You just got the news. You or a loved one has been diagnosed with autism. Your blood runs cold and you sit in shock. What now? What’s autism? What do I do? Take heart, you aren’t alone.
The CDC’s newest statistics show that one in 110 children have autism. Autism has proven highly hereditary in it’s forms that aren’t thought to be vaccine triggered. The newest diagnostic manual (DSM) followed by doctors states that all the forms of autism to include Asperger’s are accepted as simply “autism”. That means there is help out there, for all levels and forms. That’s not to say that getting proper support is easy and there are still insurance issues across the country, but you mustn’t lose hope.
First of all, you need to know where you can find resources, advice, and help. I’m going to tell you how to do that right now.
The first resource that I am giving you is the Autism Society of America. They have a chapter in every state and are the most in depth source of all resources you can find. To find them, go to your browser and put in “Autism society of *blank*”. Blank is where to put the name of your state. It is possible to find societies in Canada and the UK as well. Just put your province or state location in the place of that word, ‘blank’.
On most of their pages you will find a link that says RESOURCES. Click on that. You will find a list of organizations and offices in your state with phone numbers and locations. Pick up your phone and start calling them. Most of these resources can give you a heads up on what doctors are the best to go to for autism and what schools have the best resources, depending on what is reported to them. You may also find other families who have dealt with autism longer than you and can share advice on what has worked for them. Some state health departments even have an autism representative who can work with you. Can’t hurt to call and ask!
The second resource I have for you is NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). NAMI is pretty much US based, but they have excellent information and links to resources for pretty much every state. To find their chapter for your state, go to your browser and type in NAMI and the name of your state. When I go to the Wisconsin site that lists as the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, I click on services and find a map with all the counties of Wisconsin. I click on my county and get a long list of mental health services for my area. The rest would be up to me, to pick up my phone and start calling. Some services may be listed with both organizations.
The third resource is the advocate. If you really feel lost seek out advocates in your area or even right here. We volunteer our time to help you find the information you need and many of us live with the exact same or similar conditions and don’t mind lending advice or letting you just vent to someone.
So know that you are not alone. There are thousands of people and families dealing with autism and vast other mental illnesses and disorders. There are lots of websites, forums and groups with others just like you, right out there. Don’t lose hope.