The challenges of parenting a child with autism can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many parent support groups are available to help parents navigate this difficult journey. These groups provide a space for parents to share their experiences, receive support, and find resources. Parent support groups can be an amazing resource. Parents gain many benefits from an autism support group such as feeling less isolated, sharing strategies in dealing with difficult situations, finding referrals that other parents recommend, vent frustrations safely without feeling judged, and finding a sense of community.
Types of Support Groups
The type of group can vary depending on the group leader. Peer-led support groups are organized by parents of children with autism. They are usually set up to have parents give and receive advice and get emotional support from each other. Educational support groups focus on providing information to their members. They deliver presentations about a topic of interest such as feeding, sleep issues, IEP help, etc. Professionally-led support groups are created by organizations that are in the autism field. Groups like these are often run by ABA providers, psychologists, social workers, or school personnel.
Some parents may not be able to be physically present to participate in support group meetings. To make participating more accessible to parents, many of these support groups have moved to an online format. Online members can communicate in forums and social networks.
Below is a short example list of various parent support groups. If you are looking for a support group in your area and do not know where to start, a simple Google search can get you started. Facebook also has a wide variety of groups that you can search for to find the perfect match for your needs.
- National Autism AssociationTo find a local support group in your area, or other resources, visit: http://www.yellowpagesforkids.com/ and click on your state.
- Autism SpeaksAutism Speaks hosts many online events. You can set your location to view in-person listings near you. https://www.autismspeaks.org/events
- Parent Training And Information Center On AutismPTI is a national parent training and information center. It provides resources and support to families with autistic children. PTI provides a variety of online and in-person support groups for parents of children with autism.
- Autism Society of AmericaThe Autism Society of America (ASA) is the leading voice and resource of the autism community in education, advocacy, services, research, and support. Their website has a directory of local support groups for parents of children with autism.
- Family Network on Disabilities (FND) FND is a parent organization that aims to integrate and get equal rights for people with special needs including autism.
- AHA (Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism) Support Group for Parents and Family Members. AHA is a big support group with different subgroups for people and families that deal with Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism.
There are many organizations and groups that offer support for parents. Some of these groups focus on specific topics, such as parenting children with special needs, while others provide general support and advice. No matter what your situation, there is likely a parent support group that can help you. Please contact Key Autism Services by clicking HERE if you need assistance finding a parent support group or have any questions.
Resources: Autism Parenting Magazine
Rush support groups for autism caregivers