Additional Website Resources
This is Autism Grandparents Club’s ever-growing list of websites (from among the zillions that are out there) that can be helpful to autism grandparents. We begin with just five. We don’t refer to them as the “best five” or “top five” or “most important five” or any other superlatives. These are simply the five websites that we’ve chosen to start our list.
This is arguably the biggest and most influential autism organization in the nation, and its robust website is comprehensive indeed. It even includes a guide for grandparents. Here is part of the organization’s “About” section: “Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. We do this through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.”
This organization has been around since before most folks had even heard of autism. The website offers comprehensive information and resources. “The Autism Society of America has been improving the lives of all affected by autism for over 50 years and envisions a world where individuals and families living with autism are able to maximize their quality of life, are treated with the highest level of dignity, and live in a society in which their talents and skills are appreciated and valued. We provide advocacy, education, information and referral, support, and community at national, state and local levels through our strong nationwide network of Affiliates.”
AUTISM SOCIETY OF [YOUR STATE OR LOCALITY]
The Autism Society of America has “local” chapters throughout the nation. Mine, the Autism Society of Central Virginia [ascv.org], provides a lot of information and resources on its website, and even offers a local grandparents support group: “For over 30 years, the Autism Society Central Virginia (ASCV) has been proud to serve as one of the region’s premier sources of education, advocacy, services, and support for individuals with autism, their families and friends, and professionals. . . Our mission is to improve the lives of all affected by autism by maximizing the self-sufficiency, independence, and quality of life for all living with autism. We are committed to meaningful participation and self-determination in all aspects of life for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. Our vision for the future is that all individuals with autism receive early identification, appropriate therapies, and supports to achieve their highest potential and quality of life.”
This all-volunteer organization provides direct service to Orange County, California, but its website resources can be of value nationwide. There is even information on how to start your own grandparent support group. “The Grandparent Autism Network informs grandparents about autism and the medical, educational, legal and social issues that affect their families, enabling them to share how they may improve the quality of life for their children and grandchildren. GAN is an all-volunteer organization with limited resources to expand beyond the 34 cities that comprise Orange County, California. We share information about our programs, projects and events and we invite grandparents in other areas to replicate them.”
One of the early autism organizations, it continues to provide a lot of information about autism including symptoms, diagnosis, intervention, support, and even COVID-19 guidance: “Established in 1967 by psychologist and renowned father of modern autism research Dr. Bernard Rimland, ARI continues to pioneer in research, outreach, and cooperative efforts with other organizations worldwide. ARI advocates for the rights of people with ASD, and operates without funding from special-interest groups.”
AUTISM SPECTRUM EXPLAINED
This website has wonderfully understandable information and is created by two sisters, one of whom is on the autism spectrum: “When people look up ‘What is autism?’ online they're not normally looking for a formal description. What they're really saying is ‘Help me understand my child, myself, or someone I know.’ Here two sisters, one autistic and the other neurotypical(ish), team up to answer what you're really seeking to understand.”
This is the nation’s foremost organization run totally by autistic persons. Many of ASAN’s positions on matters concerning autism are quite different from that of the “mainstream” autism organizations and professionals. “We work to empower autistic people across the world to take control of our own lives and the future of our common community, and seek to organize the autistic community to ensure our voices are heard in the national conversation about us.”
This site provides answers to a lot of legal and financial questions, such as, "Can I move and keep Medicaid benefits?" and, "Do co-guardians have to make every decision together?" The site is also an advertisement for a lot of financial and legal practitioners whose names and companies are listed as able to provide services related to the various questions.
This website features the expertise of Dr. Mary Barbara - often provided in both written and video form. (The website also offers books, etc. for sale. The Autism Grandparents Club has no finacial connection and is not a beneficiary.) "I am Dr. Mary Barbera and it is my passion to help autism professionals and parents. Over the past 2 decades since my son, Lucas, was diagnosed with autism, I became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), earned a PhD, and have been studying autism and ABA. . . . Over the past few years I have synthesized the most valuable information and developed my own step-by-step procedures to teach others to implement proven ABA strategies and programming within homes and schools around the world."
This website is a guide to ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) education and careers, but it has a FAQ section that provides answers to a variety of basic questions about autism, such as: How do you identify signs of autism in young children? Is Autism genetic? How is play therapy used to treat autism? and many more.
This subsite of Greater Good Charities showcases wonderful stories about persons with autism. “Greater Good Charities is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that works to improve the health and well-being of people, pets, and the planet. Over the last 11 years, Greater Good Charities has given over $250 million in cash and in-kind grants to over 5,000 charitable partners worldwide."