Autism can be a very demanding and draining life for caregivers and relatives of autistic loved ones. Knowing what to do, where to go, how to advocate for your loved ones, increasing awareness, and caring for yourself are critical areas that need your attention. Fortunately, a wonderful resource is an autism support group.
These groups, comprised both of knowledgeable professionals and those who interact with autism, gather together in this forum to aid, encourage, and educate one another. In your search for an autism support group it is important that certain key elements are part of the group you select.
The five critical roles of an autism support group are providing partnership support, comprehensive support, positive support, educational support, and advocacy.
An autism support group will facilitate partnership interaction. This support matches and encourages partnership participation in the educational opportunities available that match the needs of the autistic and their families.
Comprehensive support should also be part of the offering provided by the autism support group. Comprehensive support should be dedicated towards the objective that all children receive an all-encompassing inclusive or traditional education that is service specific to the individualized needs of the autistic.
Another critical component of an autism support group is the positive support offered. This positive support should embrace the autistic child, caregivers and the family members. An atmosphere of encouragement should be felt and which provides a safe environment to honestly express one’s emotions without fear of judgment. The positive encouragement of the autism support group will facilitate the breaking down of barriers, which will allow for the successful realization of positive accomplishments.
The role of the family in successfully addressing the disability of autism is the strength of the family. This strength is gained through the educational process, as it relates to knowing about autism. Therefore, strengthening the family through education is paramount. A critical component to an autism support group is the resource they become by being an educational resource. By disseminating information about the disability, symptoms, and treatment, the support group enables the family to be informed and strengthened.
The fifth critical component to an autism support group is their role as an advocate, as often the autistic is misunderstood and isolated. These uneducated reactions often translate into the neglect of the autistic. An autism support group will actively represent the autistic community and will advocate for equitable solutions that include educational and social issues.