Support Groups for Parents of Children with Autism
| 3 min read
All parents need a strong support system, whether they’re just starting out with a newborn or they have toddlers or teens. Much of this support typically comes from family members, close friends and neighbors. But sometimes parents need specialized support – listening ears from people who have been in their shoes. And they may also need resources tailored to their specific situations. This is true when it comes to parents of children with autism. In Michigan, there are support groups to meet their needs.
There are about 40,000 children with autism in Michigan, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And while each child is unique and their abilities fall on their own place within this spectrum, there is a broad need to provide support for their families.
Mothers and fathers of children who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may need help finding the right doctors or mental health professionals. They may need assistance finding childcare that fits their kids’ special needs. They may be looking for social resources that will help their children flourish. All of this information is available through support groups now meeting across Michigan.
The State of Michigan has a website full of resources for parents, including information on insurance and free family and educational services. “Try not to feel overwhelmed, but find good information and take it step by step. Information here will get you started and link you to useful resources. Also, remember to take care of yourself during the process. Having a child with ASD can affect everyone in the family,” state officials say on the website. You can find more information here.
While support groups across the state tend to vary by region, there are some agencies that act as funnels for that information. These places are known as good first steps when you’re looking for a parent support group. We’re going to highlight some of the most common:
Bridges4Kids.com: This nonprofit acts as a clearinghouse for support groups across Michigan, and has several options for parents. Some groups they highlight are informal, while others have regular meeting schedules. The agency’s handy map includes support groups in both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas.
The Autism Community in Action (TACA): This group offers mentorship for parents, as well as access to lots of resources. Its goal is to offer a guided bridge between the time a child is diagnosed with ASD and a parent understanding the treatments and assistance available.
Autism Alliance of Michigan: This agency provides a neighborhood-based directory of possible service providers and information for parents regarding education and, eventually, employment as their child matures into adulthood.
Autism Support of Michigan: This nonprofit offers a directory of local resources to help parents find groups or services close to them.
Michigan Alliance for Families: This group assists parents in navigating special education needs. It also provides mentors for parents who need help on this journey.
Autism Speaks: This is the largest autism advocacy and research group in the United States. It also provides a localized directory of resources, and offers support to parents of children with autism, no matter what stage they are at in life. They also offer a helpful First 100 Day Kit.
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