Family Life

At every stage, Autistic individuals and their parents, caregivers, and family members should feel understood and supported.

AANE can help you navigate family life to meet the unique social, communication, and sensory needs of your Neurodivergent family member. AANE offers support groups, information, resources, parent coaching, and so much more.

Questions about autism or AANE’s services?

Schedule a call to speak with a member of AANE’s staff, or fill out a form to be contacted by email.

Emotional Regulation

Regulating strong emotions is an important skill and starts with knowing the things that can trigger them. This helps a person move towards trying strategies to manage intense feelings.

For many Autistic individuals, recognizing their own emotions and internal experiences can be challenging. Families can support Autistic family members seeking to deepen their understanding of themselves, their triggers, and coping strategies that work.

Emotional Regualtion: Advice for Families

"….there are many things you can do to support your family member in developing the skills they need to encounter challenging situations."

So That's What Autistic Burnout Is

"The exhaustion of interacting in a world where assumptions, attitudes, misunderstanding and noisiness chip away at the reserves that my son needs."

Navigating Sensory Difference

"More than just a slight irritant, some sensory sensitivities can increase anxiety, cause pain, and require a tremendous amount of energy to manage."

Emotional Regulation: Helping our Students and Ourselves

"It is important to remember not to make assumptions about why a student is demonstrating a particular emotion or behavior."

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Social Connections

Autistic individuals may want help in finding friendships and a community that understands their social and communication style. Society often makes inaccurate assumptions about Autistic social behavior and communication, and Autistic individuals of any age experience bullying and isolation as a result.

Individuals who possess strong interests can often connect with others who share those interests. Provided with the chance to cultivate social bonds in an understanding and inclusive setting, Autistic individuals who desire social connections can build and maintain deep and long-lasting friendships.

Sticking Around: A Spectrum Perspective on Friendship

"Despite my inborn tendency to flee, I have learned how to keep my feet planted long enough to get comfortable, but it is hard work."

Supporting Friendships

"Step 1: Find other people who like the same things you do. Step 2: Show up again and again and again. Putting this into practice is more difficult."

Friendships: Variations on a Theme

"Forming friendships can be challenging for Autistic folks because non-Autistics have unspoken rules and expectations about how social interactions should work."

Video: Autism in Girls and Women: Developing Social and Personal Relationships

Sarah Hendrickx shares her insights on the subject of social connections and friendships for Autistic women throughout the lifespan.

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Daily Living

Issues of daily living can be exhausting and leave little energy left over for families to enjoy time with each other. Whether it is implementing a successful home routine or managing demanding school expectations, AANE can help you navigate the day-to-day to reduce stress and ease anxiety.

Listening to Autistic Voices

"Instead of making assumptions, listening to other Autistic voices can provide an invaluable window into a loved one’s experience."

Expectations for Family/Social Gatherings

"Based on the comments from Autistic adults and parents to Autistic individuals, we’ve put together some points to consider when navigating gatherings with family and friends."

Using Family Schedules on the Weekends

"One strategy that can help address these differing expectations and clarify what will happen is to use a written or visual schedule."

Five Tips for Autistic Parents From This Autistic Parent

"It occurred to me to use my diagnosis as an incentive to educate myself both about autism and about parenting."

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Parenting Teens / Adults

It’s no secret that the teen years can be difficult for family dynamics. Autistic teens may experiences distinctive challenges at home and at school. Many parents and caregivers feel overwhelmed and unsure about how to best support their children as they move through adolescence.

At AANE, we’ve talked to and learned from thousands of Autistic adults and their family members.  AANE is here to help your family on your journey together.

Understanding the Employment Journey

"Here are three areas that are helpful for parents to think about with respect to their child’s employment path."

If I Knew Then

"Looking back, I believe that being thrust into such unknown territory forced me to listen better to my kid."

Teens: Anger, Depression, and Autism

"Even before adolescence, Autistic children’s stress levels tend to be higher than average."

The Return Home

"…if you are an Autistic adult returning home after years of independence or you are a family once again (or for the first time) sharing space with an Autistic adult, here is some advice for all of you to consider."

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Family Relationships

Whether there are daily interactions or occasional visits, people often wonder how best to form a positive and supportive relationship with their Autistic family members. Finding information and support can help family members understand the varied perspectives and experience within their family and feel more understood and connected.

Building Positive Relationships with Autistic Family Members: A Guide for Grandparents and Extended Family

Here are seven key points to help foster understanding, provide support, and embrace acceptance.

Expectations for Family/Social Gatherings

"Based on the comments from Autistic adults and parents to Autistic individuals, we’ve put together some points to consider when navigating gatherings with family and friends."

Loving Ben: A Sibling's Perspective

"Though my relationship with Ben is a little different from other sibling relationships, I am comfortable in the knowledge that Ben is someone I can always count on when I need it most."

Video: What is Autism?

Gaining a deeper understanding of neurodiversity and making inclusion a priority in your life is the foundation for building positive relationships with Autistic family members.

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