When your child is diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, there is a very high risk of information overload. There is a vast amount of information of varying quality out there on the internet and, in my experience, one of the biggest challenges families of children with a new diagnosis of autism face is sifting through it all! I hope that this post will help to guide you to some trustworthy and helpful starting points in your quest for information. Don’t forget that you are welcome to email me if you have a specific question! Here are the websites that I generally recommend as reliable starting points:
The National Autistic Society – is a UK charity serving the needs of the population affected by autism spectrum conditions. It really should be your first port of call as it is a reliable source of information and you will be able to find out about a variety of support networks, new research and awareness raising campaigns.
Lothian Autistic Society – For those of you living in Edinburgh and Lothian, this is our local autism support organisation. There are other similar local organisations across the UK and you will find their contact details in the National Autistic Society’s Autism Services Directory.
Scottish Autism – this is Scotland’s equivalent of the National Autistic Society and provides similar support and information.
Research Autism – Research Autism is a charity run website which is collecting and evaluating the evidence to support (or not!!) treatments and therapies for autism spectrum conditions. There is a ratings page which lists most of the interventions currently in use around the UK and gives you an ‘at a glance’ view of what is well evidenced, what is not and what can be harmful. It is well worth a look on here as there is a scarily large number of interventions out there for autism spectrum conditions that do not have a strong evidence base! Please check before you fork out lots of money for an intervention!
The specific information, support services and interventions you will need will vary depending on your or your child’s needs but these websites should be able to point you in the right direction to get you started. And, as I said before, don’t forget that you can email me to ask any specific questions you might have!
Always remember that your child is an individual. There are many websites and approaches out there professing to be better than all the rest. In my experience one size never, ever fits all. The most important thing you can do is look at your child and his/her needs as objectively as you can. You may find that one approach fits your child’s pattern of needs particularly well – that’s great! Equally, you may find that you need to use bits and bobs of a variety of approaches to support your child best. There is no right or wrong here, just be prepared to give things a good and fair try, use what works and bin what doesn’t!