There’s a lot we’re honoring in the month of April – not least of which is the cause of autism research.  The Autism Society has dedicated this month to awareness since the 1970s, and knowledge and concern for the autistic community has certainly risen since then.  If you know someone with autism, though, you know that there is always further to go – and what better resource for awareness is there than your library?

Gale’s Health and Wellness Resource Center helps answer the simple questions.  They define the condition as “a complex developmental disorder distinguished by difficulties with social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and behavioral problems, including repetitive behaviors and narrow focus of interest.”  According to their research, 1 of every 110 children in the U.S. falls in the autism spectrum, and males are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed.

If you’re already aware of the basics, Medline Plus, a free resource from the National Library of Medicine, addresses further questions.  They offer profesional perspectives on whether certain vaccinations lead to autism and what kinds of alternative treatments are most realistic.  They even offer lengthy e-book guides for parents of autistic children.

You can also learn a great deal from our new collection of autism books.  Check one out from both our nonfiction and fiction sections to help raise your awareness and empathy this month:

1. The Autism Revolution by Martha R. Herbert;

After years of treating patients and analyzing scientific data, Harvard researcher and clinician Dr. Martha Herbert offers a revolutionary new view of autism and a transformative strategy for dealing with it.

2. The Golden Hat: Talking Back to Autism by Kate Winslet;

Traces the Oscar-winning actress’s joint efforts with the mother of a severely autistic son, Keli, to connect with the boy while founding Texas’ Helping Autism Learning Outreach (HALO) program, an effort during which the boy developed unique communication abilities and demonstrated considerable gifts as a poet.

3. Seven Keys to Unlock Autism by Elaine Hall;

Two women involved in The Miracle Project, a musical theatre program for kids with autism, provide a 7-step program to help autistic children communicate and relate to others and explain how to apply these strategies at school and at home.

4. Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am by Harry Mazer;

Wounded in Iraq while his Army unit is on convoy and treated for many months for traumatic brain injury, the first person Ben remembers from his earlier life is his autistic brother.

5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon;

Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-year-old boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor’s dog and uncovers secret information about his mother.

6. Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork.

Marcelo Sandoval, a seventeen-year-old boy on the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum, faces new challenges, including romance and injustice, when he goes to work for his father in the mailroom of a corporate law firm.