Three Benefits of Social Networks for ASD Support Groups
Social networks can provide parents with a way to reach out to other parents at a time that is convenient for them.
By Diandre Glover Thomas
Parents of children with autism are often isolated from their peers while managing issues with their children that range from coping with a diagnosis to transitioning into adulthood. Although support groups provide parents with a network of individuals who are understanding of issues related to autism finding time to talk with parents outside of those meetings may be a challenge. Online communities and social networks can provide parents with a way to reach out to other parents at a time that is convenient for them. There are three primary benefits of starting or joining an existing online community or social network.
- Give parents of children with autism an opportunity to meet and connect with other parents and communicate with them twenty four hours a day instead of waiting until the next support group meeting. Through sharing pictures, videos and stories about their families’ highs and lows support group members are able to get to know each other better and form a deeper connection with one another.
- Help support groups organize meetings, activities and events. The online community can help keep everyone informed on the support group’s activities and which may increase participation. Support groups can post information about social activities and fundraisers such as awareness walks, bake sales, pot luck dinners and monthly meeting updates.
- Provide an excellent opportunity for parents to share information about helpful resources and/or provide supportive words of encouragement for online community members. Parents can share if they had a tough day with their child or if their child did something they were really proud of. Resources such as free training events, summer camp information or even recommending a doctor or barber for a child can be shared among parents in online communities.
If you would like to learn more about using social networks to help enhance your support groups communication and participation sign up to attend the FREE webinar Social Media and Online Communities for Family Support Groups that will air on Wednesday November 21, 2012 at 12:00 noon (EST).
Diandre Glover Thomas is the Program Coordinator for the KY Autism Training Center and manages the web content, newsletter, marketing and many of the social media and web based training activities for the center.
Kentucky Autism Training Center Fall 2012 Newsletter (November 2012)