A couple weeks back, we talked about the “stages” that follow a parent or parents learning about an autism diagnosis and the psychological steps parents should consider taking before diving headfirst into the treatment of their child’s diagnosis. As we slowly walk through the steps from learning about a diagnosis to the ways that parents can help both their children and themselves, today we look at the “research” phase and some particular resources that many parents of autism have found useful.
Twenty years ago, parents of children with autism, especially those living in small towns, often felt extremely isolated once they sought to learn more about the condition and the resources available to them to best help their child. Technically, these resources were limited to physicians and therapists, books at the library, and any other parents nearby who were also raising a child with autism and could impart some of their experiential wisdom.
Today, the internet has proven to be one of the greatest resources a parent has as there are numerous online forums and communities where parents and family members can talk about their situation, authoritative sites that contain countless articles on different aspects of autism treatment, and online magazines parents can read to better educate themselves.
One of the most important online resources for autism education and advocacy is the group AutismSpeaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization dedicated to funding research, increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, and advocating for the needs of individuals of autism. On top of their offline work, their site also serves as a must-visit for any parent seeking the closest to a one-site-fits-all resource. However, as far as the online world goes, there are far more other sites and resources a parent should familiarize his or herself with when learning more about autism.
As we mentioned earlier, prior to the internet, one of the best resources a parent had was other parents and the Autism Support Groups section of the National Autism Association is a great source for finding local chapters where people can meet to talk about both the challenges and positives that autism has brought into their lives.
Another absolutely crucial source for any parent beginning the journey of educating themselves about autism spectrum disorder is the website for the National Autism Resource & Information Center (AutismNOW) that is your best bet to learn about the latest news, research, and information on autism.
If you live too far away to attend a support group or need some insight when no one else is available, MyAutismTeam is a fantastic social network designed for parents of children with autism to meet each other and provide support as they go through the difficult phase of choosing a course of treatment for their child.
Looking to spend a much-deserved night on the town, but want to ensure that your children are overseen by a caregiver who is trained in dealing with autism? Care is a solid resource for finding experienced and educated caregivers.
Finally, if you are a father whose child was recently diagnosed with autism, Dads 4 Special Kids is a great resource for fathers to come together, network, educate, and support each other about their unique situations.
While this is far from a comprehensive list of all of the amazing autism resources online, it is certainly an excellent place to start when beginning your journey.