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Autism On Rise in Black Community: 10 Tips for Parents Dealing with Autism

The Center for Disease Control released staggering statistics on autism last week that has parents around the country concerned: one in 88 children now have autism, up 78 percent since the study was conducted five years ago. The cause of the rapid spike is unknown — although an increasing awareness amongst doctors and better screening processes may account for the more substantial increases in the Hispanic and African American communities.

Autism Today leaders Karen Simmons and Lee Grossman offer up the following advice for parents dealing with autism for the first time.

1. Start Local. Find the strongest local support and system you possibly can. Reach out to nearby cities as needed.

2. Qualify Your Doctor. Locate a medical doctor who specializes in autism and has experience treating autism. A referral from another parent or a reputable autism organization works best.

3. Reach Out for Help. Discover and make use of specific government agencies and public services that support the cause, especially in the early intervention arena.

4. Look Into Special Services. Check into related health services such as speech and language, recreational therapy, occupational therapy, physical and behavioral therapy and so forth.

5. Use the Internet. Go to reliable website sources to educate yourselves on programs, services, interventions, therapies and supports.

6. Take Frequent Breaks. Find a quiet space for yourself as a caregiver and use it. You will need it.

7. Educate Your Family. Educate relatives, friends, neighbors and your child’s siblings and peers about what autism is and what you and your family are going through. They will be able to accept him or her, and understand the challenges more easily.

8. Get Involved. Attend conferences for educational information and the fellowship opportunities by meeting with other family members, individuals with autism and other professionals in the field. You may find lifelong alliances there!

9. Get Up to Speed. Stay current with the latest medical, biomedical, behavioral and education services so you can pick and choose what is right for your child and your family.

10. Plan for the Future. Currently, autism is a lifelong disorder. With proper interventions, it improves over time — and with the best mindset from the parents, caregivers and people that support the child, they can be guided towards a happy and fulfilling life.

Autism Today offers extensive information to parents and the autism community. For more information, visit www.autismtoday.com

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