Free Resources for Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Parenting a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can bring added stress. Our intent with this blog is to make life a little easier by guiding you to free autism resources and information on common day-to-day challenges. The BEST intervention is designed by a trained therapist, with the family, so that strategies are tailored to the unique needs of the child and family. However, if you don’t yet have a therapist or want to learn more about a particular issue, then explore the free resources described below. Although there is no financial investment in a free resource, it is important to trust the information you receive for your child. The free resources in this blog were curated and selected from credible sources including well-established autism advocacy groups and professionals with expertise in autism treatment.

Three topics are covered:

  • Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy – what it is and how to find qualified ABA services
  • Potty Training a Child with Autism
  • How to Prevent and Manage Tantrums in Children with Autism

Free Resources

Topic: Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy – what it is and how to find qualified ABA services

ABA is an autism service considered to be an evidence-based “best” practice for treatment of autism spectrum disorder. This means it is proven to yield better results compared to other therapies. The information will inform your decision regarding treatment choice, regardless of whether you’re just getting started or even if your child’s treatment program is under-way.

Source: Autism Speaks Inc.

Autism Speaks is an autism advocacy organization dedicated to research on the cause and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. The mission of the organization encompasses people with autism across the spectrum and across all ages. The organization produces free resources on many relevant issues, all available on the website.

Resource: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA):

For parents seeking to learn about ABA, this is a good place to start. It provides an overview of the key elements of ABA in outline form. References and links to more detailed information are included.

Resource: ATN/AIR-P Parent’s Guide to Applied Behavior Analysis:

A tool kit that provides comprehensive information about ABA, how your child can benefit, and where/how you can find ABA services. Learn what ABA is and what ABA therapy looks like, including examples of strategies to individualize a treatment program. This is published by a program of Autism Speaks, Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (ATN) and the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P).

Resource: Autism Speaks Resource Guide:

One of 50 FREE tool kits, the Resource Guide includes a comprehensive directory, by geographic area, of therapy providers for people with autism, including ABA therapists.

Source: Propel Autism:

Propel Autism is a private ABA service provider that delivers cutting-edge treatment for children with ASD. Led by Board-Certified-Behavior-Analysts (BCBA), Propel’s therapy team is dedicated to treating the whole child which means working closely with the child’s healthcare practitioners, educators and of course, the family. Propel Autism publishes blogs on topics of special interest to families.

Resource: How to Find a Good ABA Therapist for a Child with Autism:

Learn what comprises a quality ABA therapy team: Who directs the team? What is a Board-Certified Behavior-Analyst (BCBA)? Who implements the treatment plan? How to assess if a therapy team is qualified and experienced. Also included are key elements of a high quality ABA therapy provider and interview questions to use with prospective ABA service providers and BCBA therapists.

Topic: Potty Training a Child with Autism

Toilet training is an important milestone that enhances quality of life for a child and parents. Achieving this milestone can be challenging for a child with autism due to associated disabilities such as impaired motor skills, increased sensitivity to external stimuli, delayed language development, and difficulty managing emotions. These free resources may help you achieve success with this important goal.

Source: Autism Parenting Magazine:
Autism Parenting Magazine is an award-winning publication for parents and families effected by autism. Articles cover a wide range of issues relevant to all age ranges. Contributors include respected professionals, autism experts, parents of children on the spectrum and adults with autism.

Resource: Potty Training for Autism – The Ultimate Guide
Potty training is presented in three phases: planning, set up, and implementation. The guide is easy to follow and concludes with a section on how to manage common challenges such as a child’s fear of the toilet. To access the guide, first subscribe to the magazine’s email list and then request a download.

Source: Autism Little Learners:
This website features the work of a speech/language pathologist who specializes in treating young children with autism. Her activities, resources and trainings are dedicated to children with ASD and developed for use by parents and educators. Some of the content on the website is free (as selected below) and other content is available at a cost.

Resource: Free Mini Training: Autism Toilet Training: Tips for Success Facebook video:
A great introduction to potty training if you’re just getting started. It’s approximately 30 minutes long.

Resource: Visual Support Starter Kit:
Using visual aids with autistic children is an evidence-based practice; visuals provide structure, consistency, and predictability. The kit includes templates and clip art to develop a customized visual schedule and sequence chart. There’s also a star chart, a First/Then chart, an “All Done” graphic and more. Subscribe to Ms. Tuchel’s email list (at no charge) and receive access to a free download of the visual starter kit. Also available is a Toilet Training Tracker to collect “data” on when your child sits and uses the toilet.

Resource: Toileting Sequence: Visual Supports:
A printable potty-training chart shows the toileting sequence– one sequence for girls and one for boys. Print and display in your bathroom when potty training begins.

Source: ABA Visualized:
Developed by a BCBA, Morgan van Diepen, and Boudewijn van Diepen, an infographic designer, this website offers uniquely designed, easy to use content on ABA for children on the autism spectrum. The content includes workshops, curriculum, books and tools for ABA therapists, families, and educators in special education. Most of the content is available at a cost but the resources below are free.

Resource: Potty Training: Supporting families with the transition from diapers to independent toileting:
A “how-to” power point presentation on the transition from diapers to independent toileting: signs of readiness, barriers to success, five training strategies and schedule techniques. Developed by a special educator and mother of a child with ASD.

Resource: Task analysis for washing hands:
A printable visual guide demonstrating the proper hand washing sequence. Print and display by the sink in the bathroom.

Topic: How to Prevent and Manage Tantrums in Children with Autism

Tantrums are a common problem behavior in children with autism. Behavior is out of control because the child feels out of control and doesn’t have strategies to communicate in more acceptable ways. Optimally, a family works with an expert therapist, such as a BCBA, to establish an individualized plan for coping skills and self-regulation. The free resources below provide general information on tantrums – the causes, how to reduce the risk of occurrence and strategies to diffuse a tantrum.

Source: Autism Speaks

Resource: Challenging Behaviors Tool Kit:

A comprehensive but easy to understand overview of behavior challenges in children with ASD. Topics include why behavior challenges are common in children with autism, where to find help and positive strategies to support behavior improvement.

Resource: ATN/AIR-P Visual Supports and Autism:

  • Includes printable visual supports and a step-by-step guide on how to integrate visual supports in daily routines.
  • Two companion videos (about five minutes each) introduce the value of using a first-then board and a visual schedule.

Source: Propel Autism

Resource: Behavior Change in Children with Autism: ABA Therapy:
ABA is accepted as a best practice for positive behavior change for children with autism. The blog explains how an ABA treatment plan is developed and implemented. The goal is to replace problem behaviors with behavior that is positive and socially acceptable and takes less effort and energy than a tantrum.

Source: ABA Visualized

Resource: Visual Schedule tool:
This tool makes it easy to create a visual schedule that helps prevent tantrums when schedules change. Involve your child in creating the schedule and refer to it during transitions.

Source: Autism Little Learners

Resource: Taking a break social story:
Social stories are another evidence-based intervention for children with ASD. These are simple stories that prepare a child with special needs for a situation by showing what they can expect and modeling appropriate ways to respond. Here you will find many social stories covering a wide range of common challenges and which can be downloaded for free.

Resources that are publicly available provide general information. The optimal intervention is autism treatment customized to meet the unique needs of your child. Propel Autism is available for personalized, 1:1 consultation that puts your child first and supports your family unit.

To schedule a consultation with our highly skilled BCBA’s, contact us: www.propelautism.com or info@propelautism.com, or call 1 (404) 593-0078