Tips to Start an Autism Support Group

How to Start Your Own Autism Support Group and Community Autism Night

April 3, 2019 4 min read

Welcome to the first episode of the help for Special Educators Podcast!!  I am publishing this on the first of April and April is Autism Month.

You can listen and learn how to start an Autism Support Group for families and start an Autism Night in your community.

I have a conversation with Tiffany Manha, a speech teacher, and autism mom, about how she started an Autism Family Support Group in our town about 8 years ago, which is treated like being invited to a birthday party!!  You will love her story of how it happened and how it has grown to where these kids ride on floats in parades (yes, some even have extreme autism) and put on an Autism Night.

She gives some great tips on how to start and run your own group. If you want, you can download and print out a free copy of her steps to start your own Autism Support Group. I suggest printing it out before you listen so you can take notes on it.

She also talks about how IEP teams can work together to support a family who might just be hearing of the diagnosis at an IEP team meeting and how vital an Autism Support Group can be to bring help and hope from other families in the same school/district who have been there.

Additionally, Tiffany explains how their group puts on an Autism Night for their community and surrounding area! I hope you love this episode as much as I do.

By the end, you will be wanting to start your own group (and will be able to build on Tiffany’s experience and wise advice)!

Also in this FIRST episode, I also explain why I started the podcast and introduce myself to everyone!

Please give it a listen by clicking on the white/green arrow below (or listen on your favorite podcast app).

Important Note about my FACEBOOK account: I got hacked by scammers and no longer have control of my Facebook Group “Help for Special Educators,” Lisa Goodell Equip Page, or my personal page. Please leave the group, and unfollow/unfriend the page.

Podcast Episode 1 Show Notes

My Guest: Tiffany Manha, SLP and Autism Mom

I was born and raised in the small town of Kerman, CA. I was a first-grade teacher for two years and had a degree in Speech and Language Pathology. I went back to school to get my master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology and have been a Speech and Language Pathologist now for 16 years. I am the mother of two amazing boys. My oldest son was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 3 1/2. I feel that his diagnosis shaped me as a Speech Therapist and has helped me connect with the families that I work with.

I was inspired to get families together and form an Autism group after meeting families going through similar struggles, feelings of isolation, and feelings of being left out of life. I like being the one who can now offer families hope and show them that they are not alone. If you feel inspired to start a support group in your district I encourage you to do so. It’s amazing what bringing together families will do. 

Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Disclaimer: The views expressed, and resources/links provided on this podcast are that of each guest and do not always represent the views of this podcast or the host. In addition, each listener is encouraged to research all strategies, lessons, curriculum, etc. before using them with students to be sure they are in line with their beliefs, their school district policies, etc.

The Podcast Host

Neon sign on building that says, "Help for Special Educators."

Lisa Goodell, M. A., is the host of the Help for Special Educators Podcast. She has been teaching for over 23 years, including third grade, resource/inclusion (RSP), mild/moderate self-contained (SDC). Currently, she is an itinerant orthopedic impairment (OI) specialist/teacher for students birth to 21 years old in all general ed and special ed settings.

She has been honored as “Teacher of the Year” at both the elementary and secondary level. She lives in rural Central California with her family, and a bunch of cats. Connect with Lisa here.

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