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Autism Acceptance Month: Resources for Parents

by Alexa Martin
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April is Autism Acceptance Month and is a time to educate ourselves and raise awareness about a disability that affects many children and adults worldwide. Also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), this disability appears in many different forms and varying levels of severity from person to person. Here in the Essex County area, there are a variety of resources for parents of children with autism.  Read on to learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder and how you can support those living with the disorder.

autism awareness month resources

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that impacts the nervous system and impairs the ability of children and adults to communicate and interact with others. Although there is no known cure for this condition, treatments such as behavioral therapies, family therapy, and applied behavior analysis (ABA) are helpful in reducing symptoms and supporting development + learning. A child or adult living with autism may experience symptoms that include difficulty communicating and interacting with others, obsessive tendencies, or repetitive behaviors. These symptoms also appear in a variety of forms and severities from one person to the next.

The Ivy at Chatham

Read More: A List of Miscarriage Resources in New Jersey

How You Can Support Autism Organizations from Afar

It is simple enough to support autism organizations from afar by donating to a variety of different charities. This list of well-known organizations is a good place to start:

The Organization for Autism Research (OAR) emphasizes ensuring that adults with autism reach their potential by providing scholarships to colleges, programs + resources for self-advocates, and a portal for employers interested in hiring adults with autism.

The Autism Society of America has chapters across the country that provide person-to-person support and advocacy, as well as an online database of information and recommendations for parents and caregivers.

Whole Spectrum Autism, a Jersey City-based non-profit, raises autism acceptance by hosting family-friendly, inclusive events throughout the year because “autism isn’t just one day or one month — it is everyday living for so many of us.” Advocacy and education are the core of their work, with the mission to build inclusive communities. FYI: Whole Spectrum is hosting its annual Autism Acceptance Gala on June 27th at Liberty House in Jersey City — more information can be found here.

AANE is geared towards families and provides a blend of virtual and in-person services to support adults with autism as well as their family members.

The Autism Science Foundation supports autism by funding scientists and organizations that conduct research.

The Art of Autism focuses on spotlighting talents in the visual arts by children and adults with autism.

If you care to do something more hands-on to support these organizations, consider volunteering for events such as fundraising walks in your neighborhood. Many community centers (such as the YMCA) or smaller local organizations are also looking for mentors or ‘buddies’ to participate in events and activities with children or adults with autism.


Resources to Support Autism Spectrum Disorder at Home

When a lack of structure or routine occurs, children and adults with autism tend to experience behavioral challenges. For parents and caregivers who are looking for effective resources to use at home with a child or adult living with autism, consider these online behavioral resources:

Autism Parenting Magazine

Autism Parenting Magazine is an award-winning publication aimed at improving the quality of life for families affected by autism. Established in 2012, the magazine publishes autism-related topics, events, developments, treatments, and news stories, as well as a variety of inspiring real-life success stories.

Supporting Your Autism Journey + Autistics on Autism

Supporting Your Autism Journey and Autistics on Autism are written by Hoboken resident Dr. Kerry Magro — a professional speaker, best-selling author, and autism entertainment consultant who is on the autism spectrum. You can read more about Kerry here.

See More: Autism Acceptance Month Matters, by Hoboken Resident Dr. Kerry Magro

Apps to Use With Your Child at Home:

Touch and Learn – Emotions is a paid app that assists children in identifying emotions and recognizing body language.

Skill Champ is an iPad app that provides children with practice in foundational skills such as letter matching, identifying emotions, and more.

ChoiceWorks Calendar is another paid app that provides visually appealing options to create a schedule and alleviate transition anxiety.

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