Living With Autism: A Resource Guide For Parents

Raising a child is a challenge for new parents. Discovering that your child has autism or Asperger Syndrome can be an unexpected extra challenge. 

Finding the resources you need to help you and your child cope and learn can be difficult, especially if you don't have any prior experience with autism. Luckily, the web is filled with resources, information and help from other parents facing the same day-to-day struggles and achievements. As children grow, their needs change, and these resources will help you learn along with your child. You are not alone.

Autism Speaks has been an invaluable resource for parents with autistic children for more than 10 years. This site shares information, outings for families, helps act as advocate for children, provides access to information from other sites and provides support for families by giving you an alphabetical guide to services, groups of other parents who are facing the same challenges, as well as access to professional network support. It's extensive with a comprehensive list of resources for families - from traveling, using ABA on a daily basis and socializing, to the challenges and changes your child will face as he or she ages. MyAutismTeam is their official social network, support group and resource guide. 

The National Autism Resource and Information Center (Autism Now) was designed as a comprehensive resource for individuals with ASD and other disabilities. There is information for parents and family members of young children with autism, on dating and relationships, understanding ASD, about transitioning to college and finding a job. This site was also developed to help those with autism reach out for help through a call center.

Real Look Autism is a visual resource that is about growing up on the spectrum. This is the place to learn how to cope with ASD: how to teach children valuable life skills, giving parents the opportunity to share their successes and insights. Video and story are combined to provide thoughtful messages and tips. 

Sandbox Learning Lending Library Links gives parents the ability to 'check out' devices such as toys for children with disabilities and have them delivered to their homes if they are unable to borrow items in person. Special needs toys can be very expensive and this service lets you try out these devices before purchasing them. There are occupational therapists, speech therapists and other experts available to help you find just the right device or toy.

For 50 years, Autism Society has been building a network of people to help support, teach and advocate for those with ASD. You can learn about how to detect symptoms of autism, where to have children diagnosed, the causes of this disorder and all about Aspergers Syndrome. There is also information about how autism effects people throughout lives, as well as information about how you can become involved in this cause. They will help you find resources near you and advocate for early detection and quality of life.

AutismAsperger.net was designed for the specific challenges of individuals with Asperger Syndrome. This is a site run by a professor who was diagnosed as having autism as a child - to educate others on the autism spectrum and as a resource to help those within this community. He shares his experiences and journey throughout his life in order to build awareness and help others develop strengths and face their own challenges.

Managed by parents, AutismWeb includes invaluable insights on different autism teaching methods. This highly recommended site also gives parents a forum to share stories, give progress updates and even share recipes for picky eaters. Autism Highway (started by a mother of an autistic child) is informative and fun, with games children will enjoy and an impressive list of Autism-related events and specialists.  

Homeschooling Autism is a site developed by a former teacher to help others who wish to home-school their middle-school aged children. She offers teaching tips, her own experiences, necessary curriculum and materials, resources and how to "begin your home schooling journey." She suggests problem-solving and decision-making resources as well as sharing stories about skills and challenges she has experienced. It's an on-going process. 

As an alternative method of selecting curriculum and starting home-schooling, Bright Hub Education offers tips and resources to help you teach your children from early childhood through high school. Whether you choose to home-school or simply need some help extending lessons.

Parents.com has developed a list of the 10 best apps for kids with autism.Topics include learning to read, fine motor and language skills, identifying emotions and feelings, number skills. coordination, creative and imaginative skills to help improve cognitive and social skills. 

Autism Plugged In recommends free iPad learning apps for autistic children.

Sharon Damon utilized many teaching styles for children with all levels of learning ability during her 25 years as a preschool and early childhood teacher. She remains committed in ensuring quality education for all children and in advocating for improved staffing and furthering teacher development within the school system.