Raising a child with ASD can be both challenging and extremely rewarding. While there may indeed be many struggles, families can succeed if given the right support. There are now numerous resources designed to help family members and caregivers understand and handle the emotions of raising a child with ASD, and to make those overwhelming obstacles seem a little more manageable.
The resources in this section provide valuable information for both family members and providers. While we can provide information for families to learn about ASD and solve everyday challenges, we must also ensure that providers are giving families the resources they need to succeed.
Commonwealth Autism Service, (CAS) is a major portal for resources and information in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This non-profit organization is in partnership with the lead state agency for autism, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS), to provide a statewide listing of resources for Virginia. CAS has developed Autism Action Groups, provides an Autism Assessment Clinic, maintains professional development and training programs, and collaborates with various agencies within Virginia. Their website houses an extensive List of Resources by region and topic, including a list of statewide Family Support Groups. Several of the Autism Action Groups have also developed regional listings of resources.
The Virginia Family Special Education Connection is funded by the Virginia Department of Education to provide families with critical and practical information regarding special education services in Virginia.
VA Parent Resource Centers (PRCs) are committed to facilitating positive parent-school relationships for the benefit of students. PRCs assist parents with questions, problem solving and planning, and provide resources, information and training sessions.
The Arc of Virginia is committed to providing families and self-advocates with the best information and resources to support them through their lives. This section of their website, Help for Families, includes important information about how to get services started and what is available in Virginia.
Autism Speaks has become a powerhouse of information for families and providers. This website is an excellent resource for family members as well as educators and others who provide services and supports to newly diagnosed individuals and their families.
The Autism Society is a national grassroots autism organization with chapters in every state. The Autism Society is a leading advocacy group for individuals with ASD, their families, and the providers that care for them.
Several Chapters of the Autism Society are active in Virginia.
Each has its own website and a listing of local resources.
Autism Society Central VA
Autism Society Northern VA
Autism Society Tidewater VA
PEATC, or the Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center, provides training, support, and outreach to children with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who work with them.
The Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support (OASIS) has joined with MAAP Services for Autism and Asperger Syndrome to create a single online resource for families. Their website includes information about trainings, events, and camping opportunities.
Operation Autism Online a resource specifically designed for military families raising a child with ASD, offers resources, tips, news, and information about healthcare and other topics for military families.
The ALLIANCE National Parent Technical Assistance Center provides Parent Centers, Parent Training and Information Centers, and Community Parent Resource Centers with innovative technical assistance, up-to-date information, and high quality resources and materials. These centers provide technical assistance to families, as well as, resources and materials.
The Center for Family Involvement works with families to increase their skills as advocates, mentors and leaders so that families, children and young adults with disabilities can lead the lives they want.
Guides and Fact Sheets
The Organization for Autism Research has an extensive parents' guide research document.
VCU-ACE has developed Fact Sheets and Briefs on a variety of topics, which may be helpful to families.
Commonwealth Autism Service has developed this factsheet, which offers information on funding options and opportunities in VA.
Children with disabilities may be eligible for Social Security funding. This fact sheet provides information on Social Security Disability Programs and the answers to frequently asked questions on eligibility.
Parents and caregivers everywhere are eager for credible, research-based information on the most effective treatments for ASD. To address this need, the National Autism Center has released its newest manual, "A Parent's Guide to Evidence-Based Practice and Autism."
Autism Speaks has developed an Advocacy Tool Kit that aims to help both individuals on the spectrum and their families develop and use critical advocacy skills in order to achieve the best possible outcomes.
Autism Speaks has created several tool kits to help families and service providers with many of the challenges faced by children with ASD.
The Virginia Department of Education has developed a guidance document on Models of Best Practice in the Education of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The information presented is designed to guide all schools' practices for educating students with ASD and to promote consistency of programming across educational environments throughout the Commonwealth. The document outlines comprehensive information on the array of available research-based strategies and supports.
The Autism Society recently released a whole new listing of resources on their website, which are available for anyone to download for free.
Videos and Training
ACE offers a variety of videos and trainings to meet the needs of both family members and professionals.
Autism Internet Modules, or AIM, has created a large list of free, online, educational modules designed for educators, professionals, and families.
The Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the UC Davis Mind Institute has developed a series of Modules called Autism Distance Education Parent Training (ADEPT), which includes helpful forms and checklists and a glossary of key terms.
Autism Speaks has developed an ASD Video Glossary. This innovative web-based tool was designed to help parents and professionals learn more about the early red flags and diagnostic features of ASD. The glossary contains over a hundred video clips and is available free of charge.
Research and Articles
Cassidy, A., McConkey, R., Truesdale-Kennedy, M., and Slevin, E. (2008). Preschoolers with autism spectrum disorders: The impact on families and the supports available to them. Early Child Development and Care, 178(2), 115-128.
Karst, J.S., & Van Hecke, A.V. (2012). Parent and family impact of Autism Spectrum Disorders: A review and proposed model for intervention evaluation. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 15, 244-247.
Murray, M.M., Ackerman-Spain, K., Williams, E.U., & Ryley, A.T. (2011). Knowledge is power: Empowering the autism community through parent-professional training. The School Community Journal, 21(1), 19-36.
Ozonoff, S., Young, G.S., Steinfeld, M.B., Hill, M.M., Cook, I., Hutman, T., Macari, S., Rogers, S.J., & Sigman, M. (2009). How early do parent concerns predict later autism diagnosis? Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 30(5), 367-75.
Steiner, A.M. (2011). A strength-based approach to parent education for children with autism. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 3(3), 78-90.
Williamson, E.D., & Martin, A. (2012). Pyschotropic medications in autism: Practical considerations for parents. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42, 1249-1255.
The Interactive Autism Network, or IAN, is a grant-funded online community hosted by Kennedy Krieger Institute with the goal of creating a virtual library of autism research and making that research readily available to families, professionals, individuals with ASD, and community members. The IAN community is a way for families and those with ASD to participate in research, but is also a resource that details current and relevant research in family friendly language. Below is a list of articles that families might find useful: