8 answers

Seeking a Support Group for Parents and Siblings of Autistic Children

Hi moms!! My son is 30 months old and has been diagosed with mild Autism. We are looking for a support group for not only myself but my daughter as well, she is 4 years old and is having difficulty with dealing with my son's needs. We have therapists come into our home 3 times a week and that will change shortly and become 12 times a week. She understands that they are here to help him but I think she is jealous and thinks that the therapists are here to play with my son. I try to give each of them their own "mommy time" with me, but that doesn't usually work. I work full time and their father isn't much of a help. All he thinks is that my son won't be able to play sports and he tells my daughter " I demand perfection from you!", but that in itself is a completely different issue. I guess what I am looking for is a support group or a play group for Austistic children and siblings, a moms support group, a group that my boyfriend can talk with other dads of special needs children so he can realize that this daignosis isn't the end for my son.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Illinois Masonic offers a sibling support group for sibs of children with disabiliites. I would highly recommend that. Also, the chicago southside autism group is the biggest in the area. Go to yahoo groups to search for their group. You can join their listserve.

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Please contact Tuesdays Child, 4028 W. Irving Park Road, Chicago, ###-###-####

You may want to try to contact the people at Good Shepherd Center for Exceptional Children. They have a school that autistic kids attend. Their number is ###-###-####.

By the way, depending on where you live, Good Shepherd also offers a Respite Program. It's 180 hours/year of free childcare for your autistic child plus any siblings. The childcare people are background screened and are experts at caring for special needs children. They come to your home to let you have rest and get things done.

Don't forget to be good to yourself. Caring for an austic child is extremely demanding.

Illinois Masonic offers a sibling support group for sibs of children with disabiliites. I would highly recommend that. Also, the chicago southside autism group is the biggest in the area. Go to yahoo groups to search for their group. You can join their listserve.

Hi J.,
I am a mother of a 7yr old Autistic son. His brother is 5. I completely know what you bare saying about the demand on your time etc. A couple months ago my 5 year old started attending the SIBSHOP at IMMC Pediatric Development Center. I think it has helped A LOT! It's fairly easy to get into I think... call ###-###-#### and ask for info on the Sibshops. Good Luck!

Oh, man, do I feel for you! My daughter was diagnosed with provisional autism right before her third b-day. Unlike you, I am unable to hold down full time work and get her the help/one on one attention she needs (seriously, my contract got terminated because of repeated tardiness - which'll happen when you try to cram 10 lbs. of sausage in a 5 lb. bag) so hats off to you.

I'd suggest talking to your EI therapists and seeing if they have any referrals for support groups. I know that Illinois Masonic's pediatric dev center has some resources for sibs. Speaking firsthand as the sister of a special-needs child, it's a tough road to hoe. You'll probably also get a lot of suggestions from moms and/or special ed teachers on this board. Good luck and keep the faith.

My brother and sister-in-law have a 12 year old son with Aspergers. They have gone through an organization called MAAP Services. Their website had a list of places for support in Illinois, maybe you would be able to find a playgroup through this site. Best of luck. http://www.maapservices.org/areaSupport.asp?sltState=IL

Hi J.,
I'm a speech therapist and mother of a 19 month old boy. I work with kids with Autism in a middle school, and am a Early Intervention therapist. First and foremost - as a mother myself I know how hard it is with a typically developing child so Kudos to you and all your hard work! As a therapist I've seen how much more exhausting it can be with a child with special needs. For what it's worth - please believe me that there will be great strides in your children's lives. Although there are plateaus and times where you feel there are not any changes - know that there will be! Seeing kids as infants/toddlers and then in 6th-8th grade, I get the pleasure of seeing and experiencing moments with parents throughout the ages and saying, "I never thought we'd get this far" - or "You should have seen him when he was little - he's a totally different child!" It's hard to think that far ahead - but please keep the faith and know that it will happen! As for resources, here are some websites that you can check out and find a local group (I'm not sure where you live). I'm sure your situation, although unique and worth individual attention, is similar to other moms out there (re: spouse denial, working, dealing with therapists, wondering how to work with your daughter, and most importantly finding some time for yourself). You can also ask the therapists that do come to the home to incorporate you daughter in the last 10-15 min. of therapy. As a family focus therapist I feel that it's the family that makes the changes - we're just the facilitator and teachers on ways you can work with your son. Never forget that you are the expert of your children - we're the expert in the field but you know what fits your family the best. So, if it's 10-15 min. less for your son but your daughter is involved - she then becomes the therapist after they leave and everyone benefits! I hope this litte note helps in some small way. Keep the faith - change is inevitable (even if it's in baby steps). J.


You might consider checking out our support group for all moms. Our goal is to learn how to feel less stress & more joy! Our next meeting is Thursday March 6, 2008 at 7pm at Heathers Cafe Couture 4352 N. Cicero ###-###-####. Heather is generously donating the space for the cost of whatever beverages we might drink. We meet the first Thursday of the month.(A couple of us have children with learning disabilities.)

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