Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or autism, is group of neurological and developmental disorders. Autism affects communication, social functioning, learning, and behavior.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism affects 1 in 44 children in the United States. Usually, the symptoms appear before 2 years old, but it can be diagnosed at any age.

Autism’s effects can be managed with customized support and care.

There are many resources available to people with autism. Some resources are also designed for parents and families of children with autism.

Every state has its own autism resources and benefits. The federal government also offers resources, which are available to everyone, regardless of where you live.

Read on for some of the best resources for autism. This list is not exhaustive, but it can help you find the guidance you need to navigate the disorder.

Autism management requires continuous access to various healthcare professionals. Several state and federal resources can help provide this care.

State resources for healthcare

Each state has its own health agency or disability council. These organizations often have programs that provide support for children and adults with disabilities, including autism.

Your county health agency might also offer autism benefits.

Generally, these programs can assist with:

  • autism screening
  • diagnosis
  • early intervention services
  • obtaining financial aid for healthcare

To find the health agencies in your state, visit the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee website. The page lists agencies and councils for every state.

Federal resources for healthcare

Several nationwide resources are also available for accessing healthcare.

Medicaid: Medicaid provides medical care for people with limited income. It’s a federal program, though each state manages its own Medicaid services. Visit the Medicaid website to find your state’s Medicaid office.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): CHIP is operated by the Department of Health and Human Services. It’s a federal program that offers health coverage to children in families that don’t qualify for Medicaid. CHIP is available in every state.

If you have a baby or toddler with autism, it can be difficult to know where to start. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources designed to help parents navigate a new autism diagnosis. These tools, guides, and kits can empower you to provide the best support and care for your child.

CDC’s Milestone Tracker App: Monitoring your child’s milestones can help you notice and diagnose developmental delays early.

Autism Speaks M-CHAT-R Autism Test: The “Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised” is an online screening tool.

Autism Navigator for Families of Children with or at Risk for Autism: A collection of courses and communities for families of babies and toddlers with autism.

Autism Society Next Steps: A Guide for Families New to Autism: This is a comprehensive guide for families with a child who has been recently diagnosed with autism.

Center for Autism & Related Disorder Media Library: This library includes videos, audio files, and documents to help you learn about autism.

Center for Parent Information & Resources Parent Centers: Parent centers provide support for families of children with disabilities.

Organization for Autism Research A Guide to Safety: A guide for parents on how to prevent and address emergencies and other safety issues in childhood.

Autism Society Moving from Preschool to Kindergarten: A guide for helping young children on the spectrum transition into kindergarten.

American Psychiatric Association Autism Spectrum Disorder Parents’ Medication Guide: A comprehensive guide that explains medication options for autism.

The teenage years are filled with many social and educational changes. Teens with autism may experience additional challenges as they navigate neurotypical norms. If you’re a parent, the following resources can help you provide support and ensure they feel accepted.

Autism Society Puberty and Children on the Autism Children: A comprehensive guide for parents who have children who are on the spectrum and experiencing puberty.

Center for Autism & Related Disorders Teen Services: This organization offers teen programs at their centers, which are currently located across 24 states.

University of Washington Tips for Talking to Your Child About Their Autism Diagnosis: This page includes tips on talking to children about their autism diagnosis in a positive way.

PennState Educational Equity Preparing for a Post-Secondary Education: Information on how to prepare for post-secondary education.

Autism Society Preparing to Experience College Living: This guide is geared toward parents of young adults who have autism and are planning to go to college.

The Autism Community in Action Resources for Teens & Adults: Information for parents about safety, puberty, inclusion, and preparing for college.

The following resources are geared toward kids on the spectrum in early and middle childhood. These tools can help children learn about their feelings and practice communication in a fun and engaging way.

National Autism Resources Toys & Gifts: Toys designed to help young children on the spectrum build developmental skills.

Autism Speaks Virtual Activities: A diverse collection of virtual games, music, videos, and activities kids with autism.

Do2Learn: A collection of interactive online activities, including songs, picture cards, and games.

Visual Schedules and Social Stories: A visual support app that helps children on the spectrum communicate at home and school. It’s available for both Apple and Android.

Speech Blubs: This speech therapy app offers more than 1,500 educational activities that help children improve their communication skills.

Whether you’ve been recently diagnosed or years into living with autism, these organizations and tools can help you navigate adulthood.

Autism Speaks Tools for Adults: This page is geared toward adults on the spectrum who are age 22 and older. It includes blog posts and toolkits covering a range of topics, including financial planning and employment.

Autism Self Advocacy Network: This organization provide advocacy tools and educational resources for people with autism.

Hire Autism: An online tool that helps adults with autism find jobs.

Organization for Autism Research Life Journey Through Autism: A Guide for Transition to Adulthood: A comprehensive guidebook with activities, tips, and information about entering adulthood.

Mental Health Services Locator: This online tool from the National Mental Health Information Center helps families find mental health services by region.

Support groups offer safe environments for people with autism to connect with each other. This can provide opportunities to foster mental health and build social skills.

Online support groups are convenient, as you don’t need to leave home to attend meetings. But if you’d like to find in-person support groups, your state health departments or disability agencies may have local options.

Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network: A community for women, girls, and nonbinary people with autism.

Asperger/Autism Network Support Groups: Online support groups and community sessions for adults and teens.

Grupo Salto: A support group for Latin families with children who have disabilities, including autism.

The Color of Autism Foundation: An organization dedicated to providing support for African American families with children on the spectrum.

The following resources can help you learn about autism and how to support others on the spectrum.

Organization for Autism Research: This organization is devoted to raising money for autism research and creating resources.

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Bibliotherapy Resources: A list of informational books and memoirs.

Autism Research Institute: An organization devoted to autism research and education.

Autistic Self Advocacy Network Welcome to the Autistic Community: A book written for people who are just learning about their autism diagnosis.

International Society for Autism Research: A scientific organization dedicated to researching autism.

My Autism Team: A social network for parents of children on the spectrum.

Simons Foundation Powering Autism for Knowledge: An autism research project that offers webinars, articles, and more.

Spectrum Suite: A list of Facebook groups for people with autism.

The federal government offers benefits for people with disabilities, including autism.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI): This is a federal program administered by the Social Security Association. It provides financial assistance for care for children and adults who meet certain qualifications.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): SSDI is another federal program from the Social Security Association. It provides benefits to people who have worked in the past.

Autism is a complex disorder. The symptoms also vary widely from one person to the next. As a result, it’s important to create an intervention plan or management plan that provides customized support and care.

Luckily, there are many autism resources available. Examples include informational guides, online communities, and access to medical care. With the help of these resources, people on the spectrum can live happy and fulfilling lives.