Did you know that autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in America? It’s true. According to The Autism Society of America’s Facts and Statistics page, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts the prevalence of ASDs in U.S. children at 1 in 68 as of 2010. This represents a 119.4 percent increase from 2000’s record-high rate of 1 in 150.
Unsurprisingly, awareness, advocacy efforts, and available resources are all increasing along with diagnoses. In some ways, this makes life easier for families with children on the spectrum. With the advent of the Internet age, parents like you can research treatment options and connect with like-minded communities at the touch of a button.
Yet sorting through the overwhelming amount of information online is a formidable task in and of itself. That’s why our team compiled this list of quality autism resources. We’ve separated out the sites that have the most to offer overall, as well as in the specific area of ABA. Enjoy!
General Autism Resources, US-Specific
The CDC has an autism section on their website which is a great link to pass along to family members (and anyone else in your life!) who could use a foundational overview of current facts and research. The CDC also offers free printable materials to help raise awareness and promote early diagnosis.
Autism Speaks is famous for its extensive selection of free online Tool Kits and downloadable guides to just about every aspect of life on the spectrum. There’s a Tool Kit for everything from navigating the post-diagnosis period to supporting your child at the dentist!
In particular, you’ll want to download the Parent’s Guide to Applied Behavior Analysis, a brief but helpful overview of ABA principles and benefits.
Also, be sure to check out the site’s state-by-state Resource Guide, where you’ll find detailed listings of regional service providers.
The Autism Society of America’s resource guide is called Autism Source, and it’s a searchable database for autism services in your area. Yet the organization’s most salient resource is their extensive network of local chapters. So find an affiliate in your area and get connected to other parents.
As we wrote in our blog post, A guide to autism support for parents,
“… Families in your area have valuable experience with government programs, school systems, non-profits, and more. Local parents have a wealth of information about how to advocate for your child in your specific town or city. It’s much more efficient to ask questions of fellow parents than to try and figure everything out alone.”
Autism NOW is the Arc of the United States’ ASD-specific online resource center. It includes informational articles, webinars, and guides to family relationships, emergency preparedness, education, benefits, and more. (You can browse by topic to narrow your focus area.)
Families for Early Autism Treatment (FEAT) is a California-based nonprofit that supports autism families and promotes early intervention. There are FEAT chapters throughout the US, and the Connecticut FEAT chapter website includes an extensive overview of ABA, including links to professional journals and relevant articles.
Autism After 16 is an online magazine with a focus on adult autism issues and analysis. The site includes plenty of personal columns from self-advocates, parents, and siblings, as well as journalistic articles on how to navigate adult autism employment, housing, and finances. Though the site is inactive as of this writing, its archives offer a wealth of information.
General Autism Resources, International
Ambitious About Autism is a UK-based, parent-founded non-profit created “to make the ordinary possible” for individuals with autism. The organization provides services in the UK, and their site’s Understanding Autism section offers videos on sensory issues and autism myths and facts.
The Autism File is a magazine centered around life on the spectrum. Created by UK autism mom, Polly Tommey. The publication offers supportive articles as well as the latest scientific news, treatment protocols, and research updates. You can find the print magazine at your local Barnes & Noble, or read through articles online for free.
The Mighty is an inspirational website devoted to share powerful stories of people living with disabilities. The Mighty’s founders are autism parents, and they created the site as an uplifting community after their daughter’s diagnosis.
Behavior Support / ABA-Specific Resources
The Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies Autism page features an extensive selection of articles, videos, and studies, all collected with the aim of offering “a scientific view of the causes of Autism and the Applied Behavior Analysis approach to its treatment”. If you’re interested in doing your own research on ABA, this page is a must-see.
The Association for Positive Behavior Support (APBS) Families pagecontains an introduction to PBS, myriad examples of positive behavioral support plans, and lists of support strategies too.
The Association for Science in Autism Treatment was founded to fight against inaccurate, false autism information, and its focus on evidence-based treatment helps parents discern which services are worth pursuing for their children.
The site’s Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) page outlines the proven efficacy of ABA therapy for individuals with autism, so it’s a great reference point for people who haven’t heard of ABA or don’t understand its importance.
Also, the Becoming a Savvy Consumer page is a good place to start if you’re unsure of how to sort through various autism therapies and media claims.
The National Autism Association is a nonprofit with a focus on safety issues. Their advocacy efforts help prevent accidents and abuse of vulnerable individuals. They offer wandering prevention materials, swimming instructions, safety tool kits, and more.