How to Support Autism Awareness Month + Resources for Parents at Home

Written by:

April is Autism Awareness Month and is a time to educate ourselves and raise awareness about a disability that affects many children and adults worldwide. Also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder {ASD}, this disability appears in many different forms and varying levels of severity from person to person. Now more than ever, children and adults living with Autism Spectrum Disorder need support as they continue to adjust to life at home, away from the structure, routines, and therapies they are used to receiving. Read on to learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder and how you can support those living with the disorder. 

autism-awareness-puzzle-piece

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder {ASD} is a developmental disorder that impacts the nervous system and impairs the ability for children and adults to communicate and interact with others. Although there is no known cure for this condition, treatments such as behavioral therapies, family therapy, and applied behavior analysis {ABA} are helpful in reducing symptoms and supporting development + learning. A child or adult living with autism may experience symptoms that include difficulty communicating and interacting with others, obsessive tendencies, or repetitive behaviors. These symptoms also appear in a variety of forms and severities from one person to the next. 

How You Can Support Autism Organizations from Afar

It is simple enough to support autism organizations from afar by donating to a variety of different charities. This list of well-known organizations is a good place to start:

The Organization for Autism Research (OAR) emphasizes ensuring that adults with autism reach their potential by providing scholarships to colleges, programs + resources for self-advocates, and a portal for employers interested in hiring adults with autism.

The Autism Society of America has chapters across the country that provide person-to-person support and advocacy, as well as an online database of information and recommendations for parents and caregivers.

Autism Speaks is an organization best known for starting the Light It Up Blue events, autism Speaks Walk program, and the Learn the Signs public service campaign to raise awareness for children and adults living with autism.

Asperger/Autism Network (AANE) is geared towards families and provides a blend of virtual and in-person services to support adults with autism as well as their family members.

The Autism Science Foundation supports autism by funding scientists and organizations that conduct research.

The Art of Autism focuses on spotlighting talents in the visual arts by children and adults with autism.

If you care to do something more hands-on to support these organizations, consider volunteering for events such as fundraising walks in your neighborhood. Many community centers {such as the YMCA} or smaller local organizations are also looking for mentors or ‘buddies’ to participate in events and activities with children or adults with autism. Considering these days of social distancing, organizations will inform you as to how you can support or help from afar until events like these are possible.

Read More: Dr. Kerry Magro on Being a Non-Profit Founder + Living with Autism

Resources to Support Autism Spectrum Disorder at Home

When a lack of structure or routine occurs, children and adults with autism tend to experience behavioral challenges. For parents and caregivers who are looking for effective resources to use at home with a child or adult living with autism, consider these online behavioral resources:

Autism Parenting Magazine

Autism Parenting Magazine is an award-winning publication aimed at improving the quality of life for families affected by autism. Established in 2012, the magazine publishes autism-related topics, events, developments, treatments, and news stories, as well as a variety of inspiring real-life success stories.

Challenging Behaviors Toolkit by Autism Speaks 

This toolkit provides you with appropriate responses to challenging behaviors you may be encountering at home with your child.

Resource Guide by Autism Speaks

This guide provided by Autism Speaks provides an extensive list of resources ranging from autism-friendly services to treatment and therapy options.

See More: 25 Easy Ways to Get Crafty at Home

These apps are also great to use with your child at home:

Touch and Learn- Emotions is a free app that assists children in identifying emotions and recognizing body language.

Skill Champ is a free app that provides children with practice in foundational skills such as letter matching, identifying emotions, and more.

ChoiceWorks Calendar is another paid app that provides visually appealing options to create a schedule and alleviate transition anxiety.

Social Adventures is a paid app that was created and tested by speech and language professionals. This app contains social-skills-building activities for your child.

Stories in Motion is an app that is free to try but ultimately paid that uses a comic-style approach to assist children in navigating social nuances.

How will you be supporting Autism Awareness month? Let us know in the comments!

EMAIL BUTTONS


Did you know: We started a podcast about all things news and lifestyle in Hoboken + Jersey City! Listen to the latest episode of Tea on the Hudson here and subscribe.


Written by:

Originally from Essex County, Alexa is a born-and-raised Jersey girl who moved to Hoboken two years ago. A teacher by day, Alexa is certified in elementary and special education and has her master’s degree in literacy. In 2018 she started @AlexaMartinDesigns, her small business side hustle focusing on all things creative and loves to collaborate with other small and local businesses. Alexa is currently an intern for Hoboken Girl and in her free time, you can find her painting all the things, traveling the world with her fiancé, or relaxing at her family’s beach house in Spring Lake, NJ.