Family Support Tool Kits from Autism Speaks

When a child is diagnosed with autism, some family members and friends may feel uncertain about what to do or say. These guides will help loved ones understand and respond to autism.
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Family members and friends of individuals with autism are presented with many joys and many challenges throughout their lives. Learning that a family member or friend is affected by autism is a powerful moment. People respond with a wide array of emotions: shock, grief, fear, denial, anger, acceptance, and many more. Many begin to feel their lives will never be the same. Parents can feel overwhelmed, siblings can feel isolated, grandparents can feel helpless, and friends can feel apprehensive.

In an effort to ease the fears of and provide encouragement to all people with individuals with autism in their lives, Autism Speaks has created these four tool kits. The purpose of each kit is to help teach family members and friends more about autism and its effects on families, and provide resources and support to enable them to lead happy and successful lives with their loved ones with autism.

A Parent's Guide to Autism

This tool kit is specifically designed for parents of children diagnosed with autism. It will help parents:

  • Learn about autism and how it may affect your family.
  • Find strategies and resources for raising a child with autism.
  • Find support so you don't feel alone or isolated.
  • Reduce the negative impact of the diagnosis on your family.
  • Promote a positive future for your child and family.

A Sibling's Guide to Autism

This tool kit is for anyone who has a brother or sister diagnosed with autism. Though the guide has been designed for children ages 6 through 12, the information can be adapted as needed to other age and education levels. The guide is written in an interactive format so parents and siblings can set aside some quiet time to read it together. The intention is to create an opportunity for siblings to focus on their feelings and their reactions to their sibling's diagnosis, and learn about autism.

A Grandparent's Guide to Autism

This tool kit is designed specifically for grandparents of people who have been diagnosed with autism. It will help grandparents:

  • Learn about autism and its impact on your family.
  • Discover ways to support your children who may be struggling with their child's autism diagnosis.
  • Find out ways to develop the best relationship you can with your grandchildren.
  • Feel support and encouraged so you don?t feel lonely or overwhelmed.

A Friend's Guide to Autism

This tool kit is specifically designed for friends of families affected by autism. It will serve as a guide to help you learn:

  • More about autism.
  • How your friend may be feeling if this is a new diagnosis.
  • How to support your friend.
  • How you and your family can interact with and support the person with autism.

Originally featured on and reprinted with permission. Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.

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