Glares from strangers. Rude comments from family. Frustration with doctors and schools. Overwhelming Responsibilities. If you have a child with autism, you might know these situations intimately. You love your child dearly and he/she brings so much joy to your life. However, at the same time, he/she has challenges due to autism that lead to stressful times. It can create loneliness, disappointment, and even feelings of anger. You might feel as though you have no one to talk to, no one who knows what you’re experiencing.
That’s where a support group might be beneficial. Although a “real life” support group is ideal, an online support group can be very rewarding as well. If you need advice on therapies, want to vent about autism, need autism resources or just want to make a new friend, online support groups can help. There are numerous online forums / message boards where you can connect with other parents, chat, and find a virtual shoulder to lean on. Here are a few of the best online support groups for moms and dads who love a child with autism.
Autism Support Group #1: Autism Speaks Social Network
One excellent site to check out if you have a loved one with autism is the the Autism Speaks Social Network. It actually has several groups within the group. For example, there is an “Autism Moms” group with over 600 members and an “Autism Single Parents” group with almost 200 members. There is also a “My Life as a ParentCoping With Autism Group” with nearly 700 members and an “Autism Dads” group. If you are needing advice on dealing with sleeping problems with your child, potty training, or schooling issues, you can ask it here. (Remember to leave medical advice up to the doctors.) You can also make friends with other parents, read blogs and much more. I highly recommend checking out the Autism Speaks website as well.
Autism Support Group #2:Cafemom’s Autism / Asperger’s / PDD Group
Another friendly group of moms with children with autism is the group on Cafemom. It currently has nearly 12,000 members. You can find friendship and fellowship with other moms to discuss some of the challenges of raising a kid with autism, therapies and more. If you need to vent, this is a great place to do so. They also have “clubs” within the group, such as a club for parents with children who have multiple diagnoses, moms of teens on the spectrum, gluten-free recipes and much more. You can also make friends with other moms who are experiencing the same types of issues. Cafemom is a great site to join!
Autism Support Group #3:Autism Web Message Board
The autism web message board offers a place for parents to vent, ask questions. find out about resources, and much more. It has a section just for support and advice, plus an area for diet and biomedical treatments, autism book reviews, autism in the media, and more. It is definitely worth joining.
Autism Support Group #4: Autism PDD Forum
Another support forum is the Autism PDD Forum. It is very active and friendly. There are several sections such as the “Parents of Children Living with Autism” area, “Autism Resources”, “Autism Education Issues”, “Autism Diets”, and even a “Hangout with Friends” area for off-topic discussion. If you want to chat about planning a birthday party for your child, or advice on summer camps, you can find it here.
Autism Support Group #5: Wrong Planet
Wrong planet is geared towards adults and teens who have autism or asperger’s themselves. However, on the forum they have a section just for parents here. On it, you will find support and encourage from other parents who are facing the same issues. If you need advice on taking your child to church, dealing with teachers or more, you can find it on the forum. It’s a great resource.
These are just five fantastic resources for parents with kids with autism. Finding support online won’t’ solve all your difficulties, but it can make a difference. You can provide encouragement to someone else, and anonymous online friends who “get it” can help you as well. Join a support group today!