Tips for Bringing Up a Child with Autism

Autism changes everything -- but not always for the worse!

Family Boy
Family Boy. Stockbyte

Contrary to media presentations, autism isn’t a “pediatric” disorder.  It’s a lifelong disorder that just happens to be diagnosed in early childhood (possibly at birth or infancy). Parents and people on the spectrum work hard to minimize difficulties and build on strengths, and often they are quite successful. But when push comes to shove, with very few exceptions, autistic kids become autistic teens and adults.

What does this mean to the parent who has just learned that their child is autistic?

The fact is that autism changes everything. It changes the way parents view their child, and sometimes each other. It changes the way a child is educated, fed, socialized and disciplined. It may even change the way a family manages work, money, and extended family relationships. These changes may be positive, negative, or both – but they are very real.

These resources should help you to cope with autism from the moment of diagnosis through the early teenage years.

Coping with an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis

Parents are often overwhelmed by a child's autism spectrum diagnosis. Some parents experience grief; others are overcome by guilt, and still others are angry -- or determined to cure their child no matter what it takes. If you're coping with a new diagnosis, you're not alone -- and your feelings are perfectly understandable.

How to Have Fun with Your Autistic Child

Yes, you CAN have fun with your autistic child – but it may take a little imagination and a lot of patience.

 Here are a few tips for preparing your child for ordinary activities – and discovering some activities that are perfect for him or her.

Autism and Family Matters

Sooner or later, autism will have an impact on your family. While moms often have the most immediate and intense response to their child’s diagnosis, fathers, siblings, and grandparents may also be overwhelmed. Some families are brought together by the challenge of autism – but others actually crack under the strain. 

What does it take to help the whole family grow and thrive with autism? Whether you're coping with a mother-in-law's judgment or a spouse's Asperger's syndrome, you'll probably need some advice and insight.

Education and Autism

From preschool to college and beyond, education is a complex issue for people on the autism spectrum. Schools just aren’t set up to support children who have challenges with speech and social communication – let alone unusual or difficult behaviors.

Luckily, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act does mean that a free and appropriate public education is available here in the United States.  Here are resources, ideas, and information to help you manage the challenges, pitfalls, and opportunities.

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