Autism Support Groups
Autism support groups are important communities for autistic individuals and their families.
You can connect with others, share insights, and understand the effectiveness of various treatments or coping techniques from those who have first-hand experiences.
Many support groups host in-person and online events.
Most of them tend to invite speakers and professionals who can educate attendees about different autism-related topics.
Joining an autism support group can help you cope with the challenges of raising an autistic child.
The Importance of Having an Autism Support Group
Autistic adults and the parents of children who were diagnosed with autism can both gain a lot from support groups. Here are some of the benefits that you could enjoy from joining one:
- Become part of a community that you can turn to for assistance and support.
- Gain first-hand knowledge about treatment options from those who tried them.
- Learn new things from guest speakers and educators.
- Participate in social activities with others who are on the autism spectrum.
- Access to resources, such as help with employment.
Luckily, there are many local and national autism support groups that individuals and their families can join. Each of them provides unique forms of assistance and opportunities.
The 8 Best Autism Support Groups
The Asperger/Autism Network (AANE)
Whether you’re looking to help yourself or a child, the Asperger/Autism Network (AANE) offers resources to autistic individuals of all ages. What makes AANE unique is that they have a comprehensive list of in-person and digital communities.
Firstly, their family support groups and online discussion forums that specifically cater to:
- Autistic teens
- The parents of young children and teens who are on the autism spectrum
- The parents of autistic adults
- Couples in which one or both of the adults have autism
Secondly, adults who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can access the following types of virtual support groups:
- Open support groups that people can join for free and contribute to discussions as much as they would like.
- Closed support groups with paying members who can join for a certain number of sessions (depending on how much they can afford to pay).
- Open community chats that allow autistic adults to connect with others with ASD and AANE’s support staff at no cost.
- Closed community chats that require registration ahead of time. Up to 12 people can attend each session.
This, of course, doesn’t include the educational resources and valuable tools that AANE offers.
How to Contact AANE:
- Phone: (617) 393-3824
- Address: 51 Water Street, Suite 206, Watertown, MA 02472
The Autism Community in Action (TACA)
What makes the Autism Community in Action unique is that they have over 30 local chapters in more than 25 states. TACA’s chapters regularly host gatherings that enable the parents of autistic children to meet others, share their experiences, and learn from more experienced attendees.
Here are the events that TACA’s chapters typically host:
- Autism Learning Seminars: They feature expert speakers who educate attendees about different autism-related topics.
- Chapter Meetings
- Coffee Talks and Family Events: These get-togethers are designed so that parents and families can network in an informal/casual environment.
How to Contact TACA:
- Phone: (855) 726-7810 (toll free) or (949) 640-4401 (local)
- Address: 2222 Martin Street, Suite 140 Irvine, CA 92612
Autism Connect Association
Autism Connect is an internationally-active organization that supports parents in many ways. They also have support groups across the U.S., and their get-togethers typically feature educational speakers.
The Autism Connect Directory is a great resource for finding support groups in your state and/or area.
How to Contact the Autism Connect Association:
- Email: email@example.com
The Autism Society
The Autism Society’s sophisticated affiliate network has a strong presence in many states and localities. In fact, even if the Autism Society doesn’t have a local chapter in your city or town, they can still give you referrals and educational assistance.
The Autism Society’s support groups are designed to act as a community where parents and individuals can meet new people who face similar challenges and find comfort in their support. At times, the Autism Society’s support groups may invite professional speakers to events, host conferences, and setup training seminars.
How to Contact the Autism Society:
- Phone: 1 (800) 328-8476
- Address: 6110 Executive Boulevard, Suite 305, Rockville, Maryland 20852
This organization has communities and support groups around the country. Even if you can’t find a local Autism Speaks affiliate in your area, they still host online community meetings.
Their online directory can help you look for groups and events by age group and service type.
How to Contact the Autism Speaks:
- Phone: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Address: Varies from state to state. Here is a list of their locations.
Autism Support Network
As their name suggests, the Autism Support Network is a resourceful organization for those who want to get in touch with people that have the same concerns, discuss the effectiveness of different autism treatment options with those who have tried them, and become part of a larger community.
Equally as important are Autism Support Network’s online chat groups. Here are some of the prominent ones:
- Chat Forum: You can talk about general autism-related topics in this digital community.
- Coping/Daily Challenges: For those who want to share their experiences and understand how others are managing autism on a day-to-day basis.
- Adulthood and Autism: If you have an autistic child who is over 18 years of age or are an adult with autism, this online forum is for you.
- Employment and Autism: This community is particularly dedicated to discussions about the professional lives of autistic individuals and the challenges that they may face.
- Faith and Religion: Religion and belief systems can influence how families and individuals deal with autism. You can share your ideas and gain insights in the Faith and Religion forum.
In short, parents/family members of an autistic child or an adult who is diagnosed with ASD, alike, will likely find the community that suits their needs through the Autism Support Network.
How to Contact the Autism Support Network:
- Phone: (203) 404-4929
- Address: Box 1525 Fairfield, CT 06824
Whether you prefer in-person events or online communities, MyAutismTeam is a website that is specifically designed to help parents and families get connected while sharing their experiences.
Their ‘Find People Like You’ network allows you to identify families and individuals that are in your area, have a similar diagnosis, and/or are of the same age group as your autistic family member.
Apart from that, MyAutismTeam has an activity page that acts as an online thread where users can share posts and updates. Additionally, you can ask others questions and/or browse the answers to previous inquiries under the website’s Q&A section.
How to Contact MyAutismTeam:
The Nancy Lurie Marks (NLM) Family Foundation
Adults with autism will find the NLM Family Foundation to be especially resourceful. Their Community Relations Program is specifically designed to aid autistic adults who are in their middle ages or older engage in social activities, such as bowling and golfing.
Furthermore, the NLM Family Foundation’s Recreational Resource Directory includes a list of local and national organizations that host recreational or community-based events for autistic individuals and their families.
How to Contact the NLM Family Foundation:
- Phone: (781) 237-1311
- Address: 60 William Street, Suite 110 Wellesley, Massachusetts 02481
We hope you found this article about autism support groups helpful. If you want to learn more about ABA therapy or other autism related subjects check out the rest of our blog.