I’ve discovered a website that not only provides all sorts of information and guidance regarding autism and its challenges, but does so in a well-organized and highly accessible manner. It’s the website of the Child Mind Institute: www.childmind.org.
“The mission of the Child Mind Institute, founded in 2009 by Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, Brooke Garber Neidich and Debra Perelman, is to: Offer best-in-class evidence-based clinical care. Engage the global scientific community in visionary research to discover more effective treatments.”
When you go to the website, simply search “autism” and you’ll find a wealth of information — all of which can be helpful to us autism grandparents in our caretaking roles and of course that we can tell our grandchildren’s parents about. There are over 60 “guides” and more than 700 articles.
Click on “Complete Guide to Autism” and you’ll find 13 topics including Sensory Issues, Rigid Eating Habits, Wandering, Medication, and others. And each topic is accompanied by lots of helpful information, guidance, and recommendations.
For example, the Sensory Issues section addresses such things as screaming when their faces get wet, and putting inedible things in their mouths.
The Rigid Eating Habits section talks about preferences for soft foods or crunchy foods, how to rule out GI problems, techniques for tackling various mealtime issues, and more.
The Wandering section includes things such as guidance on how to make our home safe and how to guard against wandering/eloping.
The Medication section begins with this: “There is no medication for the symptoms of autism.” But it provides information about medicines that are often prescribed to lessen symptoms, and advises that all have concerning side effects. It states that Risperdal, for example, is widely used to treat children who are aggressive, but it comes with very significant side effects.
The website is searchable such that you can find most any topic of concern, and robust enough that you can explore and learn for hours.
I especially like that the Child Mind Institute is science-based rather than anecdotal evidence-based. And I like this introductory information regarding autism: Autism is a neurodevelopmental disability that starts in utero, isn’t caused by vaccines or bad parenting, and, due to a broad spectrum of symptoms, manifests differently in everyone.
The website of the Child Mind Institute is one of my new go-to sources for information and guidance regarding my caretaking responsibilities for my granddaughter, and also as I point my granddaughter’s parents to reliable information.