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Autism and Family Life

Autism can pull a family apart -- or help bring it together. Here are ideas and inspiration for handling the demands, challenges and opportunities that come with an autism diagnosis.
  1. Extended Family and Autism (2)
  2. FAQ's: Marriage and Autism (6)
  3. Family Events and Autism (10)

Grandparenting - Tips for Grandparenting a Child with Autism
Are you the grandparent of a child with autism? What are the challenges you face in connecting with your grandchild? What tips can you share for building a bond with an autistic grandchild?

Autistic - When a Friend or Relative Has an Autistic Child
When a niece, nephew, or friend's child is suddenly diagnosed as autistic, it can be hard to know what to say or do. If you have an autistic child, you probably have hints or tips to help. What do you need? What drives you crazy? Are there great ways for a friend or relative to help?

Just a "Developmental Delay" - Part Three of My Memoir
In the third part of my autism memoir, my son Tom is evaluated by a whole team of experts. The outcome -- pervasive developmental delay -- seems completely unrelated to autism!

Eight Signs That You’re a Terrific Autism Parent
When you have a child with autism, it's easy to feel that you've done something wrong. Of course, it's always possible that you've made mistakes: most of us have! But it's also possible that you're a terrific autism parent.

The Hope-Fear Seesaw - Part 2 of My Memoir
Our pediatrician said Tom was fine, but the preschool disagreed. Hope and fear alternated as we waited for an evaluation.

Special Interest or a Repetitive Behavior?
Your child with autism may have a special interest that you can nurture. Find out how to identify special interests, and understand the difference between a special interest and a repetitive or perseverative behavior.

How to Be a Good Sibling to an Autistic Brother or Sister
It's not always easy being the sibling of a boy or girl with autism -- but then again, it has its up sides! This article, written by my daughter Sara, age 13, offers some insights and tips.

Tools You Need to Parent Your Autistic Child
You may be surprised to learn that you already have the top tools you need for parenting a child on the autism spectrum.

Is It a Special Interest or a Repetitive Behavior?
Does your child with autism really love trains -- or does he just enjoy lining objects up in a straight line? Learn to distinguish between interests and repetitive behaviors, so you can encourage your child's passions.

Autism Information for Friends and Family
Unless you're a person with autism, the parent of a child with autism, or a person who actually works with autistic people, you may have some pretty offbeat ideas about autism. Here's autism information to share with friends and family to help bridge the gap between myths and reality.

When Friends or Family Members Have an Autistic Child
When friends or family members have an autistic child, things seem to change. How can you help without interfering? How can you keep the relationship going?

Opening Public Libraries to People with Autism
How can libraries welcome people with autism? Here are tools and information from an organization called "We're Connected."

Advice to Autism Parents from an Emergency 911 Responder
What's the best way to help firefighters and police to help your loved one with autism? Here are suggestions from a firefighter who specializes in special needs situations.

Autistic Child - Tips for Including an Autistic Child at Church
Is your autistic child included in religious education or services? How did you make it happen?

Genetic Autism - Genetic Autism and Your Family
Does genetic autism run in your family? Tell your story!

Can an Autistic Child Be a Part of the Catholic Church?
Your autistic child may have a very hard time using spoken language, following direction, or even sitting still. Can your autistic child be a part of the Catholic Church?

What's It Like to Be an Autism Mother?
What's it like to be an "autism mother?" These Mother's Day essays from mothers around the world provide insight into the world of autism mothering. You're sure to find at least one that resonates with your experience. Enjoy!

Red Flags: When Does the Sibling WithOUT Autism Need Help?
When your brother or sister is autistic, your life can be complex. Sometimes, typical siblings of children with autism need a little extra help.

Should Parents of a Child with Autism Have More Children?
Should parents of a child with autism have more children? What are the possible risks and benefits? Drs. Robert Naseef and Cindy Ariel discuss the implications of parents of a child with autism having more children.

Does My Child with Autism Need More Friends?
Some parents with children on the autism spectrum are naturally social people. They grew up with lots of friends, and it hurts to see their child alone or hanging out with just one other person. Drs. Robert Naseef and Cindy Ariel discuss what social life might look like for a child on the autism spectrum.

Autism, Anxiety and Nightmares
Autism, anxiety and sleep disturbances often go together. Drs. Robert Naseef and Cindy Ariel address a parent's concerns about nightmares, and offer specific advice.

What's the Best Way to Welcome My Autistic Grandchild?
How can a grandparent living far away prepare to welcome an autistic grandchild? This article by Drs. Bob Naseef and Cindy Ariel offers ideas and direction for grandparents who want to support and embrace their autistic grandchild.

How Do I Get the Support I Need from My Family?
When you or your child is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, your family may not offer the support you need. They may deny the diagnosis or even place the blame on you. Family therapist Dr. Cindy Ariel offers advice on this issue.

How Can a Family with an Autistic Child Find Support and Friends?
After their child is diagnosed on the autism spectrum, parents may feel isolated from the world. Instead of taking part in typical parent-child activities, they're managing therapy. Drs. Naseef and Ariel offer practical suggestions on how to cope.

Balancing the Needs of an Autistic Child and a Typical Sibling
Children with autism need a lot of support - but so do their siblings. Psychologists Bob Naseef and Cindy Ariel offer their insights on balancing the needs of children on and off the autism spectrum.

A Parent's Introduction to Play and Autism
This introduction to play and autism offers parents tips and resources for overcoming some serious challenges. Yes, you can play with your autistic child!

Autism and Museums: A Perfect Match?
If you've been staying home with your autistic family member, now is the time to rediscover the cultural community. Many museums are becoming attuned to autism, and creating special opportunities for your family to visit. Is there an autism friendly museum near you?

Helping Dads Get Involved with Their Autistic Children
In many families with autistic children, the mom takes a leading role. She may become researcher and therapist, advocate and manager. This can leave a dad feeling disconnected from his child -- and even his family. How can dads get more involved with their autistic child? Here are in-depth responses from Drs. Bob Naseef and Cindy Ariel.

Helping Siblings Understand and Cope
What's it like to have a sibling on the autism spectrum? Depending upon circumstances, it can be tough. The Autism Society of America offers these tips for helping your "neurotypical" child handle this complex relationship.

Finding Balance in a Family with Autism
Here are some thoughts and tips for finding balance in a family with autism. With care and love, you can keep yourself and your family strong for the long haul.

Autism Mom - What's It Like to Be an Autism Mom?
Autism moms are an outspoken group. If you're an autism mom, you probably have plenty to share about your experiences - and about the ups and downs of living, day to day, with the challenges and joys of autism. Share your story!

Finding Balance - Your Tips for Finding Balance When One Chil…
When a child is autistic, finding balance for your family can be a challenge. If you've found resources or developed ideas to help you keep a sane and balanced family life while living with autism, please share them here!

Helping Siblings Understand and Cope
What's it like to have a sibling on the autism spectrum? Depending upon circumstances, it can be tough. The Autism Society of America offers these tips for helping your "neurotypical" child handle this complex relationship.

Meet Awesome Autism Dads
What's it like to be an "autism dad?" Here are essays by eight dads, each of whom has his own take on the subject.

Does a Relative's Autism Embarrass You?
It's okay to admit (even to yourself) that autism can be embarrassing. But then it's important to get past your negative feelings to make outings with your autistic relative positive, and even enjoyable.

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