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.

VCU Autism Center for Excellence Resources

Calendar Icon Courses

New Parent Course here

The Parent Playbook

Foundations of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Evidence-Based Practices to Teach Students with ASD

Strategies for Supporting Positive Behavior in Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

45 Minute Timer Webcasts

Autism, Insurance, and ABA in Virginia

Introduction to the Hidden Curriculum Part 1

Strategies and Supports to Address the Hidden Curriculum

The Social Side of ASD

Supporting Social Emotional Development in Young Children with ASD

No More Meltdowns: Managing and Preventing Challenging Behaviors

Practical Management Strategies: What to do After the Meltdown: Part 2

Sensory Needs, Sensory Integration, and Self-Regulation in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

30 Minute Timer Seminars

Introduction to the Use of Schedules with Individuals with ASD

Structuring the Environment and Tasks for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Visual Supports and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Introduction to Communication Skills

Introduction to Functional Communication

Communication Skills for Increasing Interactions

Introduction to Modes of Communication

Introduction to Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) with Individuals with ASD

Pragmatic Skills

Other Websites

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. Autism Speaks has created a searchable state resource guide for services that meet the needs of individuals and families.

CA Human Services 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. CA has developed Autism Action Groups, provides an Autism Assessment Clinic, maintains professional development and training programs, and collaborates with various agencies within Virginia.

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.

The Arc of Virginia is committed to providing families and self-advocates with the best information and resources to support them through their lives. 

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.

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 PACER Center: Champions for Children with Disabilities  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.

TASH is a national advocacy organization focused on ensuring human rights and inclusion for people with significant disabilities and support needs.

Guides and Fact Sheets

The Organization for Autism Research has an extensive parents guide.

VCU-ACE has developed Fact Sheets and Briefs on a variety of topics, which may be helpful to families.

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.

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.

Videos and Training

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.

The Interactive Autism Network, or IAN, was 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 was a way for families and those with ASD to participate in research, but continues to provide a resource that details current and relevant research in family friendly language. Below is a list of articles that families might find useful: