Friday 20 January 2023

Nurturing Your Autistic Young Person (Book Review)

*This post contains an affiliate link and I may receive a small commission if you click and buy. It won't cost you any extra*

Nurturing Your Autistic Young Person is a recently published book aiming to help parents and carers support newly diagnosed teens and pre-teens. The author, Cathy Wassell, has two children and both were identified as autistic in their teens. When autistic traits go unnoticed for longer, possibly because the individual learns early on how to mask their differences, this can sometimes lead to more challenges in terms of parents finding the right support and understanding for their teens. There is often an impact on the young person's mental health, and many parents and carers can experience feelings of guilt, not sure how they failed to pick up on any signs of autism earlier in childhood. 

brightly coloured circles graphic on Book cover with title nurturing your autistic young person

Covering a wide range of aspects of autistic characteristics, this book guides the reader through many questions about why their autistic offspring might act or react in a certain way. There are 15 chapters, broken down into Part 1: What is Autism?, Part 2: Living a Happy Autistic Life, and Part 3: Diagnosis and Beyond. The chapters include smaller sections too, giving insights around sensory issues, differing autism presentations, co-occurring conditions, physical traits, communication (verbal, non-verbal, mutism), functional and social skills, anxiety, meltdown, shutdown, burnout and much more. This means that the book can be dipped back into over again and doesn't necessarily need to be read in one go. 

Index showing parts 1 and 2, what is autism and living a happy autistic life

Index showing part 3, diagnosis and beyond

Tips for both home and school are presented and several case studies are shared throughout the book to give examples. Plenty of positive and practical suggestions on how to nurture your young person are offered alongside recommendations of how to also advocate for them. Cathy is CEO of Autistic Girls Network, a charity created to campaign for better recognition and diagnosis of autistic girls whilst supporting them in finding their identity and feeling understood. However it is important to note that this book is definitely not gender specific and contains relevant advice for a wide range of families of autistic young people. There is also a small section covering LGBTQIA+ (click for explanation of this term) and with more young people questioning their identity in current times, this is important learning for many parents and carers. 

As outlined above, the intended target audience for the book was parents of older children and young people who were not recognised as autistic at an early age, but in my opinion the helpful advice in this book stretches to a group wider than that. It could help parents, carers and wider family members of children diagnosed autistic at any age, and it would also offer many insights for educators, particularly those in secondary schools.

Two other points to note; an amazing foreword by Emily Burke, 20 year old autistic author of the fantastic blog, and illustration by talented Eliza Fricker of Missing the Mark. Two extra reasons to purchase this brilliant book! 

I would go as far as to say that Nurturing Your Autistic Young Person is a must-read for everyone who spends any time with autistic people. It is easy to read and full of invaluable information. Available now from all good bookstores!


  1. Thanks you for this book. It adds to my list
    1. The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum by Temple Grandin and Richard Panek
    2. The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida
    3. Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison
    4. Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism by Temple Grandin
    5. Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism by Ron Suskind
    6. The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome by Tony Attwood
    7. The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed by Temple Grandin
    8. Autism & Asperger’s: What Every Parent Needs to Know by Chantal Sicile-Kira
    9. A Real Person: Life on the Outside by Gunilla Gerland
    10. NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman
    11.Nurturing Your Autistic Young Person : Cathy Wassell

    1. That's a great list, thank you for sharing! Have you tried the Spectrum Girl's Survival Guide?


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