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Yay, you’ve got to the bonus content for my book Where Do I Start? Navigating the emotional journey of autism parenting. I have broken up these resources by chapter to make it easier to find what you are looking for. I’ll be updating this information regularly so do bookmark this page and visit regularly.

Please note: This Bonus Content page was created with love for you, as a gift for reading my book. I appreciate your support so much! Please do not share this page with anyone. If you’d like to share with your friends and family, please send them to the book page instead. Thank you!

Part 1: How to help yourself

Chapter 1: Autism isn't scary

Black autistic boy baking with mum
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Chapter 2: All the feels

Woman worried about autism
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Chapter 3: Perspective is everything

Smiling woman framing her face with her fingers
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Chapter 4: Why you need help and how to get it

Two middle aged women laughing and hugging
Listen to autistic adults
Finding local support
  • Children’s centres: To find your local children’s centre, just search the internet for ‘children’s centre’ and your area. For example, type into your favourite search engine: children’s centre solihull and it will give you the nearest one. You can use Google to search ‘children’s centre near me‘ and it will use your location to find the nearest centre.
  • Parent Carer Forums: every area has one, and you’ll find it in the same way – search the internet for your area and parent carer forum. For example, you’ll type into your browser: surrey parent carer forum and you’ll find your closest group. Note that the group might not be called ‘parent carer forum’ but something like ‘Family Voice Surrey’. You can use Google to search for ‘parent carer forum near me‘ and it will use your location to find the nearest group.
  • Local Offer: this oddly titled service provides all of the SEND-related information for your area. You will find it by visiting your council’s website and searching for ‘local offer’.
Autism and disability charities The NAS has a directory you can use to search for groups by postcode. Otherwise, search for groups by typing your area and either ‘parent disability support group‘ or ‘autism support group‘ or ‘autism parent support group‘. Use Google to search for groups – it will use your location to find the group nearest you. Facebook groups
  • Contact charity has an excellent Facebook group
  • Your local parent carer forum and local autism support groups will likely all have their own Facebook groups as well.
Benefits
Other financial help
Talking about autism
Sharing an autism diagnosis with family and friends from Child Mind Institute

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Chapter 5: The importance of assertiveness

A badass mother of an autistic child flexing her arm muscle
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Chapter 6: How to look after yourself

A father of an autistic child relaxing with coffee and music
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Chapter 7: Are you autistic?

Man contemplating whether or not to go for an autism assessment
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Part 2: How to help your child

Chapter 8: To diagnose or not to diagnose

Middle aged man thinking about autism diagnosis

Chapter 9: The dark secret

A worried mother searching the internet late at night
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Chapter 10: How to advocate for your child

Mother advocating for her autistic child
There is no such thing as severe autism

Chapter 11: Getting started with supporting your child

Happy dad and his autistic daughter

Since I wrote this book, I have come to understand that, in the US anyway, the term ‘early intervention’ mainly refers to ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis). So if you read my section on ‘The myth of early intervention’ and wondered why I did not reference this, it’s because I didn’t know. So, when I referred to ‘an army of therapists’ and ‘a team of people’ to help your child, I was naïvely meaning Speech and Language, Play and Occupational Therapists, not ABA practitioners. See, we are all learning, all of the time. 

Here is an example of a child’s spiky profile that I made for the book but didn’t put it in because I had a complicated brain log jam over putting illustrations in the book:

Example of a spiky autistic profile
You can see from this what I mean – that the proficiency of an autistic individual (because autistic adults, me included, also have spiky profiles) in the various aspects of their life can vary widely.

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Chapter 12: Executive functioning

Little autistic girl brushing her hair
Visual supports

I’m often asked how to find visuals to use to support autistic children. Just about any situation you need a visual for can be found online. Just search the internet for what you want, for example ‘toothbrushing visual’ or ‘puberty social story’. Here are loads of options for putting together visual supports for your child:

Here is the handwashing sequence I made for my daughter, using pictures of her washing her hands in our bathroom, to make it easier for her to understand:

Handwashing visual routine
  • Social stories can be helpful for teaching social skills or helping a child understand what to expect in a new situation.
  • The Incredible Five Point Scale can be used for lots of different situations, from managing emotions to volume (of the television or screaming!)
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Chapter 13: Anxiety

Anxious girl covering her face

Here is an example of the behaviour iceberg I mention in the book. The idea is that the behaviour we see is only a tiny part of the story and that there’s a lot going on underneath the surface, and all those things can cause anxiety:

Anxiety iceberg showing what causes anxiety and distress behaviours

As I mentioned earlier, we are all learning all of the time. When I wrote this book, I didn’t need to understand the concept of low demand parenting. However, now that my daughter is no longer attending school, I have had to embrace this way of living. So I include below some good resources about this.

Here is an example of the sort of visual guide I’ll make for my daughter when we are going somewhere new or out of the ordinary (like the dentist), to help her understand what to expect. It really pays to take pictures of everywhere you go so that you can use them for future outings:

A visual guide to going to the optician

Chapter 14: Emotional regulation

A happy girl in a pink jumper

Chapter 15: Sensory processing differences

A happy girl in a yellow dress carrying red boots

Chapter 16: Communication

Little autistic boy expressing emotions by giving his mum a hug
Echolalia in autism: why autistic children echo words and sounds from VeryWell Health
Communication supports
  • Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a useful place to start in helping your child communicate. I urge you to take the course delivered by the creators of PECS, Pyramid Education Consultants, as it’s very helpful in lots of ways.
  • Makaton is a type of sign language that uses symbols to help a child communicate with those around themselves (and vice versa).
  • Proloquo is an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) option for Apple devices. It features thousands of words to help an individual put together sentences and phrases to communicate their thoughts, wishes, and needs. It also has a companion app, Proloquo Coach, which is really helpful for supporting parents in getting started with the app. I love that it’s available on subscription so you can try it without having to spend a lot of money.
  • See the resources for Chapter 12 for lots of links to visual resources.
  • Here is a wonderful course developed by my great friend Jade on Communicating with your nonspeaking child
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Chapter 17: Education

SEND charities and organisations that can help you navigate the system
(Note also that all of these will have social media accounts that will be worth following)
SEND Legislation
Other information
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Chapter 18: How to engage with your child (when they don't want to engage with you)

Dad hugging son by a river
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Chapter 19: Be here now

Mother and daughter hugging and smiling
Made by Brad, the business I mention in the book, created by the father of Brad Fremmerlid to help his son make a living.

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Affiliate notice: if you buy something from the Amazon links on this page, I will get a teeny tiny commission at no extra cost to you.