The place I would recommend to people when they want to learn about Aspergers Syndrome is the website MyAspergersChild com. Mark Hutten is a leading expert on Aspergers and his style is approachable and easy to understand. He’s a great speaker too, so if you ever get the chance to see him give a presentation, do yourself a favor and go!
If you had to own only one book that would give you a greater understanding of Aspergers, I would say get The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook by Mark Hutten (which is actually a PDF file – or eBook that downloads in just a few seconds).
The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook is, in my opinion, an essential book to have at your disposal if you’re a parent of a child with Aspergers. It is also essential reading if you are a partner, friend or relative of a person with Aspergers.
Although it’s probably the best resource on understanding Aspergers out there, it’s not really an ebook that you would sit down to read from start to finish because it is over 1,000 pages long (hence the name “comprehensive” handbook). I use it more as a reference guide, i.e. when I need some advice I will go to that handbook and look up the issue in question.
The areas that Hutten touches on that have had the greatest benefit for me are:
• Aspergers and the criminal justice system
• characteristics/symptoms of Aspergers
• Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
• diagnosing Aspergers in children and adults
• diagnostic criteria such as the DSM-IV
• employment strategies
• executive functioning
• girls/women and Aspergers
• having a parent with Aspergers
• planning and coordination of movement, and strategies to improve
• profile of abilities on IQ tests
• relationship problems and strategies to strengthen the relationship
• school issues such as homework and concentration, and classroom strategies to encourage cognitive development
• sensitivities: tactile, visual, sound, taste, smell
• sensory processing
• should you, and how do you explain the diagnosis to a child
• Social Stories
• strategies for managing emotional responses and regulation
• strategies for social interaction/social skills and friendships for children– this is really good stuff
• the art of conversation and improving conversation skills
• use of an Emotional Toolbox
• working with schools to reduce the frequency and effects of teasing and bullying
The way I used this ebook was to summarize the relevant chapters and make notes of all the suggested strategies for dealing with given situations. I ended up with a lot (!) of activities and techniques to try.
Hearing something like this is so important to me because as a parent of a child who is misunderstood and judged by society, the education system and even the medical profession, I really need to know that there are people like Mr. Hutten on our side.
James T. (proud father of a beautiful child with Aspergers)