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Autism Support Groups: Beneficial Help For Parents of Children With Autism

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Linda Richter • updated: 4/24/2010

Parents of children with autism are often faced with emotional challenges and can greatly benefit from the assistance of a support group. Autism parent support groups can meet in person or online, and participants have the opportunity to discuss issues, offer advice, and establish friendship bonds.

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    Positive Aspects of Autism Parent Support Groups

    When a child is first diagnosed with autism, many parents feel overwhelmed as they contemplate the various behavioral, social, and developmental obstacles that are associated with the disorder. The anxiety and worry that parents experience as they raise an autistic child can cause great stress within the family unit. One way that parents can find the opportunity to freely express their concerns and feelings is by joining an autism support group.

    Groups that offer autism support for parents can range in membership from just a few families to a widespread organization. The information, emotional support, and advice that these groups offer are especially helpful for parents who are still becoming educated about autism in children. Many parents appreciate the friendships that they form within these support groups and find comfort in the fact that others can relate to their challenges.

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    Finding Autism Support for Parents

    Parents who are interested in joining an autism support group can explore several different avenues of communication. Some parents prefer to join an online group that includes members from worldwide locations, while others are most comfortable with autism groups that hold meetings in person. Autism parent support can help those with newly diagnosed children and those who are in need of advice and empathy as their children grow.

    When searching for a support group, parents of children with autism can consider these options:

    • Some public school administrators or special education coordinators organize support groups for parents of autistic students. These groups may include parents, teachers, school counselors, and principals. Autism support groups that meet through a school district provide opportunities for parents to network with one another and to share information about their children with faculty members.
    • Parents who reside in school districts that do not offer support groups can locate community organizations for families affected by autism. Information on these groups can be found through an online or telephone directory search. Local groups that offer autism support for parents and children often plan activities through which families can socialize.
    • Many online communities offer autism parent support. Parents can correspond with one another through message board forums, email lists, and chat room discussions. Online support groups are often organized into specific communities, such as groups for parents of Asperger children, groups that discuss autism behaviors, or groups that are focused on autism therapies.

    Parents of children with autism need not deal with the challenges of daily life all on their own. Support groups are an excellent resource for people who are knowledgeable of and affected by autism.