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Autism Parent Support Groups: A Lifeline To Parents

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Table of Contents

Why Are Autism Support Groups for Parents Important?

Parents of children with autism tend to face unique challenges that only other parents of autistic children are capable of understanding. This is why support groups for parents of autistic children are so important. They provide a space for parents to share their experiences, offer each other advice and support, and vent about the challenges they face.

For many parents, these groups are a lifeline. They provide much-needed social interaction and allow parents to connect with others who understand what they are going through. If you are a parent of an autistic child, seek out a support group in your area. You don’t have to go through this journey alone. There are people who understand and are here to help.

Types of Autism Support Group

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There are several kinds of autism support groups. Some are led by professionals, such as therapists or educators. Others are led by parents who have a lot of experience with raising children with autism.

Support groups led by parents are often more informal. They provide an opportunity for parents to share information and offer support to one another. These groups are not typically facilitated by professionals, but they can be helpful nonetheless.

The best way to find a support group is to do a Google search for “autism support groups + (your city/state).” This will give you a list of groups that meet in your area. You can also check with local autism organizations or schools. However, there are a few other ways in which you can find autism support groups for parents.

Parent Support Group Tips

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If you decide to join a support group to know more about autism spectrum disorder, here are some tips to help make the most of it:

1. Attend meetings regularly and be active in the group. The more involved you are, the more you will get out of it.

2. Share your experiences and listen to others. Everyone in the group has something valuable to share.

3. Be respectful of other parents and their children. Remember, these are people who you are likely to be friends with long after the group ends.

4. Vent when needed, but try not to dwell on negative things. The goal of a support group is to provide support, not to make you feel worse.

5. Keep an open mind. You may not agree with everything that is said in the group, but remember that everyone is entitled to their opinion.

6. Take care of yourself. It’s important to have some “me” time outside of the support group. This will help you stay energized and positive throughout your journey.

Ways In Which Support Groups Aid Parents of Autistic Children

Distant view of three adult women sitting in the park talking

It is important for us to support parents of children with autism in our own small ways. There are several people who want to help families and parents but are not sure how to go about it. They fear that their concern might come across as offensive, and hence, choose to stay silent.

This is where support groups can be of help for parents of autistic children. The following are some of the ways in which they can be of assistance:

They Are Inclusive

One of the best things about support groups for autism spectrum disorders is that they are inclusive. They do not discriminate against anyone, and they provide a platform for everyone to voice their opinions.

This is vital because it helps break the feeling of isolation that many parents of autistic children face.

They Help Parents Cope

Another way in which support groups help parents of autistic children is by helping them cope. The journey of raising a child with autism can be a difficult one, and it is often filled with challenges.

Support groups provide a space for parents to share their experiences and offer each other advice on how to cope with these challenges.

Zero Judgement

Support groups are also a great place for parents to seek advice and guidance without feeling judged. In many cases, family and friends may not understand what it is like to raise a child with autism.

This can often lead to judgement, which can be hurtful and discouraging for parents. In a support group, however, parents can share their experiences without fear of judgement.

High Level of Confidentiality

Support groups typically offer a high level of confidentiality. This means that everything that is said in the group remains confidential. Parents, in such cases, might choose to confide in people that they trust, or are close friends.

This level of confidentiality helps parents feel safe and secure, knowing that their information will not be shared without their consent.

Advocate For Your Child

If you are a parent of a child with autism, it is important for you to be their advocate. This means that you should be their voice, and fight for their rights.

Support groups can help you in this advocacy journey. You will be able to meet other parents who are in a similar situation as you, and who can offer you advice and guidance.

You will also be able to learn about the resources that are available to you, and how to best use them to advocate for your child. You can benefit from these resources politically or on a daily basis to raise your voice against any discrimination being meted out to your child.

Have An Understanding of Autism

Finally, support groups provide an opportunity for parents to gain a better understanding of autism. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to raising a child with autism, hearing from other parents can be helpful in gaining insights into different approaches.

This can help parents feel more confident in their ability to raise their children and make informed decisions about their child’s care. Moreover, the people you associate yourself with as a parent have in-depth knowledge and are aware of what autism is and how children cope with it.

Online Autism Support Groups for Parents

women using laptop

Some working parents do not find the time to step in and physically visit support groups. This is where an online support group for parents comes in handy. These forums provide online resources a platform for parents to communicate with each other and offer support to one another irrespective of their geographical location.

Some popular online autism support groups for parents are listed below:

The Autism Support Group

This group has over 10,000 members and is dedicated to providing support to families who have children with autism. They offer a safe and supportive environment for parents to share their experiences and offer advice to one another.

The Autism Society

The Autism Society is a national organization that provides support and resources to families affected by autism. They have an online forum where parents can connect with one another and share their experiences.

Parenting Autism

This group is also dedicated to supporting family members who have children with autism. It has over 9,000 members and offers a variety of resources, such as articles and discussion forums.

Autism Now

This online community offers family support and guidance to families affected by autism. It has over 8,000 members and provides a variety of resources, such as articles, discussion forums, and webinars.

MyAutismTeam

This online community is dedicated to supporting families affected by autism. It has over 30,000 members and provides a variety of resources, such as articles, discussion forums, and webinars.

Dads 4 Special Kids

This special group is dedicated to supporting fathers who have children with autism. They can share the stories and challenges they face on a regular basis.

Conclusion

Parenting a child with autism can be a rewarding but challenging experience. If you are a parent of an autistic child, seek out a support group in your area.

Many support groups provide a space for parents to share their experiences, offer each other advice and emotional support, and vent about the challenges they face.

Attend meetings regularly and be active in the group to get the most out of it. And remember to take care of yourself too!

One final thought, don’t underestimate the potential to strike up conversations with other parents at specific Autism related events and activity classes. There are many yoga classes for kids with Autism for example that provide wonderful spaces for parents to interact with each other.

References

15 indispensible websites for parents of children with autism – friendship circle – special needs blog. Friendship Circle — Special Needs Blog. (2013, November 11). Retrieved March 17, 2022, from https://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2013/07/15/15-indispensible-websites-for-parents-of-children-with-autism/

Barloso, K. I. (2021, October 26). Autism parenting magazine – everything you need to support your family. Retrieved March 17, 2022, from https://www.autismparentingmagazine.com/autism-support-groups-for-parents-families-children/

Five ways to provide support for parents of children with autism. Applied Behavior Analysis Programs Guide. (2018, July 25). Retrieved March 17, 2022, from https://www.appliedbehavioranalysisprograms.com/lists/five-ways-support-parents-children-autism/

The best autism support groups for parents (state by state). The Elemy Learning Studio. (2021, December 29). Retrieved March 17, 2022, from https://www.elemy.com/studio/autism-resources/support-groups/

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