Understanding the Nature and Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is one of the fastest-growing developmental disabilities in terms of diagnoses. The latest estimates from the CDC suggest that 1 in 44 children have autism. Autism spectrum disorders can include a wide range of symptoms and severity levels. Working with autistic children can cause significant challenges for families in many aspects of life, such as social interactions, education, employment, and daily events. Having a strong support system for families is key to navigating the journey successfully.
How Families Can Support Children and Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Understandably, an autism diagnosis can also be a source of anxiety for both parents and children. The first and most important step in helping autistic children is learning as much as possible about the diagnosis, treatments, and available service programs.
This process can be overwhelming for parents, which is why joining a family-oriented autism support organization is an excellent way to get started. Here are some of the benefits offered by family-oriented programs and community organizations.
How Family-Oriented Organizations Support the Families of Autistic Children
Family-oriented autism organizations can offer much-needed diagnoses, education, therapy, and support. They use a holistic approach to helping families to forge a path forward. Some of the ways such organizations do this include:
- Providing access to experts in the field. Autism family support organizations work with field experts who can diagnose and offer customized treatments and therapies for affected children. This gives families valuable insight into this condition as well as an understanding of how to implement effective treatment options.
- Helping families navigate systems and services. Family support services can help all caregivers affected by a child’s autism take advantage of programs that will most benefit the entire family unit.
- Providing treatment. Such groups connect families with qualified providers of proven therapies and services that may be helpful to their child, such as habilitation, speech and language therapy, and applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy.
- Providing family support groups for autism. It's a challenge coping with your child’s autism, which is why it's always good to have a safe place to share experiences and concerns and a support system you can fall back on in times of need. Taking advantage of such services can help to prevent caregiver burnout. Related services may offer both individual and family counseling.
- Providing clinical family coaching or behavior coaching. Family and behavior coaching teaches family members how to use behavior change methods to redirect the problematic behaviors autistic children may exhibit. Sessions may take place at home or in a community setting.
- Providing social groups for autistic children and their siblings. Social groups for autistic children help them to build communication and social skills as well as develop positive associations with socializing. Sibshops, a nationally-recognized program for the siblings of autistic children, provides them with a fun and supportive social network.
- Increasing autism awareness. Family-based autism organizations help increase autism awareness in affected families as well as the community. The general public may not know how to interact with or care for autistic children, which leads to stigmatization. Creating awareness makes it easier to deal with the condition.
- Providing much-needed financial assistance. Raising an autistic child can be very expensive, and not everyone can afford the treatment options available. While it is true that there are therapies and services for which you can pay out-of-pocket, there are also many treatment options available for free or at a reduced cost if you know where to look.
AZA United's Family Support Team help families understand and navigate the systems of care for individuals with autism at no cost. We provide relevant and accurate information, coaching, and community resources through phone consultation, in-person appointments, group events, and training.
Our Family Support Team can coach you through a wide range of needs, whether you are wondering if your child has autism or looking for treatment and services. Donations help support AZA United's Family Scholarship Fund, which allows us to offer families a sliding scale for critical programs that have no other funding available.
AZA United's Family Support Team provides support and guidance for families facing any number of challenges as they navigate the Autism journey. This service is available at no charge to all members of the autism and developmental disability community. You may make a phone appointment that works with your schedule by visiting azaunited.org/supportcall
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