wiseGEEK: What Resources Are Available for People with Autism?by view standard version, m.wisegeek.com
People with autism and related disorders make up 0.6 percent to more than 1 percent of the populations in North America, Asia and Europe, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many resources are available for children and adults who have autism to help them cope with the disorder, to help them find others who have the same struggles and to provide news and updates on new treatments and studies related to the disorder. Books, websites, nonprofit organizations, conferences and support groups are among the main resources available to people with autism, as are educators and special education facilities.
Books and websites are the first places many people with autism and their families turn to when a diagnosis is made. Thousands of books and websites are dedicated to the subject of autism, many of them written by psychiatrists, educators, researchers and physicians who have years of experience working with autistic people. Gaining a basic understanding of the disorder and how it might manifest is important for children and families dealing with a new diagnosis.
Many books and websites are geared toward parents of autistic children to help their child learn and function. Others target autistic adults who require different information, such as how to find a job and what skills and positions are best for how they think. For example, autistic adults who are visual thinkers might excel in web design or animation, and fact-based thinkers might do better in fields such as accounting or programming.
Nonprofit organizations for people with autism provide a wealth of information and resources. These organizations provide the latest news on treatments, help people with autism and parents of children with autism find clinical trials, and often sell products and conduct fundraisers to raise money for autism research and to raise awareness about the disorder. Many nonprofit organizations also hold conferences annually or several times a year in different areas. The conferences typically include guest speakers who are well-respected in the fields of autism research, treatment and education. Some conferences and seminars teach parents and educators new ideas for helping autistic children learn and develop social skills, and others focus on assisting autistic adults with daily challenges, particularly occupational ones.
Educators and educational facilities that specialize in teaching children with autism are excellent resources for autistic children and their parents. Children with autism and related disorders learn differently from other children and might require more one-on-one attention or different methods of presentation to learn. Pairing an autistic child with a teacher who has experience teaching autistic children is extremely beneficial to the child's development and might make it more likely that the child will be able to hold a job and function in social society as an adult.
Support groups for people with autism and their families, either the groups are local or found on the Internet in the form of message boards, chat rooms or newsletters, are another invaluable resource. In addition to education and information, many autistic individuals and their families simply want to connect with others who are going through similar struggles. Sharing stories and emotions can make the disorder easier to deal with and can present new ideas for treatment and learning daily life skills and coping skills.
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