Friday, January 14, 2011

Non-Fiction for Children with Autism

Scholastic Atlas of Weather

I often read that non-fiction appeals more to 
young readers with autism than fiction does.
I wish that the writers would specify more about
the readers and what their specific diagnoses are,
as I suspect that this is especially true of young 
readers with Asperger's.
Non-fiction makes a strong appeal to a 
logical mind that sometimes motivations,
emotions and behavior confusing. On the
other hand, books without narratives can
be extremely challenging to young readers
who need a logical progression from page
to page. I know there are blends of the two
for adults-perhaps someone knows of a book
that balances fact and narrative well for kids?
My son is working on a science project about a
stream, so we've dipped into the Scholastic Atlas of Weather
Here is what my son learned about water and weather:
"Water is found everywhere.
Rain falls from nimbostratus clouds that cover the sky.
Heavy rain falls from cumulonimbus clouds.
Water droplets encounter warm air followed by cold air to make ice    
Ice crystals fall to the ground in Winter."
At first he wrote,  "I swim in water in Summer.
Water is beautiful." 
He could not remember anything he had
read. So I asked him to sit with the book
next to him and write five sentences from
As you can see, so far we have not found
a non-fiction book that interests my son.
-Spectrum Mom


  1. Have you had any success with biographies? You have the narrative element, in that the book is telling the story of a person, but you have the non-fiction appeal of facts and reality.

    I was not aware that non-fiction was considered better suited to children on the spectrum. Non-fiction is often credited as having more appeal for boys than girls, but I feel that reading preference is so personal, that generalizing is dangerous and misleading.

  2. He hasn't been interested in biographies, but it's probably time to try again.
    Yes, it is dangerous to generalize but that rarely stops any of us :-)
    And of course that's part of the struggle of this blog, but I think of the recommendations in the way you think of book recommendations for anyone-if it's a really good book and/or my kid or another kid really
    likes the book, tell other people. Maybe the book will work for their
    kid. Thanks for the great comments!