The American Autism Association is celebrating Black History Month! According to the CDC, while many children are diagnosed with autism at around 4 years old, researchers have determined that African-American children may be diagnosed as much as 18 to 24 months later. With continuing disparities in access to health and medical resources, the opportunity to address mental and developmental delays are limited for many families of color. As the incidence rate of autism continues to grow at a rapid pace, institutions and scientists are missing an incredible opportunity to study a unique and distinct demographic of the autism community: children of color. Areva Martin of the Huffington Post concluded that, “Not only does this complicate any mission of advancing the science of autism overall, but it perpetuates health disparities for African-American children with autism.”

The American Autism Association strives to develop inclusive educational and therapeutic opportunities, to bridge the gaps low-income and communities of color may face in their autism journey. In line with this attempt, we’re sharing with our community some books authored by African American or Black individuals that are autism-related, and a perfect read for you and your child.

1. My Brother Charlie

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Actress, Holly Robinson Peete and her daughter Ryan Elizabeth Peete teamed up to write My Brother Charlie. The story is inspired by her twins Ryan and RJ, who is on the autism spectrum. This fun read is written from the perspective of Ryan as a sibling of someone with autism. She highlights on their book description listed on Amazon, “that as his big sister tells us, for everything that Charlie can’t do well, there are plenty more things that he’s good at. He knows the names of all the American presidents. He knows stuff about airplanes. And he can even play the piano better than anyone he knows.”

This book is available on Amazon.

 

2. The Skin You Live In

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Autism is a condition that affects individuals developmentally. Michael Tyler writes The Skin You Live In, a nursery rhyme book on social acceptance across cultures. According to the book’s Amazon description, The Skin You Live In contains themes associated with, “child development and social harmony, such as friendship, acceptance, self-esteem, and diversity are promoted in simple and straightforward prose.” This refreshing book offers a fun, educational platform to discuss social concepts with their children.

This book is available on Amazon.

 

3. Happy

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Music artist Pharrell Williams, writes Happy which is a picture book which exhibits many images of children from different cultures celebrating what it means to be happy. For any parents utilizing a feelings chart at home, this is a fantastic tool to show the different and diverse faces of happiness around the world.

This book is available on Amazon.

 

4. The Color Of Us

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The Color Of Us follows the story of young Lena, who embarks on a venture to paint a portrait of herself. As Lena begins to blend the colors together to match her skin tone, she learns of the varying definitions of what it means to be brown in her community. Through the eyes of a little girl who begins to see her familiar world in a new way, The Color Of Us celebrates the differences and similarities that connect all people.

This book is available on Amazon.

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