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Autism Spectrum Disorders Health Center

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Tips for Parenting a Child With Autism

2. Get a Strong Social Network continued...

In addition to these different types of support, you can seek out local groups and parent network organizations for families of children with autism. Ask your doctor or child developmental specialist for referrals. Join online chat groups for parents of children with autism.

The more you know about autism and the stronger your support network, the more empowered you will be to live confidently, knowing that your child can get the help he or she deserves.

3. Teach Your Family About Autism

Many moms of kids with autism talk about feeling isolated. Once a child is diagnosed, moms often find that family members stop asking about the child or the child is left out of birthday parties or other family gatherings.

Sometimes spouses and other children admit to feeling stressed, lonely, even angry, as all attention is focused on the child with autism. While these feelings are natural, you can help your family members cope by educating them about autism and the child's specific needs.

Training family members about autism and how to effectively manage the symptoms has been shown to reduce family stress and improve the functioning of the child with autism. Some families will need more outside assistance than others, depending on their internal functioning, established support systems, and financial situation.

In addition, plan outings with other families who have a child with autism. There are many families who share your concerns and daily challenges. Talking openly with these families can give you new insight and better ways of coping. Local and national groups can help connect families and provide much-needed sources of information. Most health professionals can recommend some of these organizations.

4. Review the Recommended Autism Treatment Options

Child development experts agree that a child with autism should receive treatment as soon after diagnosis as possible. There is no cure for autism, but early intervention using skills training and behavior modification techniques can yield good results. This type of educational and behavioral treatment tackles autism symptoms -- impaired social interaction, communication problems, and repetitive behaviors -- and can boost an autistic child's chances of being able to go to school and participate in normal activities.

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