not all books on autism are created equally. When you read, it’s important to consider what type of book you’re reading, who its audience is, and what it’s trying to convince you.
Here are the most common types of books about autism:
- Personal Narratives
Also known as “I am autistic and I wrote about it,” these books may simply be sharing the author’s experiences, or they may be seeking to convey important information about autism and being autistic. The latter are often aimed at a more specific audience, including other autistic people, non-autistic professionals who work in the field, and parents of autistic children.
- Secondhand or “Viewer” Narratives
A fair number of parents and professionals, not themselves autistic, have written about autism and autistic people in their lives, as well. These range from books in which non-autistic parents write about their children to books in which professionals with decades of experience in the classroom or laboratory share their perspective. It’s wisest to weigh credentials against tone here: even the most decorated academic or researcher may write about the humans they “study” as if they’re lab rats, not people.
This category includes both heavy academic tomes on autism and creative works, like The US Book. While non-autistic parents of autistic children may pick up these books if they’re looking for deeper ways to understand their child’s perspective, these books are more frequently read by other researchers and professionals. Unlike first- or secondhand narrative-type works, their central argument and agenda is often much clearer.
Have you written a book in which autism or autistic perspectives play a key role? Keep these categories in mind as well. When you query publishers, you’ll want to specify how your book fits in to the books already out there – both how it’s similar to others and how it fills a role that no other book can currently fill.