Since we’re in the early stages of this column let’s talk about one of the most important tools in helping your child with autism, resources. As I’ve said in the past, I’m really into research. That may be the former journalist talking, or my natural curiosity. Either way I have found some great places to find information. While this could get lengthy, I’m just going to focus on the ones that will help with basic information on autism. There are some that I may go into more detail on in future columns.
Let’s start with the most obvious, which I have used relentlessly, the internet. There are many great websites out there for information, but the best ones I have found have credible resources and contain tons of useful information.
Autism Society – This site includes information including the basics of autism, diagnosis, treatments, symptoms, facts, and statistics. It also has links for family members, professionals, advocates, and even those on the spectrum. The organization’s slogan is “Improving the Lives of All Affected by Autism.”
Wrightslaw – This is a site that is great for any parent with a child in school that has a disability. The sight has legal advice for dealing with issues including ADA, IEPs, IDEA, FERPA, FAPE and many other acronyms that can cause confusion within the education system. If you are not familiar with what these mean Wrightslaw is a great start. It includes books, dvds, a library of articles, a newsletter, advocacy, and case information. They even offer training and consultation.
Oasis and MAPP – This site offers recent news pertaining to autism research and advocacy. It also includes forums to talk to others living with autism.
Autism Speaks – This is one of the best groups that deal with research, detection, and resources for Autism. They are also huge proponents for awareness. They host charity walks, offer basic information, family services, and recent news.
These should get you started, but don’t forget to utilize youtube and facebook. Both of these have valuable information. If you just type in living with autism in youtube you will find interviews with individuals actually living with autism. If you search autism on facebook you will find numerous pages filled with information and constant updates on the happenings within the autism community.
There are more books out there than you will ever be able to handle. So I’m going to mention a few that I really enjoyed, and that seemed to have the most information for parenting.
The Autism Answer Book: More Than 300 of the Top Questions Parents Ask by William Stillman - This book is truly a great book for parenting. It’s almost a manual for how to deal with parenting a child on the spectrum.
Act Early Against Autism: Give Your Child A Fighting Chance from the Start by Jayne Lytel – This is great for finding information about how to help your child in the early stages. Early intervention truly is the best way to help your child with autism. This has so many helpful tips on where to start.
1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder by Veronica Zysk and Ellen Notbohm – This was one of my favorites. It is just what is says; tons of ideas to help your child succeed. Notbohm also wrote Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew. This is a great book as well.
My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete. This book is great for children to help them understand what a person with autism is like. This could include siblings, cousins, classmates, etc.
Two other famous authors have contributed information that has helped many dealing with Autism. This is why I would recommend anything by Temple Grandin including Thinking In Pictures, and anything by Jenny McCarthy including Mother Warriors and Louder Than Words.
If you are familiar with iTunes you can search the podcast section and find information there. This resource includes many podcasts that are updated regularly. There are experts that contribute their knowledge to this media source and continuously update as new information becomes available.
I hope that these resources can serve as a beginning for parents to research Autism and ways that they can help their children succeed. As I said before, this is only a small amount of information. It’s all out there. You just have to take a little time and dive in.
Disclaimer: I am in no way claiming to be an expert. I’m just a father who is trying to learn as much about Autism as I can to help my child. I hope that you all can learn from me, and I from you. I ask anyone who has questions or comments about something I have written, or autism, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will try to answer questions as I have time, and if I find it interesting enough I may touch on it in my column.