An autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis at any age can feel overwhelming if you don't know where to go to get information. And because of how the disorder is often portrayed in the media, it can be scary. This is a disorder that can be managed and that anyone can live with, but it's also different for everyone, so the right resources are important.

Start with a visit to the Autism Resources site where you'll find numerous links to resources collected by and for families touched by autism, and then read on for more ideas. This is by no means an exhaustive list, so keep searching and find the right resources for you. They're out there, and you will find that you are not alone.

For Adults With ASD

Depending on where you fall on the spectrum, navigating adulthood with autism can be challenging in a variety of ways. These challenges can also be impacted by when you were diagnosed and how much support and therapy you had early in life. But adulthood is challenging for all of us. It's about finding the right resources and managing your individual situation.

Getting a job can be tough with ASD, so try the board at Spectrum Careers for job listings suited for those with the disorder. The government also has programs geared toward vocational rehabilitation for those with severe disorders and disabilities. Autism Now has provided some very helpful material if you are ready to seek housing on your own; the government has many programs to assist people who want a home. The Interactive Autism Network has put together a wealth of resources to help those on the spectrum better connect with their communities.

For Families

When you don't know much about the disorder, an autism spectrum diagnosis in your family can inspire fear and anxiety. Finding great resources can alleviate that anxiety and get you on a path to manageability. This page of advice was collected from families who have experienced ASD themselves. It is honest and uncurated, like going to a support group. It's a great place to start.

Parents of ASD have recommended these sites to help you. Another such list exists here as well. There are places that can provide treatment advice and places that can help you navigate government resources for families living with ASD.

Finally, while there is some debate about the way they advocate, Autism Speaks has a website filled with resources for anyone and everyone who may experience ASD in one way or another. If you have questions or need to get started in a search, you will at least find a stepping off point there.

For Kids With ASD

Being a kid is tough. Being a kid on the autism spectrum can be tougher, but there are resources out there for you too. For example, every day there are apps being developed to help kids with ASD learn new skills and improve upon the ones they already have. Playing to learn is great for all kids.

There are all kinds of learning activities at Autism ... Learn, and computer skills are only part of the package when learning online. Of course, moms and dads are always going to limit screen time for kids, so here is an extensive list of books published for kids with ASD. All kids need get out and play and learn with their whole bodies, so here's a great list of DIY sensory activities for fun and education.

For Educators

Having an autistic child in the classroom can be challenging, particularly if the teacher isn't prepared to understand the needs of the child. You can begin your research at Autism Educators. The NEA has also posted a list of resources for educators. It includes links to many autism organizations, as well as links to teaching methods like the Picture Exchange Communication System, the TEACCH Method, the Lovaas Method, and Sensory Integration. These resources come with support materials and video training. Take a look and see what methods could help you.

For Employers

A worker on the autism spectrum can be an extremely focused and dedicated employee. If an employer can move past the social differences and possible special accommodations, they can benefit from the skills and abilities of a trained professional who just also happens to have ASD.

A great resource for employers is Spectrum Careers. This is a site where employers can connect with individuals on the autism spectrum who are seeking jobs. If you've hired someone with ASD, take a look at this resource from the ADA describing reasonable accommodation, or this series from JAN. There are also government incentives like the Work Opportunity Tax Credit that can help employers who hire people with recognized disabilities. You can find other resources from ASTEP and Autism Speaks. There is no reason to avoid hiring someone on the autism spectrum.

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