Thursday, June 2, 2011

You've got a friend in me

I saw something yesterday that made me stop what I was doing. What in the world did I see? I saw the following words: “mom of child with autism – no friends.”
Where did I see these words? They were from a Google search that someone had done in order to find my blog. You see, Blogger (Google’s blogging platform) keeps certain statistics and I like to check to see how people find me here at Caffeinated Autism Mom.
I have no idea if the person who did that search and clicked on my blog stayed here to check things out (and if they did, whether or not they found anything helpful), or if they immediately left the blog, or even if they are back here reading this today.
If this person happens by some chance to be back here again today reading this very entry, Dear Reader, this is for you. You have friends. You may not have found them yet, but you have me.
Being a parent to a child with autism can be very isolating. I know this from personal experience. You feel like you can’t go out in public without stress. You worry about every possible trigger for a meltdown and how you can get through the whole day without your kid freaking out over something. You no longer feel like you have anything in common with anyone from your life before diagnosis. Your family doesn’t understand. Your friends don’t understand. You feel all of these things and much, much more. Believe me, I get it.
It doesn’t have to stay this way. Things can be better. The key is finding those moms who are just like you in your own town. You need to connect. The best ways I know how are local support groups and Facebook.
I was in such need of support a few years ago that I started my own group. But, I imagine there is probably already a great support group in your area that you just haven't found yet.
There are many ways to find these groups! Try the following: Google searches, Yahoo Groups, Meetup, etc. Also, call any number of local resources like: therapists, clinics, special education personnel at your school/school district, departments/agencies related to developmental disabilities in your town/county/state, etc. You can even look up national organizations like TACANational Autism Association or the Autism Society to see if there are any local chapters near you. And, don’t forget to look on Facebook for groups related to autism.
Dear Reader, there’s more support available with each passing day. We are out there. We live near you. We are just like you. You have friends. You just have to meet them.     
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