Support Resources for Families Touched by Autism and Developmental Delays
July 05, 2020
July 05, 2020
As parent of a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it can sometimes feel like a lonely world (even though you might be with your kids more often than those without special needs!). When challenges arise – whether social, behavioral or stemming from a larger scale issue like COVID-19 – it can be tough to know who to turn to for questions, advice or a listening ear.
At Hopebridge, we are here to help your kiddos thrive and get the support they need, but we know their progress starts with parents and caregivers who are backed by their own systems. For those of you who may not already have the support you’d like – and even for those who do – we put together a list of online resources you can turn to when you need a shoulder to lean on. From coronavirus-related materials, to online support groups, to information on how to get an autism diagnosis, view the list below to get a helping hand.
COVID-19 SUPPORT RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
Autism Little Learners’ Social Stories
This speech/language pathologist has a range of incredibly helpful and cute social stories for children with autism spectrum disorder, including a number of coronavirus-focused stories to guide them through the recent changes. Stories include topics like, “Getting a coronavirus test done,” “What is social distancing?” “Why does my therapist look different?” and even a mask coloring book.
Why Families Should Not Skip Pediatric Checkups Due to COVID-19
From the risks of skipping a well-child appointment, to how to prepare for a doctor’s visit during the pandemic, Hopebridge experts cover some of the biggest wellness concerns for parents of young kids. Dr. Chris Holmes, a pediatrician, and Dr. Candice N. Claiborne, a licensed clinical psychologist, share their insight and knowledge around what parents can do to keep their children healthy as families battle the challenges surrounding COVID-19.
Here With Families Here For Families: Mask Wearing Tips
Raising Special Kids, an organization dedicated to families with special needs, created a video with tips for parents to help their children wear masks during COVID-19.
Tips for Managing Children at Home During COVID-19
COVID-19 is a difficult concept for children to comprehend and it is especially challenging for families touched by autism. The Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network developed a list of tips for parents as they cope with closures and social distancing situations.
Helping your Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder be Physically Active and Reduce Stress at Home
Quarantine and shelter-at-home orders may put a hold on some children’s favorite place to remain active, like the playground, but there are still ways to get in some fun physical activity at home. Autism Parenting Magazine shares a number of tips and ideas for staying active at home during COVID-19.
10 Easy Sensory Activities for Children with Autism
Beyond physical health worries surrounding COVID-19, many parents of children on the spectrum are concerned about regression of skills and keeping kids entertained. Hopebridge developed a list of 10 BCBA-approved sensory activities for families who want to create their own sensory play space at home.
Hopebridge Policies and Procedures to Maintain the Health and Safety in our Centers
The health of children has always been a top priority for Hopebridge, but the autism therapy centers implemented enhanced safety procedures in order to ensure the protection of its families during the coronavirus pandemic. This page provides more detail on the policies in place for the well-being of children with autism in the centers, as well as their families and Hopebridge team members.
COVID-19 Lifestyle Supports
Health is not the only concern for many families during the pandemic, as many individuals are unable to work at this time. The Autism Society has a list of beneficial resources ranging from “Know Your Rights” fact sheets on caring for a child during the coronavirus, to information on disability insurance, to self-advocacy guides.
Return to School During COVID-19
It’s natural for parents to wonder how children can go back to school and therapy safely during COVID-19, but the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says children learn best when they are in an education setting, such as a school. This article covers why students should go back to school—safely.
Autism Speaks Family Tool Kits
Autism Speaks, in conjunction with the Autism Treatment Network and the Autism Research Network on Physical Health, has created multiple tool kids that educate families about different aspects affecting individuals with ASD. From guides specifically for siblings and grandparents to transition-related kids, to tips on how to tackle challenges like dentist and haircut appointments, there’s something for everyone.
A trusted guide to mental and emotional health, Helpguide.org offers up, “Helping your Child with Autism Thrive” as a parent’s guide to autism services, tips, and support.
Hopebridge Parent Resources
If you are still gathering information about the signs and autism, early intervention, diagnostic evaluations and therapy options available to you, this is the place for you. With lists, tips, and links to meet with Hopebridge professionals, you’re sure to get the answers you need.
Hopebridge Autism Therapy Centers blog
The Hopebridge blog outlines therapy options and tools from highly trained professionals in the autism world, as well as shares the heartfelt stories and milestones of children and parents who live it every day.
This U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ website shares programs and services, as well as other important information for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.
National Institute of Mental Health – Autism Spectrum Disorder
This website provides an excellent description and summary of ASD that may be useful when informing friends, family members and educators.
Think Safety – A Resource for Autism Awareness Safety
Think Safety is a project led by the Organization for Autism Research. This website is a place where members of the autism community can interact with other parents, family members, friends, educators and law enforcement officials to build a sense of community and knowledge-sharing centered on the individuals with autism in their lives.
University of Rochester Medical Center – Family Support for Autism Spectrum Disorder
This website provides sources of support for families affected by ASD. Perhaps the most helpful aspect is a list of four additional sites, one of which features face-to-face and online support groups for individuals affected by autism.
Autism Society of America
The Autism Society of America was founded in 1965 by Bernard Rimland and Ivar Lovaas together with Ruth C. Sullivan and a small group of other parents of children with autism. Today, the Autism Society is the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization. They work to increase public awareness about the day-to-day issues about people across the spectrum, advocate for appropriate services for individuals of every age, and provide the latest information regarding treatment.
Autism Society of Georgia
The ASG is a non-profit community organization that has supported the Georgia autism community for nearly 40 years. The ASG’s goal is to increase the capacity to serve the more than 157,000 children and adults with ASD throughout all 158 counties in Georgia.
Autism Society of Greater Phoenix
The Autism Society of Greater Phoenix works to increase public awareness about the day-to-day issues that affect people on the autism spectrum, advocate for appropriate services for every age, and provide the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy. This local organization holds Autism 101 classes, parent support groups and social activities for the entire family.
Autism Society of Indiana
ASI exists to ensure that every individual and family affected by autism in the state of Indiana receives the highest quality services they deserve.
Autism Society of Kentuckiana
ASK is a non-profit organization serving Greater Louisville and Southern Indiana, which provides support for families affected by ASD. The group provides resources and education for families and individuals through monthly meetings, plus workshops and social events.
Autism Society of Ohio
ASO advocates for appropriate services across the lifespan of individuals with autism and provides the latest information, treatment, education and advocacy news, especially focused on the Ohio area.
Dedicated to promoting solutions across the spectrum and life span, Autism Speaks is focused on the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support. The organization works to increase the understanding and acceptance of people with ASD, as well as advancing research into causes and interventions.
Autism Society of Southern Arizona
This organization supports the general mission of the Autism Society by increasing awareness and providing support to autism families, such as sensory-friendly meetups, camps, a speaker series and more.
Organizations for Autism Research
OAR is an organization founded and led by parents and grandparents of children with autism. The group’s intent is to pursue knowledge through research and create resources to offer support to self-advocates, parents, siblings, teachers, military families and more.
Operation Autism directly supports U.S. military families touched by ASD. It serves as an introduction to autism, a guide for the life journey and a ready reference for available resources, services and support.
SUPPORT GROUPS AND SOCIAL APPS
DailyStrength.org’s Online Autism / Autism Spectrum Support Group
This website hosts an online support group for individuals and families touched by ASD. It serves as a place to connect, ask questions and receive advice for those of various ages and functioning levels.
HealthfulChat.org’s Autism Chat Room
This site hosts a chat room strictly for those looking for and to provide autism spectrum peer support. Its intent is to encourage individuals with ASD, provide emotional support and let them know they are not remotely alone.
Hopebridge Facebook Page
Another place to turn is the Hopebridge Facebook page. Parents, grandparents and caregivers of children with autism frequent the page and often use it as a forum for questions about Hopebridge and autism therapy, as well as share stories and virtual high fives for each others’ kiddos.
Wolf + Friends app
This free app is designed for moms of special needs children, including those affected by autism, to connect with other like-minded women in their neighborhoods and beyond. Intended to be a judgement-free space, it encourages mothers to create peer-to-peer support systems through direct messages and group chats to find new friends and mentors. Users also have access to a curated content feed of relevant news and developmentally appropriate products and tips.
Many of these links have helped our Hopebridge parents, as well as older children (with parent supervision) and young adults on the spectrum. Through these, we hope you are able to find solace and assistance – and maybe even a new friend! – in knowing you are not alone on this journey.