If you’re of a certain age or younger, I’m betting that a significant portion of your time is spent on Facebook.
I’m also betting that either the moment you had an inkling there was something different about your child, your first stop was the Internet. Then, once you figured it might be Autism, you started searching Facebook for Autism and Asperger’s groups.
There’s no harm in admitting this, but there might be harm in some of the groups you are in. There are many, many groups about Autism on Facebook and a lot of them are BAD. Avoid like the plague bad. They are full of Cureists, Autism Speaks lovers, ‘Autism Moms’ and so, so many myths about Autism that you could start a Religion.
In light of the Internet awfulness, I thought I’d cobble together a list of safe spaces. Groups where you can find experienced parents of Autistic children, groups where you can find Autistics ready and willing to offer advice; and groups where you can learn how to Advocate alongside Autistic people and be a true ally.
So, if you’re sitting comfortably, and in no particular order, let’s begin…
‘Autistic Allies – Supporting Autistics to be Themselves’ and it’s accompanying group: ‘Autistic Allies’
This group is a mix of Autistic people and parents/carers of Autistic people. Everyone there sees Autism as a positive thing, not something to be cured or ‘treated’, as it truly is as Neurodivergence.
This is a small group run by a lovely Autistic lady (who is also Mum to an Autistic boy). It’s intimate, personal and very supportive. Again it’s a mix of Autistics and non-Autistic people.
Does what it says on the tin. No question is a bad question here.
The focus of this group is late diagnosed people from 16 through to no upper age limit. The admins are all Autistic. The average age of the members is between 25 to 55.
An amazing group designed to support parents of Autistic children who have higher support needs, or who have become isolated through a lack of support. It is run and managed entirely by Autistic people. There is no such thing as a silly question in this group, though it is important you read the pinned post.
This is a mostly Autistic group, run by Autistic people, but that makes it an amazing place to get advice from.
This page and group are run by an AMAZING lady and very good friend of mine, Jodie Eaton. Jodie is a huge Ally and Autism Advocate and has three beautiful children, all with very different backgrounds. The group is not solely Autistic based, but is worth joining because of the fabulous advice and Autism positive message Jodie puts out.
A page picked with tips, information and support and run by a very knowledgeable person who supports parents of Autistic children in the physical world too.
Another page teeming with supportive information, links, articles and specific advice too. A place to learn from the writing of Autistic adults. A place where parents can discuss supporting and accommodating Autistic children
A brilliant parent support resource, with shared blogs, advice and guidance, all framed around Neurodiversity.
A brilliant resource offering alternative viewpoints to the rise of Behavioural and normalisation therapies, which are already rife in many countries around the world, predominantly in the US and Canada, but growing in places like the UK, Ireland and Australia.
An excellent resource for parents, Autistic people and professionals alike. A blog and page which platforms the voices of Autistic people from all walks of life.
An organisation I’m privileged to sit on the Executive Board of. SLP Neurodiversity Collective is an International Non-profit lovvying organisation that has created a network of Neurodiverse-positive Speech and Language Practitioners and therapists from all over the word. The page delivers some fabulous information and tips.
A group run by partial and non-Speaking people (Not just Autistic), who offer up their time to answer any questions about alternative methods of communication and those who do not communicate through speech.
A page and accompanying website where Neurodiergent people have come together to write blogs on a huge array of different subjects. There is literally something for everyone.
Please remember when you are in a group with Autistic adults to respect them, their wishes and take their advice with positivity and thanks. Autistic Adults were you children at one point, many of us went through life undiagnosed and unsupported, many of us are now parents ourselves. There are people who have been severely damaged by society and its never-ending need to change us, the labels that have been put on us and the prejudice we have suffered, so please be respectful.
I tell you this not to scare you off of us, but to scare you from allowing it to happen to your children in the same way.
Have fun and I hope you learn lots.
P.s keep checking back periodically as I’ll keep updating the list with more supportive groups 🙂