Top Twenty Support Groups For Autism

Autism has gained a lot of support from organizations in the past fifteen years.  Originally there weren’t that many places to go to find information, locate specialists and therapists or find financial resources to help.  Now there’s more than enough information and charitable groups who can help parents with autistic kids.

  1. AutismSpeaks:  This is one of the largest autism resource sights out there.  It currently is working on research to find the causes of autism while providing a wealth of current information and links to families with autistic children.
  2. Autism4ever:  Addresses the unique needs of adults with all levels of autism and helping families find living spaces for their children or siblings that have autism.
  3. About.com:  It seems like a strange place to find information about autism, but most of what they touch on is quite accurate information.  It’s a good place to start if you have never heard of autism prior to being told your child has it.
  4. AutismResources.com: Much like Autism Speaks, but it does have a few extra resource links Autism Speaks does not.
  5. NationalAutismResources.com :  A website that sells all kinds of therapeutic toys and devices just for parents and teachers who have and are working with kids with autism.
  6. AutismPDD.net: information site that also connects parents to autism resources by state.  Very useful if parents are having a hard time trying to find resources that are actually in the state in which they reside.
  7. Federal Social Security and Disability Income: once it’s well-documented that a child has autism, parents can apply to receive additional financial support for their autistic child(ren).  It doesn’t take more than two months before benefits begin, and as long as the benefits are used to help the child they continue.  Both state and federal benefits are awarded within the same time frame, although some are based on the rest of the household income.
  8. AutismSociety.org: Another helpful site full of information that encourages others to become members of their group and advocate for research into autism and advocate for adults and children with ASD disorders.
  9. National Institute of Mental Health, or NIMH:  A government website that helps debunk falsehoods about certain neurological and mental health disorders.
  10. YARC or ARC: Community organizations that organize activities for children and adults with special needs.  Gives everyone a chance to socialize, relax and have some fun.
  11. AutismResource.net:  A central New Jersey site that helps parents do a search for anything related to autism
  12. Autism.Lovetoknow.com:  Lists hundreds of articles and resources and connects moms of autistic children and adult children to activities and various forms of autistism support.
  13. TheAutSpot.com: A combination blog, resource center, news center, and shop for everything autism.
  14. NAMI, or National Alliance on Mental Illness:  Your child doesn’t have to have a mental illness, nor do you.  Weekly meetings in local chapters on every possible topic are a good way for parents to get out and distress while talking about the challenges they face raising a special needs child.  NAMI hosts many events.
  15. Respite homes:  locally there should be a few children and adult respite homes or adults who are specially trained and willing to provide respite to parents with especially challenging children.
  16. Sitter.com:  It is extremely difficult to get a babysitter and go out for the night if you have a special needs child.  This site screens all of its sitters and performs background checks before it allows sitters to post their services.  Parents can even do a site wide search for “ autism” and narrow the distance down to the nearest five  miles to find someone who has had experience and training in autism.
  17. The local county service provider in your area will know a lot about what resources are available close to you.
  18. Teachers are an excellent resource, especially special needs teachers who have access to a lot of resources that might not even be found online without their help.
  19. Applied Behavior Analysts who provide additional before and after school therapeutic help.  They might have one or two resources that aren’t on this list; otherwise they are a support all on their own.
  20. Your spouse or partner: While this is a long and difficult road, if you have a loving and supportive spouse or partner, don’t forget that he or she is there beside you and can take over when your child gets to be too much.

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