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  • Writer's picturedrdonnahenderson

I wrote a book!

Updated: Jan 20, 2023

I spend a lot of time teaching other healthcare professionals how to recognize, understand, and support people who have a less obvious presentation of autism. My co-author Dr. Sarah Wayland and I have spent the last three+ years writing a book on this topic, to be published by Routledge in early 2023 (Title: Is This Autism? A guide for clinicians and everyone else). The aims of the book are to break stereotypes of autism, to help clinicians better recognize people who have been missed or misdiagnosed, and to do so in a neurodiversity-affirmative manner.

Neither Sarah nor I are autistic. Because we firmly support #nothingaboutuswithoutus, we have incorporated autistic lived experience throughout the book, in the form of quotes from well over 100 autistic individuals. Additionally, we have an autistic advisory board, who have read and provided feedback on every chapter. We were also thrilled to have our friend and colleague, Dr. Jamell White, provide Cultural Considerations sections throughout the book.

We are very encouraged by the early reviews, some of which I'll include below. Please consider joining my mailing list for the book announcement. I promise not to send you regular newsletters (I don't have the executive functioning to do that, anyway!) or to sell or give your information to anyone. Additionally, Sarah and I are now scheduling workshops, presentations, and podcast interviews for the 2022-23 academic year - We love to discuss this topic with all audiences, so feel free to reach out for more information. Thank you!

Early reviews of Is This Autism? A guide for clinicians and everyone else:

"Is This Autism? is a towering accomplishment, bringing together the state of the art of scientific and clinical insights into autism with the lived experience and perspectives of autistic people. Sensitively written, meticulously observed, and profoundly compassionate, this book will transform your understanding of autism, whether you're a clinician, a family member, or an autistic person yourself." — Steve Silberman, NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

“Is This Autism is just brilliant — genuinely one of the best books I have ever read! Drs. Henderson and Wayland embrace Neuro-Affirming practice, bringing together their clinical and life experience to give a richness that is much needed within the medical and therapeutic field of autism. — Barb Cook, M.Aut., Dip.HSc., Developmental Educator, Director NeuroEmploy Pty Ltd & NeuroDiversity Hub, Founder Spectrum Women

“Is This Autism? is a wonderful new resource that integrates the voices of autistic people, the latest research, and valuable information on clinical tools to provide a readable, empowering and comprehensive resource for clinicians of all kinds. Its emphasis on autistic strengths and the value of neurodiversity is especially welcome.” — Lauren Kenworthy, Ph.D., Pediatric Neuropsychologist, Director, Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Children’s National Hospital

“This book presents a respectful, rich, and expansive description of what Autism really looks like across individuals. It provides an invaluable resource to help clinicians move past the often inaccurate, restricted, and stereotypical expectations that have historically limited an appreciation for the full “spectrum” of this diagnosis. It is a must read for all neuropsychologists as we all work with this population whether we know it or not.” — Kira Armstrong, pediatric neuropsychologist, co-editor of The Clinical Neuropsychologist’s Special Issue: Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders

“This book is a MASTERPIECE. The information is new, beautifully stated, organized, important, helpful. Just gorgeous. I love it very much.” — Carol Stock Kranowitz (author of The Out-of-Sync Child)

“I found the expertise in this book crucial for anyone interested in autism, a necessary resource for clinicians, researchers and diagnosticians. Without hesitation, I rate it, to date, the most important work in the field.” — Rachelle K. Sheely Ph.D., President RDI

“Lived experiences, professional expertise, and research are carefully woven together in "Is this Autism" — a must read for ALL clinicians to enable them to recognize and better serve the often unseen and unheard autistic clients that come into their office.” — Kim Clairy OTR/L, Autistic Occupational Therapist

“Is This Autism? presents current autism research and relevant clinical guidance within an affirming, easy-to-understand framework. I especially appreciate the specific guidance for clinical practice. So many books like this are just was great to have truly actionable info in there." — Jeremy Sharp, PhD, Licensed Psychologist and host of The Testing Psychologist podcast

Is This Autism? is a wonderful contribution to the field, guiding clinicians to better understand, appreciate, and describe autistic individuals as they support each unique individual’s journey of self-discovery through the assessment process.” — Marilyn J. Monteiro, Ph.D., Author of Monteiro Interview Guidelines for Diagnosing the Autism Spectrum, Second Edition (MIGDAS-2)

“This amazing book is an indispensable tool for helping clinicians and parents understand and identify the less obvious presentations of autism. It is filled with practical wisdom rooted in the authors’ personal and clinical experience, as well as their enormous respect for neurodiversity. I’ve learned a ton that will make me a better psychologist!” — William Stixrud, Ph.D., Clinical Neuropsychologist and co-author, The Self-Driven Child and What Do You Say?

“This groundbreaking book will revolutionize the way we think about autism. Well researched and well organized, Drs. Henderson and Wayland have created a definitive text that specifies and widens the lens through which we understand autism. This should be required reading for all professionals and lay people who want to understand some of the ways neurodiversity can present.” — Dr Rita Eichenstein, Neuropsychologist and Author of “Not What I Expected; Help And Hope For Parents Of Atypical Children”

Update January 2023: Routledge has decided to release this as two books (My co-authors and I may have gone slightly over the word limit), and the first book is available for pre-order now! This book, titled Is This Autism? A guide for clinicians and everyone else, is a guide for clinicians, educators, and for anyone who wants a better understanding of autism. It explains autism using the diagnostic criteria as a guide (but with much more neurodiversity-affirmative language than the DSM uses). It also covers co-occurring conditions and autistic strengths. Its companion book will be out in a few months - that one is just for clinicians who diagnose and goes into the diagnostic process in much more detail.

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