Books to Help Kids With Autism Navigate Emotions and Social Cues
A parent’s moral duty is to raise their children so they have the best life possible. This is no different for parents of children with autism.
However, people with autism often have great difficulty understanding certain things that come easily and naturally to others, such as how to recognize and respond to their emotions or the emotions of others, and how to identify and react to social cues.
They are not alone in this endeavor. Not only have other people faced the same challenges in helping their children succeed, some of them have also produced literature to help other parents in similar situations. These books are for the children themselves to read.
While it is important to continue one’s quest to be the best parent possible for their child, these books can help by targeting the child’s issues directly, on their level. They are fun, engaging, and may be read by the child of their own accord or with a parent.
If a parent plans on letting their child read these books by themselves, even with outside recommendations, it may be a good idea to read through and vet the books first. That way, if the child has any questions about it, they can be readily answered. If the child likes the book, the parent and child can share the experience and make references to the book to both entertain and teach the child.
Children do not have to have autism to benefit from reading these books. Some are simply entertaining in their own right, while others have lessons that are useful for everyone to learn (including adults). They may also be a good option to teach children without autism what their fellow peers who have the disorder go through.
Below, you will find several children’s books, both fiction and instructional, to help children learn how to better understand emotions and social cues:
- Armond Goes to a Party by Nancy Carlson: This book talks about a boy who has Asperger’s syndrome. In it, he watches adults at a party and learns how to handle the business of social interactions. There is high amount of socializing at parties, and they are filled with chaos and noise. This book is geared towards elementary school-aged children on the spectrum.
- The Asperkid’s Secret Book of Social Rules by Jennifer Cook O’Toole: The complexity of social networks increases as children grow older. When young, those on the spectrum may get along with their peers fairly well, but as the teen years approach, it often becomes more difficult for them to understand. This book is presented in a fun format and is aimed at teens, tweens, and children. It covers basic social situations and online interactions.
- The Conversation Train by Joe Shaul: Some children have the frustrating habit of jumping from topic to topic without any sort of segue, derailing conversations. This book uses the metaphor of a train derailing to teach to children on the spectrum expected patterns of conversation. This can make social interactions easier.
- Everybody Is Different by Fiona Bleach: Families with children both on and off the spectrum can find this book useful. It is more instructional than fictional. The book explains about autism and its effects in a simple manner. It also offers practical advice to help families get along.
- The Kid’s Guide to Staying Awesome and in Control by Lauren Brukner: One of the difficulties for children on the spectrum is staying in control. This book teaches them sensory regulation and emotional control. It offers advice to autistic children on how they can regulate their emotions and sensory issues, which include wearing noise-reducing headphones and performing breathing exercises.
- The Kraken’s Rules for Making Friends by Britanny R. Jacob: In this book, we meet a kraken — a sea monster —who teams up with a great white shark. Together, they learn about friendship and how to maintain it. Whenever your child feels that he or she does not belong, this book can offer some comfort. It can help them understand that everybody needs friends, and if an eight-armed monster can make friends, then they can, too.
- A Little Book about Feelings by Abbie Schiller and Sam Kurtzman-Counter: Through this book, children can learn the meaning of emotions. Adorable felt animal characters are used to explain feelings to kids.
- Making Friends Is an Art by Julia Cook: This book teaches children about friendship skills and socialization by way of a lonely pencil. It continues the theme of friendship.
- My Book Full of Feelings by Amy Jaffe and Luci Gardner: Parents of an autistic child are aware that emotions can be blown out of proportion and mismanaged. Both parents and children can look through this book to put their emotions into perspective and exercise a greater measure of control over their them. This will help children understand that anger, be it big or small, should not be expressed in an over-the-top manner. Any child on the spectrum can use this book, as can those learning about their emotions.