If you’re having trouble coping with autism in your life, autism support groups offer guidance, benefits and advice.
Besides the family who is touched by autsim, certain support groups also include educators, medical professionals, social service workers, policymakers, etc.
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What Are the Benefits of Joining a Support Group?
First off, when members get together in groups like this, they can really help each other out by sharing information on medical or educational services, programs, and other resources available in the community, county, or state.
In groups like these, members can open up about their fears and worries. Knowing other families who are going through the same kinds of situations can really ease the sense of isolation, loneliness and frustration you may be feeling.
You can get advice from others who may have experienced similar situations or problems and share your own coping techniques that worked for you.
These open discussions can often bring about realistic, logical solutions – exactly the type of support that families need!
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Your support group can also invite experts on wide varieties of relevant topics to speak at the meetings or even publish little newsletters about local services, events and policies.
Autism support groups also serve other, perhaps less obvious and immediate, needs. As a group, members act as a united voice like any other special interest group and this allows you to present your concerns to school administrators, community leaders, etc.
Support organizations vary on what holds them together. But generally speaking, their main goals are to obtain direct services for children, and offer mutual support, training, advocacy, and a outlet of communication.
Some groups may arise out of the need to fill gaps in services while another may set up a child care program for young children with disabilities or open a home for young adults who are looking to be more independent.
Organizations such as Parent-to-Parent (this group’s name changes depending on its location) serve parents who are looking for more understanding and practical ideas to help with raising disabled children. Groups like these connect parents with other families with disabled children.
Many groups offer training that can help you as parents to enhance your skills in raising children with disabilities.
Some groups have local, state, regional, and/or national offices with many members while others may have as few as three members. Remember, the group’s effectiveness is not determined by its size.
All groups can play an essential role in providing information and family support and in addressing issues in a collective voice.
There are groups that are run entirely by volunteers and receive federal, state, or private funding to help pay for staff time, training, development and all the costs associated with maintaining the group.
You may find groups which have been established to meet the needs of other types of disabled children.
If this group is concerned with similar issues, even if it isn’t specifically related to autism, this could still be a great option. What the group does is more important than what the group is called.
When you talk to any organization, be sure to ask for the names of other organizations concerned about similar issues. They tend to know each other and can be excellent sources of referral for Autism support groups.