20 Best Books on Autism for Teachers

Considering the CDC now reports that 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), teachers everywhere need to be prepared to teach children with autism. While a variety of university courses are taught on the subject, and more and more professional development offerings are available, many teachers still find it helpful to have books relating to autism and teaching students with autism. Keep scrolling for the 20 best books on autism for teachers.

1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger’s

Veronica Zysk and Ellen Notbohm

1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger’s has been a shelf staple for many teachers since it was first published in 2004. Now available in an expanded second edition, this must-have book includes more than 1,800 ideas, tips, and strategies for engaging kids on the Spectrum. Written by Veronica Zysk and Ellen Notbohm, this book has won the Teachers Choice Award from Learning Magazine and was awarded the silver medal in the Independent Publishers Book Awards.

Anatomy of Autism: A Pocket Guide for Educators, Parents, and Students

Diego Pena

There’s a good reason Anatomy of Autism is a #1 bestseller on Amazon — it comes straight from the source! Written by a witty and likable 9-year old boy with autism, this must-have book discusses the variety of classroom challenges and dilemmas faced by students on the Spectrum. Author Diego Pena makes it clear that while books written by physicians and other authority figures can be helpful, it is those with autism themselves who are the true experts.

The Autism Checklist: A Practical Reference for Parents and Teachers

Paula Kluth

Paula Kluth’s The Autism Checklist is a helpful resource for any teacher to have on his or her shelf. The book features an easy-to-read, checklist format, and is filled with resources, advice, and up-to-date research. Topics covered include advocating for a child on the Autism Spectrum, teaching organization, and modifying the classroom for autistic students, among other things.

Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Inclusive Classroom: How to Reach & Teach Students with ASD

Barbara L. Boroson

Author Barbara L. Boroson spent 25 years working with autistic students in the classroom. She draws on this vast experience to provide readers of Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Inclusive Classroom with up-to-date information, statistics, and research about creating an inclusive classroom. The focus is helping ASD students to grow, learn, and thrive.

Behavior Management Guide for the Classroom: Assessments, Best Practices, and Interventions for Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, and Disruptive Behaviors

Joe Wegmann

In Behavior Management Guide for the Classroom, author Joe Wegmann has created a go-to troubleshooting guide for teachers. Wegman’s text focuses on common behavioral issues, then directs teachers, parents, and other caregivers to possible solutions using a color-coded reference. There’s even a drug reference chart outlining common side effects of various medications.

Early Intervention Games: Fun, Joyful Ways to Develop Social and Motor Skills in Children with Autism Spectrum or Sensory Processing Disorders

Barbara Sher

Barbera Sher’s Early Intervention Games is a great resource for games and other activities meant to help children learn social and motor skills. Written for the parents and teachers of young children on the Autism Spectrum, this book includes ideas for developing hand-eye coordination, figuring out spatial relationships, and understanding beginning and end, among other things. Each game is thoughtfully designed to make students feel comfortable in social situations.

An Early Start for Your Child with Autism: Using Everyday Activities to Help Kids Connect, Communicate, and Learn

Sally J. Rogers, Geraldine Dawson, et al.

An Early Start for Your Child with Autism is written by the developers of a groundbreaking early intervention program. It’s chock full of practical strategies that teachers can use daily to ensure their toddler- and preschool-aged ASD students are learning at their full capacity. Topics covered include :

  • promoting language and engagement
  • turning mealtimes into rewarding experiences
  • techniques for proper play

No wonder An Early Start… was named “Book of the Year” by the American Journal of Nursing.

Handbook of Applied Behavior Analysis

Wayne W. Fisher, Cathleen C. Piazza, et al.

Educators who wish to learn more about the science of autism and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) would do well to add this book to their bookshelf. Wayne W. Fisher and Cathleen C. Piazza are two leading authorities on ABA.  Handbook of Applied Behavior Analysis provides readers with detailed information about the theory, research, and intervention of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Included in the text are a slew of evidence-based strategies for supporting positive behaviors and reducing issues.

Managing Anxiety in People with Autism: A Treatment Guide for Parents, Teachers, and Mental Health Professionals

Anne M. Chalfant

Managing Anxiety in People with Autism is the much-needed resource which focuses on the anxiety that often accompanies Autism Spectrum disorders. Author Anne M. Chalfant has spent many years diagnosing and treating children and adults on the Spectrum. In her book, she provides easy-to-comprehend explanations about different types of anxiety, how anxiety affects those with autism, and which types of interventions work. Readers will finish this book understanding why a child is prone to anxiety, their own role in anxious behavior, and appropriate responses to anxiety.

Managing Meltdowns: Using the S.C.A.R.E.D. Calming Technique with Children and Adults with Autism

Deborah Lipsky and Will Richards

Teachers with ASD students simply must know how to respond to a meltdown. In Managing Meltdowns, knowledgable authors Deborah Lipsky and Will Richards explain to readers that an autistic person’s first emotional response to a situation they deem threatening is to freeze. This is typically followed by coping strategies like hand flapping or rocking. The authors then present a series of strategies and techniques — helpfully abbreviated with the acronym S.C.A.R.E.D. — that parents and educators can use to respond to an autistic individual in crisis.

The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun: Activities for Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder

Carol Kranowitz

The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun is a companion book to the bestselling The Out-of-Sync child. It is a valuable resource for educators, parents, and other caregivers. Author Carol Kranowitz provides readers with dozens of fun activities appropriate for children on the Autism Spectrum. Each activity fits the acronym S.A.F.E. — that is: sensory-motor, appropriate, fun, and easy.

A Practical Guide to Autism: What Every Parent, Family Member, and Teacher Needs to Know

Fred R. Volkmar and Lisa Wiesner

A Practical Guide to Autism is a must-read for anyone — parent or educator — who spends time with children on the Autism Spectrum. Written by Fred R. Volkmar and Lisa Wiesner, this valuable text provides readers with comprehensive, up-to-date information about the most recent scientific developments concerning Autism Spectrum Disorder. Just a few of the topics covered are:

  • how research is currently being implemented
  • how to evaluate the services one is receiving
  • common questions and answers.

Self-Regulation Interventions and Strategies: Keeping the Body, Mind, & Emotions on Task in Children with Autism, ADHD, or Sensory Disorders

Teresa Garland

Teresa Garland’s Self-Regulation Interventions and Strategies offers teachers more than 200 proven strategies and interventions for helping their students self-regulate their body, mind, and emotions. This thoughtfully organized book covers myriad topics including:

  • calming a child before and during a meltdown
  • sensory approaches to picky eating
  • increasing organizational skills.

Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Step-by-Step Guide for Educators

Roger Pierangelo and George Guiliani

As its name suggests, Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders is a valuable resource for any educator. The book begins with a comprehensive overview of how students on the Autism Spectrum best learn, then dives into how teachers can implement effective programs in the classroom. It’s written in a straight-forward, step-by-step format, and includes topics like:

  • assistive technology options
  • specific instructional approaches
  • how to include parents in one’s teaching methods.

Teaching Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Clarissa Willis, PhD

Teaching Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder is written specifically for educators of preschool-aged children on the Autism Spectrum. The book is well organized into sections which explain common characteristics of students with autism, how those with autism understand the world around them, and what teachers can do to set up a proactive learning environment. A few chapters include:

  • “Understanding this Puzzle Called Autism”
  • “Helping a Child Communicate”
  • “Building Social Skills.”

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew: Updated and Expanded Edition

Ellen Notbohm

Elle Notbohm’s Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew has been a long-time bestseller and the winner of numerous awards. Notbohm, herself the mother of children on the Autism Spectrum, discusses the 10 most essential “things” young people with autism want others to know. A new expanded edition also includes 10 additional thought-provoking things that young adults on the Spectrum wish others knew about them.

Understanding Applied Behavior Analysis: An Introduction to ABA for Parents, Teachers, and Other Professionals

Albert J. Kearney

There are a number of therapies meant to best assist those on the Autism Spectrum, one of which is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). For those interested in learning more about ABA, there is Albert J. Kearney’s Understanding Applied Behavior Analysis. This extremely informative text defines common (and often complex) terminology, outlines the main principles, and summarizes recent developments in ongoing research. Kearney places a special emphasis on how ABA can be used in education.

Understanding Your Child’s Sensory Signals: A Practical Daily Use Handbook for Parents and Teachers

Angie Voss OTR

Understanding Your Child’s Sensory Signals is an excellent handbook for a teacher to keep in his or her back pocket. Written by Angie Voss, the handbook includes more than 200 sensory signals and cues common among children on the Autism Spectrum. The book is practical and meant to be used as a reference for parents, teachers, and other caregivers.

Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism

Barry M. Prizant

Author Barry M. Prizant is one of the world’s leading experts on autism, and his book Uniquely Human is a critically acclaimed bestseller. In this must-read text, Dr. Prizant discusses the ways in which parents and educators can look at “autistic symptoms” not as something to be rid of, but rather something to understand from a unique perspective. According to Dr. Prizant, “the most successful approaches to autism don’t aim at fixing a person by eliminating symptoms, but rather seeking to understand the individual’s experience and what underlies the behavior.”

The Verbal Behavior Approach: How to Teach Children with Autism and Related Disorders

Mary Barbera and Tracy Rasmussen

This valuable guide written by Mary Barbera and Tracy Rasmussen covers the Verbal Behavior (VB) approach, an offshoot of Applied Behavior Analysis. Educators of students with minimal or no speech abilities are certain to find The Verbal Behavior Approach helpful. It’s written in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step format.  The authors discuss how teachers can help their students to develop better language skills, offer tips for teaching sign language, and provide support for reducing behavior problems, among other things.


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