Explore Neurodiverse Programs and More at the Free Library

By Yona Y. RSS Tue, March 26, 2024

April is Autism Acceptance Month! In 2008, the United Nations declared April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day. Learn and explore the wide world of neurodivergent minds with great programs and relevant titles from the Free Library of Philadelphia!


Support Your Neurodivergent Teen!

Tuesday, April 2 | 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.Parkway Central Library's Skyline Room (Fourth Floor)

Join the Free Library of Philadelphia's Field Teen Center and Science and Wellness Department and clinicians from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Center for Autism Research for a talk on supporting neurodivergent teens. This program is open to both neurodivergent teens ages 12–18 and their guardians. We will open with a panel discussion and Q&A, followed by breakout group discussions. Topics covered in this workshop will include: transitioning to young adulthood, mental health, and intersectionality. Attendance is only guaranteed to those who register in advance. For additional questions and concerns, please email erefsw@freelibrary.org.

We All Think Differently: Let’s Talk About Genetics and Autism

Tuesday, April 2 | 4:30 p.m.Wynnefield Library

CHOP Legend Fellows Suzi Baergen, Kara, Lucy, Molly, Jamiel, David, and Charlene with CHOP Autism Research Representative Ellie will share information about genetics, autism, and other specialties. Our goal is to help you to understand the connections between the two. Make sure you bring your notebook, pen, questions, and appetite! Also, be ready to clear up some myths! Refreshments will be served.

Neurodiverse Reads: A Discussion Group for Adults and Older Teens

Monday, April 15 | 5:30 p.m.Philadelphia City Institute

Adults and older teens are invited to participate in a monthly discussion series of books exploring neurological differences such as autism, ADHD, and more. Please register for this program by emailing hoopese@freelibrary.org, calling 215-685-6621, or stopping by the Reference Desk.

Find even more great programs for neurodivergent folks of all ages all year long on the Free Library's Events Calendar. And you don’t have to wait for these programs to learn more about neurodiversity!

Check out some of these fiction and nonfiction titles for the entire family:


My Brain is Magic

A sensory-seeking child describes her sensational life. Whether your brain buzzes around the room like a bee or tells you to be loud and roar like a lion, celebrate the many things that it can be! This sensory-seeking celebration shines a light on sensory processing and neurodiversity in a fun and action-packed way for all children to enjoy.

Izzy at the End of the World

An autistic girl faced with disaster, Izzy Wilder and her dog Akka set out to discover the truth behind humanity's disappearance, facing life's greatest mysteries as they uncover the true endurance of the human spirit to save the world.

The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester

In this queer contemporary YA mystery, a nonbinary autistic teen realizes they must not only solve a 30-year-old mystery but also face the demons lurking in their past in order to live a satisfying life. Sam Sylvester has long collected stories of half-lived lives — of kids who died before they turned 19. Sam was almost one of those kids. Now, as Sam's own 19th birthday approaches, their recent near-death experience haunts them. They're certain they don't have much time left. But Sam's life seems to be on the upswing after meeting several new friends and a potential love interest in Shep, their next-door neighbor. Yet the past keeps roaring back, in Sam's memories and in the form of a 30-year-old suspicious death that took place in Sam's new home. Sam can't resist trying to find out more about the kid who died and who now seems to guide their investigation. When Sam starts receiving threatening notes, they know they're on the path to uncovering a murderer. But are they digging through the past or digging their own future grave? The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester explores healing in the aftermath of trauma and the fullness of queer joy.

Queerly Autistic: The Ultimate Guide for LGBTQIA+ Teens on the Spectrum

In this empowering and honest guide for LGBTQIA+ autistic teens, Erin Ekins gives you all the tools you need to figure out and explore your gender identity and sexuality. From coming out to friends and family, staying safe in relationships and practicing safe sex, through to self-care and coping with bullying, being out and about in the LGBTQIA+ community, and undergoing gender transition, this book is filled with essential information, advice, support and resources to help you on your journey, and also works as a primer on all things LGBTQIA+ for non-autistic teens who are just figuring it all out. Written by an inspirational autistic queer woman, this is a must-read for every autistic teen wanting to live their very best queer life.

Something More

Something More is a contemporary teen romance novel featuring a Palestinian-Canadian girl trying to hide her autism diagnosis while navigating her first year of high school, for fans of Jenny Han and Samira Ahmed. 15-year-old Jessie, a quirky loner obsessed with the 90s, is diagnosed as autistic just weeks before starting high school. Determined to make a fresh start and keep her diagnosis a secret, Jessie creates a list of goals that range from acquiring two distinct eyebrows to getting a magical first kiss and landing a spot in the school play. Within the halls of Holy Trinity High, she finds a world where things are no longer black and white and quickly learns that living in color is much more fun. But Jessie gets more than she bargained for when two very different boys steal her heart, forcing her to go off-script.

Sensory: Life on the Spectrum - An Autistic Comic Anthology

From artist and curator, Bex Ollerton comes an anthology featuring comics from 30 autistic creators about their experiences of living in a world that doesn't always understand or accept them. Sensory: Life on the Spectrum contains illustrated explorations of everything from life pre-diagnosis to tips on explaining autism to someone who isn't autistic, to suggestions for how to soothe yourself when you're feeling overstimulated. With unique, vibrant comic-style illustrations and the emotional depth and vulnerability of memoir, this book depicts these varied experiences with the kind of insight that only those who have lived them can have.

The Autism-Friendly Cookbook

The Autism-Friendly Cookbook was created by journalist Lydia Wilkins for autistic adults and teens to turn to when cooking for friends, lacking inspiration, or on those low-energy days. With recipes to suit any occasion, the book is written in clear, jargon-free language which makes "the obvious" obvious. Recipes are categorized by meal with additional guidance on the level of energy needed to tackle them, with options for low-energy or meltdown days, or days when you're able to take on a new challenge. They contain adaptations and options to suit different dietary needs including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free, and additional modifications for those who are sensory seekers, sensory avoiders, or who want to expand their repertoire in the kitchen. The cookbook also includes contributions from individuals within the autistic community and options for quick meals, special occasions, and more. With autistic people at its heart, the book also contains helpful tips and advice for parents and teachers looking to find out more.

A Parent's Guide to Autism Diagnosis: What to Expect and How to Support Your Child

This guide has everything parents need to know about the process of an autism diagnosis for a child, from referral to assessment and beyond. Combining information on medical diagnosis, educational needs, and more, it answers common questions from parents, with quotes and case studies throughout.

The Strengths-Based Guide to Supporting Autistic Children: A Positive Psychology Approach to Parenting

With step-by-step instructions on how parents and teachers can incorporate this approach easily into family and school life, Claire also offers a variety of specific tips, tricks, and engaging activities to provide ongoing support for parents and teachers alike.

We're Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation

In this groundbreaking debut, Eric Garcia draws from his own experiences as an autistic journalist to discuss the social and policy gaps that exist in supporting those on the spectrum. From education to healthcare, he explores how autistic people wrestle with systems that weren't built with them in mind. At the same time, he shares the experiences of all types of autistic people, from those with higher support needs to autistic people of color, to those who are LGBTQIA+. In doing so, Garcia gives his community a platform to articulate their own needs, rather than having others speak for them, which has been a standard for far too long.

For even more fiction, nonfiction, and other great titles, check out these titles for childrenteens, and beyond.

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I just want to thank you for including neurodivergent-affirming resources for Autism Acceptance Month! No response needed, just a thank you! And in case you're interested, this is a LibGuide I created for GFS where I'm a librarian: https://germantownfriends.libguides.com/c.php?g=1307377
Hannah Mermelstein - Mt. Airy
Saturday, March 30, 2024