Article first published as Parental Training for Autism on Technorati.
The state of Autism support is daunting. More children are being diagnosed with Autism then ever before, schools are running low on funds and are unable to provide necessary services. Parents are running low on funds to provide services for their children personally. Insurance companies are reluctant to pay for services at the risk of raising premiums for their customers. The government is already running in the red in most States and at the Federal level. The financial situation is daunting when it comes to paying for specialists and therapists to work with children on the Spectrum.
But there is one group of people who are wiling to do the job for free, if they could only find out how: parents and caregivers. They consult with websites, books, and their children's therapists and teachers. They do their research in trying to understand what they need to do. But we as parents are, quite frankly, not prepared. It's not because we don't care, it's because we just don't know. We need training, we need consultation, and we need help.
Luckily, at least in the Granite School District, the school system has had the insight to set up a parental training class on how to help their children with Autism. They have specialists come and talk to each parent about each part of Autism. Last night was the first night my wife and I attended, and we loved it. From what we learned, we are better able to understand the behaviors of both our children, and therefore better understand what they are trying to communicate.
It was also a good opportunity to get to know other parents who have children on the Spectrum. We can talk about shared experiences, goals, and get ideas from each other. It's a social relationship that we can't get any other way, as few others seem to understand our experiences. They don't understand that when your child is yelling "No!" at you and trying to get you to say what they want, even if they are wrong, it's progress.
This type of program is definitely something we need to continue for our schools. In the end, with the help of a few specialists, they are training a legion of special needs aides that will all work for free. That, in my mind, makes for a sustainable way forward in teaching children with Autism.