In the largest study of its kind, researchers at Florida State University found that toddlers with autism benefit greatly when their parents receive expert training that emphasizes social communication skills. The extra good news: If you’re the parent of an autistic child, there are plenty of resources to help you learn effective strategies. A few to check out:
Consultants from the PLAY Project can visit your home, coach you, and model various techniques suited for interacting with children ages 18 months to 6 years. They also offer online and in-person workshops. Find one near you at Playproject.org.
Gain a community
Easter Seals (Easterseals.com) and Autism Speaks (Autismspeaks.org) have affiliates that can point you in the right direction for nearby parent-training help. Each site allows you to search by location.
Web-based training programs such as Michigan State University’s free, 3-month ImPACT Online Communication Training program offer moms and dads videos, manuals, and homework assignments about communication. UCDavis Mind Institute’s Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities also offers two online courses.
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