The news is all a buzz with the needs of families with Autism, the treatments that work or don't work, the quacks and celebrities that offer their opinions based on anecdotal evidence and fudged research, and the tools that are available for autistic children. All these articles do is outline the scope of the problem, blow it a little out of proportion, and even mislead us into thinking what solutions there are. Ultimately, we come to the same conclusion: we as families working with Autism don't have the resources to be effective.
What do I mean? I mean that though there are sources for autistic treatment that has proven to work time and time again, those sources are expensive and/or unavailable. Don't get me wrong, the services that most public and private entities are generally top notch, and work well with our children when they have them. But they can't work with our autistic children 24/7, and as such they just can't be as effective as they could become.
Also, most parents who have recently had their child diagnosed with autism immediately seem to want to find "the cure", the one thing that will make their child become "normal", and as such not need special attention. They expect their child to learn from imitation as they did, instead of through direct instruction. It's frustrating for anyone to try to teach people in a method that is different than there own, which is why working with autistic children in a learning environment can be very taxing.
So what is the solution? We have the resources in raw form, but the supply and demand process is not working, because the resources are too expensive for many families and Autism is becoming more prevalent. We need something that will provide both more resources and help parents and care-givers understand what needs to be done.
The answer: provide educational resources for parents and care-givers of autistic children. These resources can be in the form of specific exercises to take their children trough, computer programs that can engage the child while still teach them useful tools, and a support center that can answer questions and make sure the family is continuing on the right track.
The best way I can see to distribute this out would be to provide online courses for parents to participate in, engaging parents, caregivers, and children in such a way that they understand what they are doing, and why. This method should be attainable, assuming the learning methods are soundly rooted in combined auditory and visual methods.
It's a lot to ask, but I think it can be done. There are a lot of tools that are out there already, floating around and separate. By focusing our efforts and combining these tools into a single course method, I think it's possible to provide parents with the help they need.
Unfortunately, I don't think I'm qualified to provide the materials personally, as I don't have the necessary qualifications for autism counseling (yet), but it would be nice if our government took this under their wing and helped parents to help themselves. It would be a heck of a lot cheaper than the alternative that continuously gets thrown around.