Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Guide to the Latest Resources

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Guide to the Latest Resources

Article excerpt

Since the early 1990s there has been a steady escalation in the numbers of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)--today it is considered the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States. In 2010, it was estimated that 1 in 68 children were affected by autism spectrum disorder. This is an increase of approximately 120 percent from the data collected ten years earlier. (1) Identifying it as one of six neurodevelopmental disorders, the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) describes autism spectrum disorder as "a series of developmental disabilities characterized by impaired social communication and interaction skills, accompanied by the existence of repetitive behaviors or activities, such as rocking movements, hand clapping or obsessively arranging personal belongings." (2)

Attributed to Dr. Stephen Shore, author and educator who lives with autism and asperger, there is a well-known expression among those in the autism community: "If you meet one person with autism, you've met one person with autism." (3) This comment speaks to the varying degrees of autism spectrum disorder, as every autistic individual is affected in a different way. Some individuals with autism have severe impairments requiring around the clock care, while some are able to lead a relatively normal life, including holding down a full-time job and raising a family. Despite decades of immense research efforts, the precise cause of autism is still unknown. And although a cure has eluded researchers, there are several interventions that have been relatively successful in treating the disability.

Accompanying the surge in autism diagnoses, and the subsequent heightened awareness of the disorder, is the deluge of resources available to researchers, practitioners, and those living with the disability. In truth, the vast number of resources available on autism spectrum disorder are overwhelming. The resources presented in this guide are merely a small sampling of what is available. Print publications, with the exception of periodicals, have been narrowed to those published within the last ten years. Moreover, the resources introduced here are appropriate for a variety of users, including parents, educators, practitioners, and researchers.


Some of the reference sources and books were selected after consulting book review sources such as CHOICE: Reviews for Academic Libraries. Others were located through searches of the library catalog and electronic databases such as PsycINFO. Reference sources and books are listed in alphabetical order by author.

Myles, Brenda Smith,, eds. Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Handbook for Parents and Professionals. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2007 (ISBN: 978-031-333632-4).

This two-volume, A-to-Z reference set provides a diverse collection of entries from dozens of professionals in the fields of education, psychology, and medicine. Also included are four invaluable appendixes listing relevant newsletters, journals, organizations, and personal perspectives. A comprehensive index enhances the usability of this set.

Stillman, William. The Autism Answer Book: More than 300 of the Top Questions Parents Ask. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2007 (ISBN: 978-140-220977-2).

This easy to use book is an indispensable reference source for families living with autism. Each one of the twelve chapters focuses on a particular issues, such as communication skills, physical well-being, school success, and guidance on how to discipline a child with autism. Three appendixes are included.

Volkmar, Fred R., ed. Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders. New York: Springer, 2013 (ISBN: 978-144-191697-6).

Edited by Fred Volkmar, director of the Yale University Child Study Center at the Yale University Medical Center, this comprehensive, five volume reference guide to autism contains entries by hundreds of experts from the fields of education, psychology, medicine, and social work. …

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