Parenting is hard work, and parenting a child with autism can present unique struggles. The symptoms of ASD can vary widely. Some children with autism are high-functioning, while others struggle to recognize social cues, regulate and understand emotions, and learn or develop at a similar pace as their peers. About one in 68 children is on the spectrum. But despite the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), children with the disorder and their parents can still face stigma.
Fortunately, there’s a growing community of support online. With blogs and online resources like these, parents of children with autism and even adults living with ASD can find support and comfort knowing they’re not alone.
Four Plus an Angel
Jessica has an autistic teenager, named Ashlyn, plus three more younger children. Needless to say, her hands are quite full! And her blog reflects that. Because there are 12 years between Ashlyn and her next-in-line siblings, Jessica spent over a decade raising an only child with autism. That gives her plenty of unique insight. Add the fact that she worked at an autism center before she started blogging, and you’ve got someone who knows a thing or two about the struggles and triumphs of this disorder. We appreciate the honesty and positivity that characterizes her corner of the web. Visit the blog or tweet her @JessBWatson.
Frank Campagna is Autism Daddy, father of “the king,” a nickname he’s affectionately given his 12-year-old, nonverbal, autistic son. On his blog, Frank pulls no punches — he admits that his posts are 75 percent rants and 25 percent inspirational and feel-good stories. And that is something any parent can relate to. Frank recently wrote about Sesame Street’s latest character addition, Julia, who has autism. Frank had no small role in Julia’s development, either — he works at Sesame Street! Visit the blog or his Facebook page.
Stimey is a mom of three, as well as a runner, writer, and person living with autism herself. Her diagnosis certainly doesn’t define her, but her experiences as an autistic mom raising an autistic child provides readers with a unique perspective when it comes to autism families. Stimeyland has been running since 2007 and has covered all sorts of parenting challenges and decisions. In one of the blog’s most recent posts, Stimey discusses her daughter Sam’s coming out to the world as transgender. Visit the blog or tweet her @Stimey.
All three of Rob Gorski’s sons are on the autism spectrum. Ranging in age from 7 to 16 years, Rob’s sons face a number of challenges, as do their parents. Though he was already writing about his family’s journey at his Lost and Tired blog, he launched The Autism Dad in 2015 to provide autism families with a more positive example of “what life can be like for families with a special needs child.” We appreciate his new blog’s transparency — no rose-colored glasses here! From day-to-day struggles getting the boys to school, to tech issues with the blog itself, his posts are a direct reflection of his daily life. Visit the blog or his Facebook page.
The Mighty’s Autism Spectrum Disorder Blog
The Mighty has writers covering all aspects of disability, disease, and mental illness. Their section on autism is populated by posts from several contributors, each with a unique voice and insightful stories. For example, one of those contributors is Michelle Myers, who recently wrote about how she came to understand why her son tends to have meltdowns at home rather than at school. She illustrates how this outwardly-calm student navigates a school day with anxiety and trouble bubbling beneath the surface, and only when he’s home, comfortable, and around people who love him, can he reveal all of the stress and pressure of the day. Visit the blog or tweet them @TheMightySite.
Because support for parents with kids who have autism isn’t always as robust as it should be, Elizabeth learned how to parent a boy with autism the way many others do — through experience. And because each person with autism is unique, we need blogs like hers to remind us that the autism community’s reaction to new developments isn’t always uniform. This is well demonstrated in a recent post, in which Elizabeth shared her son’s reaction to Julia, the new Sesame Street character with autism. Watching her gave him anxiety, but he later reflected on why he may have gotten worked up: “She reminded me of how different and weird I am.” Visit the blog or tweet her @EWBAutismMom.
Just a Lil Blog
This “lil’ blog” is from Jim Walter, a single dad raising his two daughters, including 11-year-old Lily, who has autism. Not only are Jim’s accounts honest and easy to read, but they’re funny, too! Jim always manages to find the humor in the situations he finds himself in as an autism dad, even when his posts document difficult times. Visit the blog or visit his Facebook page.
Shannon Rosa, who used to blog as Squid Rosenberg, is the woman behind the long-time web presence Squidalicious. Shannon’s teenage son, Leo, is autistic, and most of her posts are about his experiences. Whether she’s writing about spotting misinformation about autism or her family’s response to the current political climate, Shannon is a funny and positive voice in the autism community. Her posts always get straight to the point. Visit the blog or tweet her @shannonrosa.
Seattle Children’s Autism Blog
This is the blog of the Seattle Children’s Autism Center, part of the city’s major hospital. The blog provides information to help parents and caregivers of autistic children. You’ll find how-to posts, inspirational stories, and guidance to help keep your sanity when the difficult journey begins to get the best of you. The blog also regularly features The Autism Blogcast, where two autism experts discuss various topics of interest. Visit the blog.
Autism Speaks’ Blog
Autism Speaks was founded in 2005 by Bob and Suzanne Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. It has since been a major force in autism advocacy efforts. Their blog covers a wide array of topics helpful to people with autism as well as their loved ones and families. For example, they discuss whether it’s useful to pursue an autism diagnosis as an adult and how to make sure your child is getting the social skills they need. Visit the blog or tweet them @autismspeaks.
Autism – Day by Day
Donna Ross-Jones was encouraged to start blogging by one of her friends. She felt that Donna’s journey as a single mom to a son with autism, Nicky — plus a teenage daughter — was one others could learn from. And she was right! Now, Donna posts regularly about her experiences and has an active following. She shares personal stories and practical tips, like a daily grooming checklist that Nicky uses. Visit the blog.
The Autism Helper
Created by special education teacher and behavior analyst Sasha Long, The Autism Helper is exactly what its name implies: a website that aims to help and empower people with autism. The regular blog posts are a mix of resources, such as educational tools and printables, and educational posts for parents to help them understand why their child might do the things they do. Recently, the blog featured a series of posts on different behaviors and how parents can work with or around them. The series included information on escape behaviors, attention behaviors, sensory behaviors, and others. Visit the blog or tweet her @theautismhelper.
Rhema is a 12-year-old girl who lives with autism and a seizure disorder. Her mother created this blog to document her journey and that of her family, which includes a dad and younger daughter, Hope. Rhema, whose name means “the spoken word,” was nonverbal for the first several years of her life. She’s able to speak now, and you can find video of some of Rhema’s first words on the blog. Recently, her mother blogged about Rhema’s regular weekend playdate with her friend Syd. She documented a conversation between the two girls, a heartwarming story made more touching knowing what a struggle speech has been for Rhema. Visit the blog.
Look Me in the Eye
John Elder Robison is an author living with Asperger’s. He’s written several books on the topic, including one by the same name as this blog, “Look Me in the Eye.” John grew up in the 1960s, long before the world knew what Asperger’s was. All John knew was that he was different, but there was no obvious explanation. John dropped out of high school due to his struggles, but was soon designing sound equipment for the legendary band Pink Floyd. This blog isn’t only a personal journal, like many blogs are, but also an educational and literary one. Visit the blog or tweet him @johnrobison.