According to one study, one out of every 110 children in America is diagnosed with some form of autism. In a recent article, Parade chronicled the lives of several families who manage the highs and lows of autism every day. Using the families as examples, the article highlights the problems that young adults face when they "age-out" of special education services. Parade has also created a Web site where families of people with autism can connect; more on that below.
As the article explains, proper planning well in advance of high school graduation dramatically increases the scope of services available to children with autism once they reach young adulthood. (For a list of some additional suggestions for advance planning, click here). But in today's economic climate, no amount of planning will guarantee that a child with autism will be able to find a job or afford college, despite his or her best efforts.
Of course, planning can be all the more daunting if you don't have a large support network composed of other families who understand what you are going through. While a qualified special needs planner is a wonderful resource, he or she cannot always answer the day-to-day questions that arise when you are living with a person with autism. That's where a support group comes in.
As part of its online feature on autism, Parade has set up a community where families of people with autism can connect. The site contains testimonials from families of people with autism and links to up-to-date news and resources. It also includes information about joining Parade's autism Facebook page, where family members who are interested can interact with one another and provide support and helpful suggestions.
No Web site is going to be a perfect substitute for actual face-to-face contact with other families, so if the stories on Parade's Web site make you want to connect, talk to your special needs planner about ways to get involved in your community. Not only will you learn more about autism, but you will also be able to make a difference for others.Article Last Modified: 05/05/2011
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