If I Could Do Anything…


Imagine for a moment that we live in a world where anything is possible. Money is no object, there are no stupid politics to get in the way, and logistics are never an issue.

If I could do anything…

… all children with autism would receive autism intervention therapy, be it IBI, Floortime, or any other methodology.

… all children with autism would have IEP’s that truly address their goals, and teachers who actively help the child work towards those goals.

all siblings of children with autism would have access to programs and activities just for them, so that they could have fun with other kids who understand what it’s like.

… all autism families would get to go on vacations to autism-friendly places, where the parents could get an occasional break.

… children and teens with autism would never be bullied.

… every kid with autism would have easy access to sensory equipment, like swings and weighted blankets.

… every kid with autism would have a dog.

… big box stores like Wal-Mart would have “quiet” shopping areas, where the fluorescent lighting is less harsh, there are fewer people and the checkout areas aren’t so intimidating.

… ditto for airports, which would also provide special boarding for autism families.

… all autism parents would have the financial means to attend conferences and parent training and information sessions.

… autism parents would stop bickering over the causes of autism and judging each others’ vaccination and nutritional choices.

… the general public would have easy access to information about autism that is realistic and devoid of sensationalism.

… people with autism wouldn’t wander off and later be found dead – everyone would be safe, always.

… people with autism would have the same opportunities as anyone else to reach their full potential, whatever that might be.

… autism parents would be able to grow old without constantly worrying about the future, because they would know that their kids would be taken care of.

… no-one would believe that ridiculous myth that people with autism are incapable of emotion – everyone would be hugged by someone with autism at least once in their lifetime, and they would cry from the absolute beauty of it.


5 Websites That Every Autism Parent Should Bookmark


If you are the parent of a child who has recently been diagnosed with autism, you’re probably floundering a little bit. You are going through a major reality shift, and you are wondering, What next? My biggest piece of advice for parents in this situation is to avoid the temptation to Google “autism”. That is a sure recipe for information overload, which can compound any feelings of helplessness and anxiety that you may already be experiencing.

Give yourself at least a couple of weeks of breathing space (or longer – my doctor imposed a Google ban of 30 days, which I am absolutely convinced helped me enormously). When it is time for you to start looking up stuff, start with the following information. It will not only help you now, it will stand you in good stead throughout your autism parenting journey.

1.  Wright’s Law is aimed at parents in the United States who have special needs kids in the special education system. Although a lot of the information is specific to American laws, a great deal of it applies elsewhere. This site will give you some very good information and resources about your child’s rights, and your rights as a parent.

2. If your child is in the Toronto District School Board, this is the site you want. If not, look up the website of whatever school board your child is being, or will be educated in. Once you have found the site, navigate to the Contacts page and bookmark that. It is likely to contain the phone number of at least one individual whose job it is to deal with special education matters.

3. This is the Health Canada resource site for autism. Most governments have sites like this, and they include fact sheets, and information that is specific to where you live, like funding and services that are available.

4. The Geneva Centre for Autism provides some good information about what autism is and what it means to families who are affected. You can use this not only for yourself, but to pass on to friends and family members who you feel could benefit from the information.

5. If you’re in Ontario, you need this site. If you’re elsewhere, look up the site that contains information about special education laws and processes in your jurisdiction. This will tell you what you and your child are entitled to and how to navigate the maze of educators and policy-makers, what forms to fill in, what you can request, and much more.

As a bonus, here are a few posts I have written in the past that may be of help to families affected by autism.

1.  Tips for parents whose kids have just been diagnosed.

2. Some possible early signs of autism (emphasis on “possible” – typical kids may experience some of these as well).

3. A fantastic guest post by autism parent and educator Jennifer Krumins, on how to approach life as an autism parent.

4. Tips for parents who feel a little lost when it’s time to draft an Individual Education Plan.

5. How to keep your neurotypical children safe and reassured when their sibling is having an autism meltdown.

 (Photo credit: Sonia Belviso. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.)