A Parent's Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism Resources Online

Where Should I Start?

Newly diagnosed? Download Autism Speaks' free "100 Day Kit" for information and advice to help you make the most of the first 100 days after receiving a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder. See their video clips of autism symptoms here.

Autism Society of America: To find a chapter in your area and receive autism information, visit their web site or call 1-800-3AUTISM. ASA chapters are a good place to meet other parents in your community.

Live outside the U.S.? See a list of autism organizations by country.

Need help with education or therapy funding, insurance, respite care or other services? Find your state's Developmental Disabilities Agency and other resources on this State List, and call to ask about services.

Looking for tutors, advocacy groups, special education lawyers or psychologists in your state? Visit www.yellowpagesforkids.com. Check the credentials and references of anyone you consider hiring.

Would an online college course on autism help you? Yale University has made its Understanding Autism class available online and free to the public.

Find your local Parent Training Center for help with special education.

For information on Asperger's Syndrome, a milder type of autistic disorder that does not involve a language delay, see AutismWeb's Asperger page, Dr. Tony Attwood's Asperger's web site, and Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support@MAAP.

Autism Information Center at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Indiana Resource Center for Autism publishes articles about autism.

Teaching Tools and Communication Symbols

Model Me Kids has videos, teaching manuals and workbooks to teach social skills to children and teens with autism spectrum disorders. Free downloads of apps for iPod, iPad, Droid and iPhone of social skills lessons, including photo slide shows of children modeling appropriate behavior in various community locations. For free downloads, go to the toolbar on the Home page.

Materials for Teaching Programs: See AutismWeb's complete list.

National Autism Resources: information, sensory toys, visual supports, gifts and educational products for kids with autism.

Apple's iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone have Apps that are useful for children with communication and social skills problems. For information and guides to apps, see 13 Best Autism Apps for the iPad and iPads Especially Helpful for Special Needs Students.

Several companies sell different picture communication symbols or other devices used to help children with speech delays and autism learn words and express themselves including Pyramid Educational Consultants.

The website of educator Carol Gray, who developed stories to teach social skills. Her books, including the classic The New Social Story Book, 15th Anniversary Editioncarol gray social stories for autism, are used to teach "everyday social skills" to children and adults with autism spectrum disorder.

Social Thinking: Speech pathologist Michelle Garcia Winner's program for teaching social learning to students with Asperger's syndrome, ADHD and social-communication problems. Winner is the author of books on social thinkingsocial thinking. (return to top)

Help with Special Education

IEPs, ESY, IFSPs, what does it all mean? Here are web sites that help parents understand the federal laws that require that children with a disability receive a free and appropriate public education from birth to age 21. Find out what your child's rights are, and what to do if you believe your school is violating those rights.

Wrightslaw - Attorney Peter Wright and Pamela Wright run the top-ranked web site for special education law and advocacy information. Hundreds of articles and legal cases are available in a free online library and newsletter. The Wrights are the authors of From Emotions to Advocacy: The Special Education Survival Guidespecial ed and Wrightslaw: Special Education Lawwrightslaw.

NCLB and IDEA: What Parents of Students with Disabilities Need to Know and Do: This printable guide explains two important U.S. laws, The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). From the National Center for Educational Outcomes with Council of State School Officers and National Association of State Directors of Special Education.

Council for Parent Attorneys and Advocates is a nonprofit group of parents, lawyers and advocates involved in special education. Search for an attorney or advocate in your state. (return to top)

Medical and Dental

Autism Treatment Network at Autism Speaks.

Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs provides training to health care providers and publishes a list of providers.

Autism Research Institute provides online information and sponsors conferences on alternative biomedical treatments for autism. Webcasts of past conferences can be viewed here.

Is your child or patient uncomfortable with dental care and appointments? Get this guide and video about helping sensory-sensitive kids with dental care: Dental Tool Kit to Promote Good Oral Health Care for Kids with Autism.

Medline Plus: Autism information from the National Library of Medicine and NIH.

Brochure on "Autism, Epilepsy & Seizures: How to Recognize the Signs and Basic First Aid When You Do"

Yale Developmental Disabilities Clinic

Autism360: resources for tracking treatments

University of Maryland Complementary and Alternative Medicine Index: information on supplements and herbs. (return to top)

Recreation and travel

Don't let autism stand in the way of a family movie outing. Certain AMC theaters show "sensory-friendly" screenings of movies for children with special needs. Visit the ASA website for participating theaters.

Camps: American Camp Association (search for autism)

Special Olympics has sports programs for people with disabilities.

Surfers Healing sponsors free surfing camps for kids with autism.

iCan Shine, formerly Lose the Training Wheels, teaches children with special needs to ride bikes and participate in recreational activities.

Do you have questions about air travel with someone with a disability? Call TSA Cares, part of the US Transportation Security Administration, toll-free at 1-855-787-2227 or visit its website for info on airport screening. (return to top)

Autism Research

Free download from the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee: Summary of Advances in Autism Research in 2015.

Autism Speaks, a nonprofit, financially supports research into the causes, prevention and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. Programs include the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange, Autism Treatment Network, Clinical Trials Network and Innovative Technology for Autism.

Interactive Autism Network, or IAN, is an online project linking researchers and families. Parents can fill out online questionnaires and read preliminary research data.

ClinicalTrials.gov lists major research projects. Search for autism studies if you would like to participate in one.

National Autism Center reviews research on educational interventions and therapies for autism, and publishes a free report on what's proven to be effective.

National Database of Autism Research

Organization for Autism Research focuses on treatment and education.

Keeping a Person with Autism Safe

Autism Wandering Awareness Alerts Response and Education (AWARE) works to prevent autism wandering incidents and has information on tracking technology. Information on how to handle wandering from school, plus toolkits for parents/caregivers and first responders.

National Autism Association has information on wandering, restraints and seclusion, and bullying.

Project Lifesaver, a nonprofit group, provides wristwatch-like tracking devices to people with autism and disorders that place them at risk for wandering and getting lost. The devices help police who participate in this program quickly find someone who wanders away. More than 1,000 agencies in 45 states participate in the program. 757-546-5502.

Autism Risk and Safety Management, a web site by safety expert and author Dennis Debbaudt, has autism safety information for parents, teachers, paramedics and police.

U.S. government's Stop Bullying website.

Safe and Sound program of the Autism Society of America.

National Drowning Prevention Alliance has tips for water safety.

Teens and Adults on the Autism Spectrum

Autism Speaks' Transition Tool Kit for young people transitioning from school to adult services.

Autism.jobs is an online job resource center for adults with autism, parents, caregivers, job coaches and employers.

JobTIPS is a free program to help people with autism and Asperger's explore career interests, find a job, and be successful at work.

Next --> More Autism Links

Model Me Kids Videos for teaching social skills