The challenges of adapting to life with a child with autism can take their toll on everyone in the family, particularly parents. It’s important to know that whether you’re dealing with one or many issues, you are not alone. There are many places you can turn to for help, and help can come in many different forms.
In-Person Support Groups
Autism can be isolating for those with the disability, but those aren’t the only people who can become isolated. Having a child with autism can isolate their parents as well. By going to an in-person support group, parents are given the chance to be social and connect with others who know about their problems in a way many others simply cannot understand. You or any other parent can find support groups by contacting the Autism Society or Autism Speaks and locating your local chapter. As a bonus, you can find a variety of information on their sites as well; they have referrals to therapists, doctors, events and informational articles, to name a few.
Online Support Groups
Sometimes getting out can be difficult. Whether your schedule doesn’t allow you the time, or you simply don’t have the desire to meet others in person, you can reach out for some support online. Autism Speaks has online groups and you can even find groups through Facebook or a variety of other online forums. Simply do a search for “autism online support groups” and you’ll find many groups designed to support people just like you. You can contribute as much or as little as you like, and don’t have to worry about being anywhere at a particular time.
Counseling isn’t only for those who have autism, it’s also for those that bend over backwards to keep the lives of their children with autism as even-keeled as possible. Whether you pursue individual or family counseling through a psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker, you can find someone to help you deal with the challenges of daily life. It’s an important step to take, because as parents and caretakers, it’s easy to forget about yourself. The focus becomes on everyone else BUT you and you need to remember that you work best when your needs are being met as well as theirs.
Workshops on How to Manage the Behavior of a Child with Autism
Through local organizations, universities and branches of Autism Speaks and the Autism Society, you can find valuable programs that teach you how to deal with issues such as helping your adult children be independent, finding a good therapist or even how to help your child with autism adjust to public school. By taking a course with others in similar situations and educating yourself, you can feel more confident in your choices and better support your children as they meet and overcome their obstacles.
Special Education Teachers/Therapists
The people who work with your kids daily aren’t just there to support them; they are there to support you as well. The tricks that they use at school to help your children adjust, cope and learn don’t have to stay at school. By keeping an open line of communication with your child’s teachers and therapists and asking them for strategies that you can employ at home, you can build a valuable team support system. These experts can help alleviate your concerns and give you the tools to better address yours and your child’s needs.