After the diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder, many families are keen to learn more as soon as possible. The range of things to read, watch and listen to can be overwhelming though and the quality and reliability of the material available varies a great deal.
From our friends at Autism, What’s Next, here is a list of material including books, TV shows, podcasts & documentaries to get you started. All these resources are of good quality and you can trust the information they give you.
What to read
The Complete Autism Handbook, Benison O’Reilly and Kathryn Wicks
In a Different Key, Caren Zucker and John Donvan
Amelia & Me, Melinda Hildebrandt
Uniquely Human, A Different Way of Seeing Autism, Dr. Barry Prizant
Girls and Autism, Educational, Family and Personal Perspectives, Editors: Barry Carpenter, Francesca Happe, Jo Egerton
What to listen to
Fiona Churchman and Travis Saunders are the parents of Patch, who has ASD. They have created the podcast they wish they had had when Patch was first diagnosed. This is a terrific introduction to the big picture of autism, with lots of interviews with people on the spectrum.
This weekly science podcast is produced by the Autism Science Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation of parents and scientists. There are hundreds of episodes to browse through.
Two Melbourne mums of twins with additional needs, Mandy Hose and Kate Jones, have created a warm and supportive podcast about families with special needs of all sorts. This is an emotional podcast, with lots of laughter and lots of tears.
A podcast series that asks parents how they get the very best NDIS plan and ample funding to support their kid. Host Melanie Dimmitt, author of Special: Antidotes to the Obsessions that Come with a Child’s Disability, chats candidly with fellow parents and professionals in the disability space to gather stories, tips and tools to successfully navigate the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
What to watch
In A Different Key
A mother tracks down the first person ever diagnosed with autism, now an elderly man in rural Mississippi, to learn if his life story holds promise for her own autistic son. Her journey exposes a startling record of cruelty and kindness alike, framed by forces like race, money and privilege – but leads to hope that more of us are learning to have the backs of those who are “different.”
A US documentary about a young boy with regressive autism who reconnects with his family through his passion for Disney animations. This is the story of the whole family, parents and child, as they grow together. Can be found on Apple TV.
Siblings and friends of children with autism explain their views on spectrum. This short film is made for school-aged children. It invites the viewer to understand better the experiences, strengths and challenges of their autistic classmates.
This Australian documentary follows the stories of 12 fathers of children with autism. In honest and moving interviews, they explain their journeys as fathers. They share their experiences and advice for other families.
I am Jack – ABC’S Australian Story
It’s the story of radio and TV personality Ian ‘Dano’ Rogerson and his wife Nicole, who gave up their home, successful careers and an exciting lifestyle for the love of their son, Jack.
Diagnosed with autism as a toddler, Jack Rogerson was hyperactive, could barely speak and was unable to express ordinary affection. They were determined to do whatever it took to enable their son to lead a mainstream lifestyle.
Five years on, the family’s determination is being richly rewarded.
At 18, Jack has recently graduated from a mainstream high school and is looking forward to a career in the hospitality industry…
Judy was told her son would never talk. Never have a future. Never get a job. But she wasn’t giving up on him that easily. Almost two decades since we met Judy and her son Tim, this boy with autism has become a confident young man with an international stage show and a thriving art business.
Is asperger’s syndrome the next stage of human evolution? Professor Tony Attwood believes the “out of the box” thought processes of people on the autism spectrum will solve the world’s big problems.
He is credited with being the first clinical psychologist to present asperger’s syndrome not as something to be “fixed ” but as a gift, evidenced in many of the great inventors and artists throughout history.
Jocelyn Moorhouse and PJ Hogan are two of this country’s most celebrated movie directors. The success of their debut films had hollywood calling and they have since worked with some of the biggest names in film.
They are also the parents of four children, two of whom have severe autism. And the experience of raising those children has shaped their personalities and careers.
Jocelyn gave up her career to concentrate on her son and daughter’s therapy. She didn’t expect to direct again.
Introduced by Tim Fischer, former deputy prime minister.
When former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer and his wife Judy learned that their young son was autistic, they were told he would probably never have a job or live independently.
But Harrison Fischer, now aged 25, has defied everybody’s expectations. Harrison has a job helping primary schoolers in Wodonga, is paying tax and has his own home.
The A Word
The Hughes family work and love and fight like every other family. Then, their youngest son is diagnosed with autism and they don’t feel like every other family anymore.
When a teen on the autism spectrum decides to get a girlfriend, his bid for more independence puts his whole family on a path of self-discovery.
Nicholas is a neurotic twenty-something visiting his dad and teenage half-sisters, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. When Nicholas’ trip is extended due to his father’s untimely death, the siblings are left to cope with not only a devastating loss, but also the realisation that Nicholas is the one who will have to rise to the occasion and hold it all together. Navigating autism, budding sexuality, consent, parenthood, adolescence, family and grief, the heartfelt comedy follows this imperfect family as they discover the importance of finding happiness in the middle of really difficult moments, one awkward conversation at a time.