April 2: World Autism Awareness Day

World Autism Awareness Day, held annually on April 2, invites us all to focus on sharing stories and providing opportunities to increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism, fostering worldwide support.

In honor of World Autism Awareness, we have listed a couple of general books about autism, as well as titles about living with autism by those who understand it best: authors who have autism.

For more information on World Autism Awareness Day: https://www.autismspeaks.org/world-autism-awareness-day

General

IN A DIFFERENT KEY: THE STORY OF AUTISM by John Donvan (DB 83336, BR 21773)

Beginning with the story of Donald Triplett of Forest, Mississippi, who became the first child diagnosed with autism nearly seventy-five years ago, the authors discuss this often-misunderstood condition, the civil rights battles waged by the families, and the controversies surrounding what is sometimes called the autism “epidemic.” Commercial audiobook. 2015.

NEUROTRIBES: THE LEGACY OF AUTISM AND THE FUTURE OF NEURODIVERSITY by Steve Silberman (DB 82931)

A science journalist explores the past, present, and future of autism diagnosis and treatment. Once seen simply as a mental handicap, autism is now considered a spectrum disorder with a wide range in severity and symptoms, and possibly a natural and valuable variation in human cognition. Bestseller. 2015.

Author: Blaze Ginsberg

EPISODES: MY LIFE AS I SEE IT (DB 69969)

Blaze, a high-functioning autistic teenager who was the subject of his mother’s book RAISING BLAZE (DB 55558), describes his life as a series of episodes. Relates experiences like Thanksgiving family dinners and his crush on Hillary Duff. Strong language. For senior high and older readers. Commercial audiobook. 2009.

Author: Temple Grandin

THINKING IN PICTURES: AND OTHER REPORTS FROM MY LIFE WITH AUTISM (DB 43272)

A professor of animal behavior attributes her career success to autism. Her heightened ability to visualize allows her to convert concepts to nonverbal images in a mental “video library.” Among other things, this ability has enabled her to design humane handling equipment for livestock. 1995.

ANIMALS IN TRANSLATION: USING THE MYSTERIES OF AUTISM TO DECODE ANIMAL BEHAVIOR (DB 59860)

Grandin, author of THINKING IN PICTURES (DB 43272), theorizes that autistic individuals experience the world as animals do–through direct sensory perception rather than abstract thinking. Grandin, herself autistic, and Johnson combine insights about autistic people with animal facts and anecdotes to reinterpret the capabilities and strengths of both groups. Bestseller. 2005.

ANIMALS MAKE US HUMAN: CREATING THE BEST LIFE FOR ANIMALS (DB 70209)

Coauthors of ANIMALS IN TRANSLATION (DB 59860) examine emotional needs of animals, from dogs and cats to livestock and zoo creatures. Provides guidelines for ensuring mental well-being by stimulating positive emotions through play and avoiding negative ones–such as fear. Discusses the impact of environment and warning signs of distress. Bestseller. 2009.

AUTISTIC BRAIN: THINKING ACROSS THE SPECTRUM (DB 77046)

Animal scientist Grandin, who is autistic, draws on her own experiences, interviews with others, and neuroscientific research to explore the causes, diagnostic methods, and treatment for the disorder. Warns against labeling people. 2013.

CALLING ALL MINDS: HOW TO THINK AND CREATE LIKE AN INVENTOR (DB 91083)

Explores the science behind inventions, the steps various people took to create and improve upon ideas as they evolved, and the ways in which young inventors can continue to think about and understand what it means to tinker, to fiddle, and to innovate. Commercial audiobook. For grades 5-8. 2018.

Author: Naoki Higashida

REASON I JUMP: THE INNER VOICE OF A THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD BOY WITH AUTISM (DB 77650)

Autistic thirteen-year-old communicates with a special alphabet grid to explain his behaviors, like why he doesn’t make eye contact or stay still. Originally published in Japan in 2007. Translated by British novelist David Mitchell and his wife, who are parents of an autistic child.  Includes short stories. Bestseller. 2013.

Author: Dara McAnulty

DIARY OF A YOUNG NATURALIST (DB 105404)

McAnulty, an autistic teen from Northern Ireland, shares his experiences over the course of a year in becoming a conservationist and environmental activist while also dealing with being uprooted from the home he has known, school, and managing his mental health. Discusses his sensory experiences while exploring the environment around him. 2020.

Author: John Malatesta

HI, MY NAME IS JOHN: MY STORY OF SURVIVAL WITH AUTISM AND LEARNING DISABILITIES (DBC 19749)

John Mario Malatesta was born in Santa Barbara, California on July 14, 1969. John has lived in Santa Barbara for most of his life. In this book John tells his story of trials and triumphs throughout his life living with autism and a learning disability. Unrated. 2012.

Author: Daniel Tammet

BORN ON A BLUE DAY: INSIDE THE EXTRAORDINARY MIND OF AN AUTISTIC SAVANT; A MEMOIR (DB 6386)

Autobiography of Daniel Tammet, a 26-year-old British autistic savant with Asperger syndrome and synesthesia, who can perform rapid memorization and mathematical calculations and learn an unfamiliar language in days. Describes his impoverished childhood with eight siblings, mainstream education, and adult life as a gay Christian. Bestseller. 2006.
en español DB 65997

EMBRACING THE WIDE SKY: A TOUR ACROSS THE HORIZONS OF THE MIND (DBC 04268)

The author of the acclaimed memoir Born on a Blue Day digs deeper into the mind of the autistic savant—people like himself with astounding intellectual abilities and pronounced social limitations. He explores just how little it differs from the mind of the non-savant. Drawing upon neuroscience, linguistic, and personal experience, he illuminates the immense potential within all of us. 2009.

THINKING IN NUMBERS: ON LIFE, LOVE, MEANING, AND MATH (DB 77461)

Author of BORN ON A BLUE DAY (DB 63862) explores “the math of life” in twenty-five essays. Topics covered include the calendar created by Omar Khayyam in 1074 CE and the concept of zero in Shakespeare’s work. Also discusses why years feel shorter as we age. 2012.

EVERY WORD IS A BIRD WE TEACH TO SING: ENCOUNTERS WITH THE MYSTERIES AND MEANINGS OF LANGUAGE (DB 89083)

Essayist, novelist, and autistic savant, the author of BORN ON A BLUE DAY (DB 63862) examines the intricacy and power of language in a variety of countries and cultures. Discusses chatbots, numerical language, names that have become court cases, telephone grammar, constructed languages, and more. Commercial audiobook. 2017.

Author: Donna Williams

NOBODY NOWHERE: THE EXTRAORDINARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN AUTISTIC (DB 36144)

Australian college graduate Williams didn’t realize she was autistic until her early twenties. To understand herself, Williams recorded her memories of a childhood of confusion and “abnormal” behavior, coupled with an abusive mother. This abuse caused her to create “normal” counterparts to present to the world. Bestseller. Some strong language and some violence. 1992.

SOMEBODY SOMEWHERE: BREAKING FREE FROM THE WORLD OF AUTISM (DB 38137)

In the sequel to NOBODY NOWHERE (DB 36144), Australian Williams continues the story of her battle with what she terms an information- processing problem. After giving up her alternate personalities, Williams once more confronts the Big Black Nothingness that they had shielded her from. While trying to remember to breathe and eat, she also must deal with publishing her first book. Strong language. 1994.

LIKE COLOR TO THE BLIND (DB 45872)

This sequel to SOMEBODY SOMEWHERE (DB 38137) continues the life story of an autistic woman as she becomes involved with and marries a man who is similarly challenged. She recounts their struggles to overcome their own emotional barriers, to strengthen their mutual affection, and to establish a life together. Strong language. 1996.


NOVEMBER 2021 BOOK CLUB TITLE ANNOUNCED!

Please join us on Tuesday, November 16 at 7:00 p.m. (Central Time) for our Book Club discussion of HOPE OF THE CROW: TALES OF OCCUPYING AGING, by Katherine Schneider, PhD.

We host our Book Club meetings via toll free conference call. All you need to participate is a telephone!

To register, please call the Talking Book Program at 1-800-252-9605; or email us at tbp.ral@tsl.texas.gov.

Dr. Schneider will be joining our discussion. Because author discussions are so popular, we are inviting participants so submit questions beforehand. The deadline for submitting questions is Friday, November 5.

What questions would you like to ask Dr. Schneider? Please send your questions to tpb.ral@tsl.texas.gov, or call the Talking Book Program at 800-252-9605; 512-463-5458 in Austin.

HOPE OF THE CROW: TALES OF OCCUPYING AGING is available by mail as a digital cartridge.  It is also available to download on BARD.

Please indicate if you would like us to mail you the digital cartridge, or if you will download it from BARD.

We ask that everyone remember the following:

  • Be courteous and respectful of differing opinions.
  • Keep discussion points concise and relevant to the book.
  • Keep external distractions to a minimum.

HOPE OF THE CROW: TALES OF OCCUPYING AGING

Katherine Schneider, PhD

The author reflects on life with disabilities and aging through seven years of vignettes of her life. She describes her work as a grass-roots activist, her personal life, and her beliefs.  2020. DB 101220; BR 23482

We look forward to having you join us on November 16!

Prepare for Disasters with Ready.gov

September is Emergency Preparedness month, but being ready for a disaster is a year-round necessity.

Whether it’s a pandemic, fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, or other natural disaster, this national website can help you make a plan to protect your home, family, and business.

The Ready.gov site includes a section for people with disabilities: https://www.ready.gov/disability

You can also download the FEMA app to your Apple or Android mobile device. Content within the app is available in English and in Spanish.

REACH of Plano online meetings

REACH of Plano will be having two Zoom meetings, one this week and one next week.

The first meeting will be a discussion of the book Being Heumann, an autobiography by disability rights activist Judy Heumann. The discussion will take place on Friday, April 24th, from 11 am – noon.

The second meeting will be about COVID-19 resources for Texas residents and individuals who reside in Collin County. Representatives from REACH of Plano, the Talking Book Program, and the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities will each present information on a variety of topics of interest to people with disabilities and health conditions during the current pandemic. This meeting will take place on Thursday, April 30th, at 1 pm.

Please send an e-mail to Julie Espinoza at jespinoza@reachcils.org if you are interested in one or both of these meetings.

Hadley Presents: From Diagnosis to Support and Hadley Podcast

The Hadley Institute for the Blind offers free classes and discussions by phone, by correspondence, and online for persons who are blind or visually impaired. Follow this link to listen to the audio or read the transcript of an interview with Dan Roberts, author of The First Year-Age-Related Macular Degeneration: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed and founder of MDSupport website and support group: https://hadley.edu/HadleyPresents/episode.asp?episode=From_Diagnosis_to_Support&utm_source=Hadley+Presents&utm_campaign=075819e2f3-hadleypresents-ep14-hp_3-6-2020&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6312574b23-075819e2f3-52380393&mc_cid=075819e2f3&mc_eid=3549f96d2c

Hadley has also released a podcast that discusses resources for people with visual impairments during the current pandemic.

You can listen to the podcast here: https://hadley.edu/hadleypresents/episode.asp?episode=COVID_19_and_vision_loss&utm_source=Hadley+Presents&utm_campaign=e537d5546e-hadleypresents-ep16-hp_3-27-2020&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6312574b23-e537d5546e-52380393&mc_cid=e537d5546e&mc_eid=3549f96d2c



Low Vision Expo in Austin on May 4th

Northwest Hills Eye Care is presenting the first ever low vision awareness expo in Austin on Saturday, May 4th. Attendees will hear presentations by experts in the field of vision impairment and have an opportunity to meet with exhibitors who provide resources and technology related to low vision and blindness.

This event will be from 9 am to 2 pm at the Austin Jewish Community Center, located at 7300 Hart Lane.

To RSVP for this event, or for more information, contact Regina at 512-328-0555, or e-mail Regina@nwhillseyecare.com

Assistive Technology Group on Facebook

For people who are blind or have low vision, or professionals involved in the visually impaired community, there is a group on Facebook that posts information on computer and assistive technology. You can ask a question, post resources, and / or discuss products and services related to assistive technology for the visually impaired. To join, visit this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/assistivetechnologyfortheblind/

My Heart Is Not Blind Exhibit at the Witte Museum in San Antonio

Witte Museum Logo
Witte Museum Logo

My Heart Is Not Blind is a combination of stunning photographs and insightful audio interviews of people with visual impairments. Seven years in the making, the exhibit was created by photographer and documentarian Michael Nye in order to probe more deeply into the nature of and misperceptions about blindness. Mr. Nye’s website states: “Blindness doesn’t make someone less intelligent, less capable, less competent. Many become more courageous and determined. Perception and adaptation are deeper than we can imagine and much more mysterious.” Leave this exhibit with the knowledge that there are many different ways of seeing. The My Heart Is Not Blind exhibit is included in the cost of admission to the Witte.

My Heart Is Not Blind Exhibit
Dates: January 5, 2019 – March 31, 2019
Times: Mondays 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Tuesdays  10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Wednesdays – Saturdays 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Sundays Noon – 5 p.m.
Location: Witte Museum, 3801 Broadway St, San Antonio, TX 78209
For more information visit:  https://www.wittemuseum.org/heart-not-blind/ or call (210) 357-1900

Disability Focus Group Opportunity in the Austin Area

Travis and Williamson counties, which include the cities of Austin, Pflugerville, and Round Rock, are collaborating on a regional housing and economic opportunity study. They’ve hired BBC Research & Consulting to do the assessment. Disability Rights Texas has been asked to host a focus group session specifically for people with disabilities.

Event Information:
Location: Disability Rights Texas, 2222 W Braker Lane, Austin, TX 78758
Date: Tuesday, September 11th, 2018
Time 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM (1.5 hours)
Lunch will be provided.

If you’d like to participate, click here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeslzsQ8lFceS9ZRH8Etrhak4GM_T53ss4y8ZX2MNtJ33SUEQ/viewform

Seniors Without Walls

Seniors Without Walls is a free telephone and web-based service that offers a wealth of programs for persons aged 60 and older. More than 70 programs are available, in categories such as fun and games, conversation, languages, philosophy and religion, meditation, arts, reading, writing, special interest, supportive groups, health and wellness, etc. A few groups are available in Spanish. Sessions run from thirty minutes to an hour. Seniors Without Walls is a California-based program that now has more than 1000 participants in 35 states. The service is a great resource for seniors wanting phone and online interaction, continuing education, and entertainment.

For more information, please call 877-797-7299 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time) or visit www.seniorswithoutwalls.org