Autism has become such a broad term these days that in many ways it is meaningless. While there are often commonalities, "pick 5-7 of the following" leads to essentially infinite combinations of strengths and challenges. But unlike common conceptions, it's becoming clearer and clearer that sensory processing challenges aside, for at least one group of Autistics, Autism is more a problem of output rather than comprehension. So they understand the full complexity of language and emotions, they are more imaginative and empathetic than most, yet their body doesn't cooperate to communicate what they know and feel.
I Might Be You by Barb Rentenbach (who also blogs at http://muleandmuseproductions.com/) and Ido in Autismland by Ido Kedar (who also blogs at http://idoinautismland.com/) are two of the emerging voices for folks who communicate through non-traditional means such as typing since their bodies won't cooperate to produce speech that reflects the full nuances of their internal worlds. Their books, along with blogs from other young voices such as Emma's Hope Book, should be essential reading for any family touched by autism, whether your specific family member is verbal or not. As with many books of essays, the quality varies. But hidden within both I Might Be You and Ido in Autismland are several gems that will speak to you - and which ones will be different for each reader. I didn't finish either, but my world has been enriched and my understanding of what is possible has been broadened by dipping into the entries.