Circles of Support for people with Autism are a useful tool. Unfortunately if you look at the Circle of Support for a typical person compared to a circle for a person with a disability you will discover a huge difference.
Typical people have Circles full of friends and acquaintances. Those friends may be close friends. It may be friends they see once a year. It could even be friends who only share certain interests.
Then you look at a person with Autism’s circle. You will see a large group of professionals. They might be doctors, nurses, therapists, teachers, or aides.
It is a parent’s challenge to figure out how to get more non paid people in their child’s circle. This is no easy talk but is critical to the long term happiness and success of our children.
Sometimes it is hard for parents like me to see how to find the non paid people who might be able to be part of a Circle of Support. Whenever possible, children with Autism should shop with you. If you child can tolerate the smells go to the gas station.
They should go and see the differences in the world. I would take my child to church. Not all the time but often enough that they could meet people. Sometimes we would have to leave early if she was uncomfortable but we would try.
Going into the community and going to family activities also helped expand my child’s Circle of Support. More specifically expanded the non paid portions. When one of the families I know started to need someone to stay with their child they already had people lined up.
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