Read This Book: More Than Words by Fern Sussman

Activities in this book are terrific for kids with autism.

More Than Words by Fern Sussman. Hanen Centre

The Bottom Line

This is, by far, the best resource I've found for helping parents help their child with autism to communicate, learn and grow. My only regret is that I didn't know it existed when my son was little! Just open the book and jump right in with simple, easy-to-implement activities and approaches that will have you and your child communicating better almost instantly.

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  • Loaded with useful tools for working with your child
  • Presents realistic scenarios and ideas
  • Illustrations are fun and help clarify concepts
  • Supports parent-child bonding through communication
  • Provides step-by-step suggestions for all levels of autism


  • Some might find cartoon-style illustrations too "cute"
  • Only moderately helpful for older children
  • You may need to search to find a reasonably priced copy


  • "How To" textbook from the Hanen Centre
  • Focus is on parent/child communication
  • Includes step-by-step explanations, instructions
  • Cartoon-style illustrations clarify concepts

Guide Review - Book Review: More Than Words by Fern Sussman

One of the worst things about being an American is that we tend to overlook things created outside of our borders. This book should have been on my shelves seven years ago. I'm just glad I have the chance to recommend it now. If you have a child under the age of, say, 12, who is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, and you want to improve your ability to communicate with one another, buy this book and put it into action today.

More Than Words looks like, and is, a sort of simple textbook for building communication with your child on the autism spectrum. It uses cartoon-style illustrations to explain concepts - something I found helpful, though some might find a bit condescending. Even if you don't care for the cartoons, though, it's worth your while to look past them to the very realistic scenarios, easy-to-implement solutions, and exciting ideas you'll find in the text.

The best part of this book, for me, was the fact that after all these years I found so much to learn. And so many of the things I learned were simple mistakes I make that I can easily fix. More than once, I found myself saying "so THAT's what was going on!" and making a mental note to watch my son more carefully, pay better attention to his focus, and respond more appropriately to what's really going on in his head.

Since More Than Words is part of the larger Hanen program, it's a great introduction to what the Hanen Centre can offer overall. For more information about their programs and services, take a look at their website or order their introductory DVD. If you're looking to buy the book at a reasonable price, I recommend searching the web: It seems to range in price from about $50 USD up to $400 USD!  (Of course, you can always try your public library!)

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