Autism Support Group Des Moines IA

Raising and caring for someone with autism is no easy task, and is nearly impossible for one person alone. Autism support groups offer guidance, counsel, aid, comfort, understanding and bonding to all those who suffer with autism and those who raise or work with them. To learn more about or find a support group, check below.

Drake University/Resource Center for Special Education Issues
515-271-3936; 1-800-44-DRAKE
2507 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA
Support Services
Government/State Agency, Marriage & Family Counseling, Other, Support Organization

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State Mental Health Agency (Iowa)
(515) 281-0377
Hoover State Office Building, 5th Floor, 1305 E. Walnut Street
Des Moines, IA
Support Services
Government/State Agency, Support Organization

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The Arc of Iowa
1-800-362-2927 or ( 515 ) 283-2358
715 East Locust Street
Des Moines, IA
Support Services
Disability Advocacy, Support Organization

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Iowa Chapter: Autism Society of America
(888) 722-4799 or (515) 327-9075
4549 Waterford Dr
West Des Moines, IA
Support Services
Disability Advocacy, Support Organization

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Iowas System of Early Intervention Services
(515) 281-7145
Grimes State Office Building
Des Moines, IA
Support Services
Early Intervention, Government/State Agency
Ages Supported
Preschool,Kindergarten

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ASK Family Resource Center
(545) 280-6558
321 East 6th St.
Des Moines, IA
Support Services
Disability Advocacy, Support Organization, Training/Seminars

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Arc of Iowa
(800) 362-2927
715 E. Locust St.
Des Moines, IA
Support Services
Disability Advocacy, Support Organization

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Iowa Department of Human Rights Commission of Persons with Disabilities Lucas State Office Buildin
(515) 242-6172
Division of Persons with Disabilities, Lucas State Office Building, Second
Des Moines, IA
Support Services
Government/State Agency, Support Organization

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The Homestead
515-967-4369 or 888-228-8476
8272 NE University
Runnells, IA
Support Services
Adult Support, Camps, Job Coach, Marriage & Family Counseling, Residential, Residential Facility, Summer Camp/ESY, Support Organization

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Innovative Learning Professionals
(515) 270-0280
3839 Merle Hay Road, Suite 270
Des Moines, IA
Support Services
Early Intervention, Other, Therapy Providers

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A Dream, a Hope, a Wish, a Prayer, a Life and Autism

A dream, a hope, a wish, a prayer, a life and Autism

Edward D. Iannielli III

It is very important in our lives to dream as young children and to always be encouraged by our parents to reach for the stars in all that we do. When we are kids we are constantly evolving and growing and we are always learning and developing throughout our youth. The time in the life of a young child is very special and it should be filled with hope, optimism, encouragement, enthusiasm, wishful thinking and prayers to God for our child's good health, happiness and a life filled with promise, hope, dreams, vision and self confidence.

It is every parent's hope that their child is healthy and able to develop naturally and adapt to the typical changes that children encounter as they grow. We all are grateful for being blessed with a child in our life and we always want the best for them. If a child is born with autism or some form of disability it means that child will have some challenges ahead in their life but they should have the same dreams and hopes that every child needs to have in their life. My son is autistic and he has challenges that we are trying to help him deal with. At times it seems he will have his share of difficulties and periods of isolation. I only wish that he could realize when he struggles that he has the love and support of his mom and dad and he has many in his corner working to help him.

For many people Autism is not really understood and from outward appearance for the typical person raised in a typical community very difficult to assess. There are many autistic children who from first impression seem normal in ways so when they seem to react out in an inappropriate way to the dismay of others it seems they are defiant and unruly. This for most autistic kids is the furthest from the truth and it seems the parents are thought of as not being able to discipline their children. The reality is that the parents will do anything to help their autistic child and they put so much time, effort and compassion into raising their special child so they can hopefully fit in and have lesser outbursts and meltdowns. It is not easy raising an autistic child and for most families it tests their very limits of patience and endurance and adds a great deal of stress and financial pressure on the family. It is very important to accept the situation and work together with family and all in the support network to help that autistic child find their way in the world.

To an autistic child the world can be a very scary and intimidating place and they would rather live in their little place that is safe and free from confrontation. Autistic children tend to have social difficulties and feel that they can not fit in unfortunately. It takes very committed family and professionals to help address these children with their thoughts and insecurities and help them through these social obstacles.

It is our dreams, hopes, wishes and prayers that help us through...

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Seven easy ways to help a family diagnosed with autism

Seven easy ways to help a family diagnosed with autism

Elaine Hall

We've all heard the news: one in 91 children are now being diagnosed with autism in the United States alone. This is staggering. Today, almost everyone knows someone with autism. And yet, with all the talk about cures, causes and concerns, there is rarely any information on how we can support a family with this diagnosis. All too often, because folks don't know what to do, they do nothing! Even to the extent of avoiding the family out of fear, or just out of not knowing what to do or say. In this post, I hope to show how simple acts of kindness can make a world of difference for families who have children with autism.

I will highlight seven easy, free (or inexpensive) ways that you can do to help:

1.) Let's start with the easiest: On the way to your weekly or daily trip to the grocery store, ask if there is anything you can pick up for their family.

Pick up some eggs, or a carton of milk and drop it by. If they insist on paying you back, accept. Then, the next time you ask them if there is anything they need, more than likely, they will feel okay to say, "yes, please."

Why? Because often taking a child with autism to a grocery store can be overwhelming. I can remember when taking my son, Neal, anywhere was difficult. More often than not, when we drove in the car, Neal would have a temper tantrum in his car seat. He would kick the seat in front of him, wailing for me to stop. I would pull over, stop the car and help him calm down.

Taking him grocery shopping had it's own challenges. On bad days, Neal would have a tantrum while I was shopping. The moment it started, I had to pull him out of the cart, then leave the cart -- groceries and all -- in the middle of an aisle while a kind and bewildered store employee helped me carry a kicking, screaming Neal to the car. I would tell Neal directly, okay, I guess you're not ready to go to the grocery store, yet. And we would wait a few days before returning. In those days, many of our meals had to be take-out.

Today, when I speak at conferences and someone asks how they can help a family whose child has autism, the first thing I say, "Ask what you can pick up at the grocery store for them."

2.) Learn the facts about autism, but don't give advice.

Parents who have a child recently diagnosed with autism are often overwhelmed with "to dos." Today there is lots of information to help unravel the intricacies of therapies, schools and protocols. There are special needs advocates, websites, books, journals -- you name it, it's out there. What families need more than additional information or advice is someone to listen to them -- they need a friend. A friend who understands what they are going through and doesn't judge, condemn or give advice.

I am blessed with wonderful friends. Two of my closest friends Rebecca and Nick, and Vida and Leven, lived walking distance from Neal and me. We got together as much as poss...

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