Asperger Syndrome

Faculty Picks: 5 Great Books on Asperger Syndrome - Selected by Choice Reviewer Gundars Kaupins

Asperger syndrome is a highly functional form of autism spectrum disorder in which individuals can have difficulty socializing, tolerate repetitive activities, speak in monotone, and exhibit expertise in specific areas. The following books discuss the unique challenges Aspies face and strategies for managing their symptoms.

Asperger Syndrome book cover

Asperger Syndrome: Assessing and Treating High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders, edited by James McPartland, Ami Klin, and Fred Volkmar (2nd edition). Guilford Press, 2014.
This highly empirical set of research studies describes the best approaches for screening individuals with Asperger’s (Aspies) and understanding their neuropsychological characteristics. The essays suggest behavioral treatments and investigate whether any medicines are effective in reducing symptoms. Behavioral therapy has been somewhat effective in helping Aspies to think about another person’s perspective in order to enhance social communication. Medical research, however, has had limited success in reducing specific symptoms such as depression.

The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome, by Tony Attwood. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2008.
This book takes a research focus, investigating common Aspie tendencies such as fewer friendships, sensitivity to sound, and difficulty with long-term relationships. It mentions the DSM-5’s diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorders, developed by the American Psychiatric Association. Based on his clinical observations, Atwood feels that Aspies should receive an early diagnosis to reduce depression, should have a mentor and coach, and may find success at work helps to offset social difficulties.

late diagnosis of Asperger book cover

Very Late Diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder): How Seeking a Diagnosis in Adulthood Can Change Your Life , by Phillip Wylie. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2014.
As stated in the title, Wylie found out about his Asperger’s late in life. According to him, it is never too late to make such discovery. He mentions many autism tests that are available online, such as the “Aspie Quiz.” He also discusses whether to share the Aspie diagnosis with others. Self-awareness of his condition, assertiveness training, selling techniques, anger management, and finding appropriate work have helped him cope with his challenges.

The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed, by Temple Grandin and Richard Panek. Houghton Mifflin, 2013.
Temple Grandin’s Aspie traits helped her to have a powerful impact on the livestock industry through her analysis of the behavior and psychology of cattle.She details her experiences with the animals, shares various personal challenges, and lauds research progress on the disorder and the great strides that have been made in improving the lives of individuals with autism and Asperger’s and of their loved ones.

look me in the eye book cover

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s, by John Elder Robison. Crown, 2007.
This book is a memoir; Robison recounts engaging stories of his childhood and adult life as an Aspie. His recollections are personal and vivid: for example, when he was very young, he tended not to play with others and was very focused on Tinker toys. He walked with an awkward gait. Recess at school was a painful activity filled with rejection; not only was Robison rejected by his peers, but he rejected them as well. This book opens readers’ eyes to what growing up as an Aspie can be like.

About the author:

Gundars (Gundy) Kaupins (Ph.D., University of Iowa) is a professor of human resource management at Boise State University. He has published books and journal articles on on human resource ethics and creativity. Some publications discuss Asperger’s due to a recent diagnosis. He has been a reviewer for Choice since 2000.