Do Parents of Autistic Children Have Enough Social Support?

There are two sides to a coin, two sides to every story, and two parties when it comes to raising a child. Are they different? Of course, they are. But do they deserve any less attention? Absolutely not. Growing up as a child with autism must be confusing, difficult, stressful, and harsh, but how many people stop to think about the parents raising that child? 

The day parents find out their child has autism will never be forgotten, a powerful moment that will reside for the rest of their lives, somewhat of a new beginning where everything has to change in order to progress. But the real question is do parents of autistic children have enough support? 

Formal Social Support 

On the day you and your partner find out that your child has autism, there might be a feeling of loneliness, one of misunderstanding, and a fear of how to move forward. Fortunately, there are things you can do that will greatly assist you in the years to come. Formal social support is all around, all you need to do is look. 

There are plenty of websites and organizations that are there to help you through these tough times. Charities are there to help parents through the first stages and will continue to support throughout. The respected professionals at explain that reading through real-life stories written by parents of children on the spectrum can be invaluable to your growth. They can inspire and provide support by guiding you through situations to expect in the coming years. 

There are many situations a parent needs to prepare their children for throughout their lives. Change isn’t necessarily all that welcome in an ASD child’s life so understanding how to explain that change will be vital to a smoother transition. Especially when a child becomes a teenager and hormones start coming into play. 

There are plenty of counseling services for parents to attend, and plenty of ASD support groups. These are known as forms of formal social support as they’re conducted by a professional who has studied ASD and will be able to give you the best advice they can. 

Finally, there are courses you can attend as a parent to help you learn more about the condition and see what you can do to raise a healthy, happy child. 

Informal Social Support

Whilst there are many different types of formal support accessible to parents raising a child on the spectrum, not everyone is in a situation where they can physically access them. The internet is a great resource and has a growing level of support on numerous specialized websites, but sometimes seeing someone in person is the level of support needed. 

It’s when people find themselves in this situation where informal social support becomes important to parents. This form of support is given by significant others, friends, and family and is vital to your well being. When it comes to being a friend or family member trying to help then there are certain ways to go about it, sensitivity is key in these situations and shouldn’t be forgotten. 

Encourage your friend to seek out support beyond yourself, there are many social and educational services to attend that will help give the support needed. There’s a high chance that they might not want to go, in which case, attending with them can give them the confidence to start making changes and feeling more positive. 

Check out local parent groups on social media, it’s often helpful finding another parent going through something similar to you. Being able to talk freely about the issues you’re facing with someone in the same boat can be a freeing conversation, it often feels as though you’re the only one. 

Friends can offer more support than people realize, from a shoulder to cry on to support in the street, a friend can make the difference. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it’s the thing that stops people from enjoying their lives and we should remember that our friends are there for us, and love us no matter what. Don’t be scared to ask the question. We all need some help from time to time. 

With autism being such a specific condition, support is still limited. Whilst there are many professionals and support groups to visit, there isn’t much of a guide for friends and family to read in order to assist. To answer the title of the article I would suggest that there could be more support on the internet that’s easy to read and jargon-free. This would make research easier for those trying to help loved ones.