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The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders

(And Their Parents)


This positive, straightforward book offers kids with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) their own comprehensive resource for both understanding their condition and finding tools to cope with the challenges they face every day.

Some children with ASD are gifted; others struggle academically. Some are more introverted, while others try to be social. Some get “stuck” on things, have limited interests, or experience repeated motor movements like flapping or pacing (“stims”). The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders covers all of these areas, with an emphasis on helping children gain new self-understanding and self-acceptance.

Meant to be read with a parent, the book addresses questions (“What is ASD?” “Why me?”) and provides strategies for communicating, making and keeping friends, and succeeding in school. Body and brain basics highlight symptom management, exercise, diet, hygiene, relaxation, sleep, and toileting. Emphasis is placed on helping kids handle intense emotions and behaviors and get support from family and their team of helpers when needed. The book includes stories from real kids, fact boxes, helpful checklists, and resources. Sections for parents offer additional information.

Part of Self-Help for Kids®
Free Spirit is the leading publisher of learning tools that support children’s social-emotional health.
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Paperback $16.99 23852W Paperback 23852W $16.99

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ISBN: 978-1-57542-385-2
Reading Level: Grade 5
Interest Level: Ages 9–13
Guided Reading Level: T
Lexile Measure: 810L
Illustrated: color illust.
Trim Size: 7" x 9"
Page Count: 240
Praise for The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders
“With a kid-friendly format featuring brightly colored text and cartoon drawings, The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (And Their Parents) is a well-organized, go-to resource packed with solid information and advice for kids and adults.”—Curriculum Connections, School Library Journal

“Finally, a book that relates to kids on the spectrum because it incorporates actual stories from their lives in their own words! I loved the format, readability, and the content . . . [a] big thumbs up to [the] authors for tackling a tough subject and giving voice to the very group it impacts—kids with autism.”—Louise Sattler, school psychologist, contributor to

“Verdick and Reeve’s guide manages to skillfully balance on the edge between information-heavy academic books and too-simplistic books for young children. They have produced an informative, practical guide for late elementary and middle school students that neither talks down to them nor floats above their heads.”—VOYA

“Pick it up for its emphasis on self-acceptance and its A-to-Z nature.”—Scholastic Parent & Child

“A treasured resource for families looking for help in successfully working through some of the problems faced by higher-functioning children with ASD. Buy two copies; one is sure to get worn out with use.”—School Library Journal

“This book is designed to be a resource for the entire ‘team of helpers’ rooting for every child trying to reach [his or her] full potential, including parents, teachers, friends, and support staff. The overarching tone is one of openness, making no social or physical facet of ASD taboo. Real problems are answered with real solutions shared by kids. Interesting anecdotes and cartoon illustrations are presented alongside invaluable tools . . . [T]he authors lay a strong foundation in giving kids the ultimate skill of self-advocacy.”—Booklist

“With so many children being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, numerous new advice books are becoming available. This is one of the more useful ones . . . It explains in clear language strategies children can train themselves to employ to improve functioning in the neurotypical world and why these might be useful. Generally useful and easily readable . . . with lots of practical advice, especially appropriate for grade-schoolers and their caregivers.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Filled with useful, accessible advice; appealingly colorful and jauntily illustrated, The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders should be one of the first books a family buys after a diagnosis. I wish it had been around when my own son was the right age for it, but I’m glad it’s here now; it will be invaluable to so many children and their families.”—Claire LaZebnik, coauthor of Overcoming Autism and Growing Up on the Spectrum

“Gosh, but I did love this book! The authors did an excellent job writing in an easy-to-understand style for spectrum kids while addressing core issues about the disorder and how to live with it and through it.”—Veronica Zysk, coauthor of 1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger’s

“I found the success stories, solutions, and strategies to be uplifting. This book will give kids and parents reason for hope.”—Kimberly Klein, Ph.D., pediatric neuropsychologist with Fraser Child and Family Center

“An excellent resource, and it’s also a survival guide for parents!”—Mary Stefanski, parent of a son with autism
Anger Management for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Anger, something we all feel and learn to cope with, can be difficult to manage for people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Controlling anger is a complex process of recognizing the feeling of anger and subduing the impulse to act on that feeling. For a person with ASD, recognizing a feeling of anger may be impossible. Many of us who identify as neurotypical struggle with impulse control, and asking that of a person with ASD at a time of emotional upset may be unrealistic. Despite these barriers, coping with anger is an important task to learn. With some patience and understanding, everyone can improve their anger management.
  • Don’t spend excessive time trying to figure out why someone is angry. Look for obvious triggers, but do not overanalyze. For example, if you know that loud noises are upsetting, it makes sense to remove a loud noise to prevent an angry outburst. However, if no immediate trigger is obvious, move on! Remember that what upsets someone one day may not be what upsets that person the next day, so spending excessive energy looking for an elusive single trigger means less energy for helping, responding, and distracting. The reality is that despite all your efforts, you may never figure out why something happened or what caused an angry outburst.
  • Distraction and redirection are the keys to quick crisis resolution. For higher functioning kids, supply a list of distractions they can readily access and implement. It works well to keep an electronic list handy on a cell phone. The items on the list need to be easy to implement and readily accessible. Ideas such as deep breathing, walking away from the situation, and listening to a favorite song might work well. Apps for deep breathing and relaxation available for phones and tablets are also very useful. When working with someone who needs more support, redirect immediately to an alternative activity or space rather than trying to figure out what is causing the problem. Carry a favorite toy or activity or, if appropriate, a treat to eat.
Continue reading on the Free Spirit Blog.

Download reproducible forms and other content from the book.

  • Common Core State Standards


  • ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success

    MS.1, MS.2, MS.3, MS.5, MS.6
    BS.LS.1, BS.LS.3, BS.LS.4, BS.LS.7, BS.LS.9, BS.LS.10
    BS.SMS.1, BS.SMS.2, BS.SMS.3, BS.SMS.4, BS.SMS.5, BS.SMS.6, BS.SMS.7, BS.SMS.8, BS.SMS.9, BS.SMS.10
    BS.SS.1, BS.SS.2, BS.SS.3 BS.SS.5, BS.SS.8, BS.SS.9

Related Resources

Speak Up and Get Along!
Practical Guide to Mental Health PLC
Practical Guide to Mental Health & Learning Disorders for Every Educator

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