I’m gonna bet that if Chanelle Moriah turned up in your library or classroom, you wouldn’t guess that they were autistic. No one did, until Chanelle was 21.
Which is exactly why this book is so important. It kindly cuts through traditional – predominantly male – stereotypes about Autistic Spectrum Disorder, known colloquially as ASD or autism.
An introductory page states: “This book is designed to help you learn about yourself, whether you’re formally or self-diagnosed, or if you are questioning whether you might be autistic. It is also designed to help others to understand who you are and why you do certain things.”
The information is split beautifully into sections that can be explored in any order. Topics are clearly listed in the contents section (“Eye contact”, “Meltdowns”, “Sarcasm”, “Supporting someone with ASD”...), and no subject takes more than one page to explain.
The pages are set out in more of a workbook/magazine style, with some information shared in pictures, lists or diagrams. Sentences and paragraphs are well spaced out with fun fonts and plenty of blank areas. Not crowded. Not overwhelming. Some pages can be scanned over in a matter of seconds.
I have a feeling a lot of students will relate closely to the concepts covered in this book…including those who have been thus far overlooked for assessment or diagnosis, just as Chanelle was.
Teachers can learn a lot, too, so I would recommend an extra copy to thumb through in the staffroom. They can learn more about the unseen autistic experience, and accommodations to support autistic students.
Title: I am Autistic: An interactive and informative guide to autism (by someone diagnosed with it)
Author & Illustrator: Chanelle Moriah (they/them)
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
ISBN: 9781 99100 6066
Publication: March 2022
Reviewer: Rachel Burgess, Teacher, Central Regional Health School, Manawatu
How are you recommending this book? Highly recommended
Opening sentence: The first priority is that you use this book in whatever way is the most useful to you.
You can buy this book here