It is estimated that an average of 1 in 110 children in the United States have an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The challenge for many people is to get their questions answered:

1) What exactly is Autism?
2) How do you treat Autism?
3) What are the symptoms of Autism?
4) What resources are available to families to help them?
5) How can we cope with Autism and the overwhelming stress on families.

But where should you go for help? Everybody has their own ideas about the "best place" to go for information and assistance.

Over the course of my life, I've found that there is no "best place to go" to learn about anything.
There are literally dozens of places to go and people to talk to when it comes to getting assistance for anything in life, including Autism.

It's up to you to decide the best route to take in order to get the help and answers you desire. To start you on this path, I've created this list of 26 resources to help you learn about Autism.

I have divided the resources into five different areas to get you thinking, and in some cases I have provided very specific examples.

As a general rule, the people in this group are more likely to give you personal attention, and they are more likely to sincerely care about your needs. There are two things to look out for. These people are not necessarily experts in on Autism, and they might have their own agenda, but they are generally easily accessible and can be great resources to help you get started.

1. Your friends
2. Your family
3. Co-workers
4. Your employer (boss or manager)

There is an unbelievable wealth of information out there about Autism. On the Internet alone, there are over 17 million web pages containing the term Autism. On, there are over 5,600 books with references Autism. Almost all of the information you are looking for can be found here, but it could take hundreds of lifetimes to find the right information for you. Which of these resources do you currently use to help?

5. Internet websites
6. Books (library, bookstore)
7. Seminars, retreats
8. High school, college or continuing education courses
9. Audio programs
10. Television and video programs
11. Radio
12. Other media, magazines, movies, music

A trained professional can help you understand and cope with Autism. Many have worked with people in your exact circumstances and helped them find the answers they were looking for. As a general rule, professionals can provide you with more objectivity than you would get from a friend or a family member.

One of the challenges of working with trained professionals is finding the right one for you. It is important to find the right type of trained professional (i.e. therapist or personal coach) and then the best person based on your background, needs and personality. A trained professional, such as a priest or a rabbi, or even a spiritualist, can help you find comfort when your search for Autism answers leads you down a difficult path. Trained professionals can also be very expensive to work with and in some instances have a stigma attached to them. In many cases, the benefits of working with a trained professional far outweigh the costs and the risk, but this is something that you need to evaluate.

13. Therapists (professional counselors, psychologists)
14. Personal coaches, life coaches
15. Clergy (i.e. priest, minister, rabbi)
16. Librarians
17. Doctors and other health care professionals
18. Psychics, spiritualist, yogis

I am using the term "organizations" in a very broad sense. These can include non-profit and for-profit organizations and both professional and social organizations. The biggest benefit that many of these organizations provide is the ability to work with, network with, and share experiences with people in the same boat, on the same mission, or with the same problem. These organizations frequently have "trained professionals," frequently have people who are our friends and family and use "known information resources" to help you learn more about Autism. These types of organizations are not for everybody, and the benefits that you get back are tied directly into what you are contributing. The wrong group could be a waste of time, but the right group could change your life forever.

19. Non-profit support groups (i.e. National Autism Association)
20. Social and professional organizations (i.e. Autism Social Connection, Autism Society of America)
21. Personal support network (ie. The Autspot, Autism Support Network)

The above areas covered countless resources to enable you to have your Autism questions answered. I have included a few other areas that others have found helpful in the past. As you can see, there is a tremendous amount of overlap between the different resources.

22. Free government resources (hotlines, brochures, help centers; ie. National Institutes of Health)
23. Inner guidance (asking and giving yourself help)
24. Pets for other wisdom (great listeners)
25. Mentors
26. God

On your quest for Autism knowledge and understanding, I am sure you have used at least one of the above resources to find the answers you have been searching for. Which other ones should you be using? Your goal is to find the best resources to help you reconcile your own personal struggle with Autism.

Author's Bio: 

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