Author(s): Helen Bates
Tilly is a bit of a puzzle. She's struggling at school, she really doesn't like surprises, she isn't sure if she's a girl or a boy, and she just doesn't want to make new friends. Why is it such hard work to try and understand people, or for them to understand her? This poignant story maps the entire childhood of a bright young girl with autism. Growing up undiagnosed, she finds life increasingly difficult and confusing. Unable to communicate her thoughts and feelings, she retreats further into her own world while her family grows evermore perplexed and concerned. When a psychologist finally explains what makes her special, they can stop focusing on the problems and start to navigate a new way forward for Tilly. With vividly expressive illustrations and minimal words, this story is a valuable and accessible tool for helping children aged 7-13 and their families understand female autism, and will also be immensely helpful to readers interested in understanding better how autism manifests in girls. Honest, positive, and ultimately hopeful, it is inspired by the real childhood of Helen Bates's daughter Rachel, whose own writing describes her experiences as a girl like Tilly.
The lifestory in full colour illustrations of a girl with autism from birth to mid-teen about not fitting in, and finding out why
Helen Bates' beautifully illustrated book will teach us a lot about girls on the autism spectrum, who have traditionally been overlooked by both researchers and clinicians, likely furthering their sense of isolation and feeling of being misunderstood and unaccepted. A gem of a book that will make girls on the spectrum feel less alone and enable their parents to better understand and accept their difference. -- Simon Baron-Cohen, Autism Research Centre, Cambridge University I absolutely loved this book. It is so beautifully illustrated and visually gives such a sense of Tilly's world. We see so many small details of her life and learn why she is who she is. An informative, realistic yet positive read for all autistic girls and their families. -- Sarah Hendrickx, autistic adult and author of Women and Girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder A Girl Like Tilly is a lovely story highlighting a girl's journey with autism from birth through her school years. Tilly is like many girls I see in my practice - bright and gifted but socially confused and anxious, who is trying to find her place in a neurotypical world. -- Danuta Bulhak-Paterson, Clinical Psychologist and Author of I am an Aspie Girl: A book for young girls with autism spectrum conditions This tender story, told with delicate drawings and honest prose, adds a new, much needed voice to the world of girls and autism. It's a lovely book that teaches, enlightens and encourages. Read it and share it, again and again. -- Liane Holliday Willey, author of Pretending to be Normal and Safety Skills for Asperger Women As someone who was once a girl very much like Tilly, I found the main character's journey relatable and her reactions spot on. For girls who are just discovering that they are on the spectrum, Tilly's story is both an icebreaker and a comforting reassurance that there are other girls just like them. -- Cynthia Kim, author of Nerdy, Shy and Socially Inappropriate: A User Guide to an Asperger Life A charming tale about a little girl which also features the narratives of Mum, Grandma, Teacher and Psychologist. Although autism is different in everyone, Tilly strongly resonated with me. I also like how timely the story is, as it mentions how the world is 'learning more now about what autism looks like in girls.' A sweet, charming story that has been enhanced with hand drawn illustrations. -- Alis Rowe, entrepreneur and founder of The Curly Hair Project
Helen Bates is a retired social worker and family therapist. She now works as a CAMH Learning and Development Consultant providing mental health training to staff in schools and colleges. Her daughter Rachel was diagnosed with autism as an adult. Ellen Li is a London based illustrator. She aims to approach familiar subjects from new perspectives in her work. Ellen studied at London College of Communication. See more of her work at ellenmakes.com.
Foreword. A Girl Like Tilly. Further reading and useful resources.