The Aspie Teen’s Survival Guide – Advice for Tweens, Teens, and Parents by J. D. Kraus

Posted in Autism/Aspergers, Reviews, Special Needs Teens by - October 05, 2011
The Aspie Teen’s Survival Guide – Advice for Tweens, Teens, and Parents by J. D. Kraus

For all who have not walked in the shoes of an aspie teen, been there and done that, The Aspie Teen’s Survival Guide: Candid Advice for Teens, Tweens, and Parents, from a Young Man with Asperger’s Syndrome by J. D. Kraus, will allow you to do so. J.D. Kraus’ survival guide will help you to better understand individuals with Asperger’s syndrome (AS) or what many call high functioning autism (HFA).

If you are a person with Asperger’s syndrome, you will also benefit from J.D. Kraus’ go-to-guide of survival just to know you are not alone. If you only had an Asperger’s diagnosis when you were older, reliving your school years side by side with Kraus as “big brother explaining things” will lighten your load of unexplained crises, unhappy feelings, and unobtainable goals. Some of these issues you have been carrying since your school years. A must read for all educators to realize the impact and influence they have on the lives of all students with special needs.

In the foreword by Rudy Simone, author of Asperger’s on the Job and Aspergirls, she writes: “The fact that this book exists means that no other teen with Asperger’s has to feel so alone, confused, and ashamed. They can get the help they need, turn and face their fears, and continue their studies for as long as they want or need. Not having a solid education has impacted my self-esteem, my credibility, and my finances in more ways than I care to recount.”

The Aspie Teen’s Survival Guide covers most topics that are a thorn in the lives of youth with Asperger’s. It is a resource book you will be able to refer to often and easily to find solutions and explanations. You will find the well-organized chapters with precise titles and a detailed index make this a handy book to give to teachers, family members or friends who could benefit from Kraus’ sound and sage advice. The chapters I preferred because Kraus went in great detail explaining how he felt and coped were on:

  • Transitioning
  • Sensitive Senses
  • Motor Skills and Awkwardness
  • Stress & Its Associates
  • Learning Language
  • Bullying
  • Socializing and Friendships

Is life easy for individuals with Asperger’s?

Throughout the book, the author points out the many areas he has trouble with.  Knowing this should help educators, parents, all who work, study, or play with Aspies to better understand their behaviors or comments. No two individuals with Asperger’s are the same but many experience some of these feelings or traits that Mr. Kraus describes:

  •  I have developed this “concrete” style of thinking. I’m good with school subjects such as algebra, reading, and history. But when it came to geometry in the tenth grade, I encountered a source of agitation.
  •   Whenever I went through one of those congested hallways, I felt my private space was being invaded. .. I could no longer take high school.
  •   I never liked to stand before a crowd of people or be in the midst of a chaotic event than involves an overload of noise.
  •   There are certain textures I like and dislike… When I touched the grass, I felt that I was touching razor sharp blades.
  • I had a funny walk, an odd way of holding a pencil, and was incapable of playing sports.
  • It is hard for me to express my emotions or to tell my parents if something is bugging me.
  •   I had problems expressing my anger.
  • Following the onset of puberty… I wandered in the gloomy mist of depression. I felt hopeless and worthless. I couldn’t concentrate in school very well, and I could not find much pleasure in anything.
  •   Grasping communication skills such as body language, metaphors, slang, idioms, the pronunciation of certain words, and understanding people’s vocal tones is like trying to understand a foreign language.
  •   Friday used to be my least favourite day… come home from school… lie on my bed. I would stare at the ceiling and feel the isolation and loneliness build inside me.

Some of J.D. Kraus’ tips on how to cope with Asperger’s:

  • Try to be yourself. I know it sounds corny, but it’s dumber to pretend to be someone you are not.
  •   There are individual physical activities you can do like lifting weights, running track, karate, judo, or tae kwon do… with karate I gained more self-confidence, motivation, perseverance, and a sense of pride.
  •   Never be afraid to speak up if you’re bullied. Being silent about it will only eat you up.
  • Do things you enjoy. Set realistic goals that you are capable of accomplishing. Do whatever you can to fight depression.

To sum up, J.D. Kraus writes that youths with Asperger’s should focus on the good traits they have and strive for excellence. By following Mr. Kraus’ sound advice, many with Asperger’s should have more successful and fulfilling lives.

May 2017: We are updating this post.

The team at Special Needs Book Review congratulates J. D. Kraus on winning the Foreword Magazine’s BOOK OF THE YEAR award for The Aspie Teen’s Survival Guide which he wrote during his last year in high school.


J.D. Kraus the author of The Aspie College, Work & Travel Survival Guide  J.D. Kraus was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in the fourth grade. J.D. is a University of Cincinnati graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Electronic Media. Hef works in the content marketing fields and freelances as a writer, photographer, and videographer.

On his web site Mr. Kraus wrote: “Aside from having a passion with video production, photography, and animation, I am also an award-winning published author of the books The Aspie Teen’s Survival Guide and The Aspie College, Work, and Travel Survival. These books are a guide for young person’s with Asperger’s Syndrome and other Autistic-related disorders. You may wonder why I would write a book on such a topic. Well, a long time ago, I was diagnosed with high-functioning Autism. Over the years, I have more or less grown out of being an “Aspie.” I have molded into my own person. I drive, have a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts, work full-time and do some occasional freelance work on the side. Most of all, I try to inspire people. Asperger’s is not a label. You are a person. Your actions are what define you.”The Aspie College, Work & Travel Survival Guide by J.D. Kraus

Contact Information: Web site

Read Also: Review of The Aspie College, Work, and Travel Survival Guide

Buy Books by J. D. Kraus:

This post was written by Lorna
Lorna d’Entremont: Co-owner of SentioLife Solutions, Ltd. the company behind KidCompanions Chewelry (2007) and SentioCHEWS (2013), mother of three, grandma of 5 and wife. She is a retired teacher and special needs advocate. Throughout she has taught all levels from grade 2 to grade 9. Lorna loved teaching and enjoyed seeing the students progress in the school system. During her 30 year career she took a few years off to raise her three children.