Helpful Resources for Parents of Children with Autism
- Autism After 16
- Space for Caregivers
- Autism Speaks
- Autism NOW
While any child is both a challenge and a joy, parents who have children with autism spectrum disorders may feel as if they’re continually running uphill. In a mostly ableist society, few resources and accommodations for the specific needs of these children can be assured, which is why the parents, caregivers, and therapeutic communities have come together to provide both support and resources. The list below offers an excellent base from which to continue building a family’s individual support network and enrich the lived experience for everyone involved.
Related resource: 10 Best Online ABA Degree Programs (Master’s)
The Caregiver Space
Being a caregiver or parent to a child with an autism spectrum disorder can be draining even on the best of days. At times, what one most needs is the company of those who know what those and the not so great days demand. Which is why supportive communities that have a more specific focus are so helpful. The Caregiver Space is an open blog style community for those who nurture individuals with disabilities or diseases in which they can share their experiences or seek support from others.
What began as the project of two concerned individuals following their graduation from college has blossomed into a worldwide community that acts as a support and information network for both specialists and parents of children with autism spectrum disorders. The two creators of AUTSPOT, the information and communication hub, hope that via collaboration and community support, the understanding and treatment of autism will increase. They also hope that via sharing of information, experience, and expert research a potential cure can be developed.
As an outgrowth of the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) via the Department of Health and Human Services, The Arc by AutismNOW is a community hub of national scale. It provides helpful links for resources, access to local, state, and national events calendars, news, and a medium for communication within the community. They also provide helpful learning tools for parents of children who have an autism spectrum disorder. These include access to legislation such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, useful guides for creating educational transition plans and statements specially crafted to meet the needs of their child.
Autism After 16
All parents worry how their children will fare in the world. But for those of a child with specific needs, that worry can assume gargantuan proportions. At an age when most children are striking out, settling into their senses of self, and eager to explore the world, some autism spectrum disorders can complicate matters. True, not all autism is debilitating, although some types come with specific care needs, children on the spectrum are unique, especially focused, and susceptible to those who would take advantage. The site Autism After 16 focuses on helping parents of young adults craft a stable, safe plan for transition into adulthood.
What started in 2005 as the effort by two grandparents of a child with an autism spectrum disorder to link a community and consolidate research data has grown substantially. Today, Autism Speaks represents a coalition of previously separate national and international entities with a similar mission. The website provides extensive reading and resource links for parents of children with autism, research updates, community events, social media connections, and the latest developments in pertinent legislation. They seek to support a better understanding of autism spectrum disorders and related issues, both through direct funding and collaboration. But they also advocate a community ethos that does not devalue the gifts of those with these conditions and provides resources for both them and their caregivers.
It is currently estimated that 1 in every 110 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. While research into the causes of these conditions continues, it’s essential to provide resources for the parents and caregivers of these children. In the past, parents of children with autism were presented with a harsh choice—raise them alone and figure it out or institutionalize them—but that harshness is unnecessary and counterproductive to a full, useful, prosperous existence.