As a single mother of twin boys who are both diagnosed with PDD-NOS (AUTISM SPECTRUM) and ADHD, I have had my share of “almost to the point of having a mental breakdown” moments over the past five and a half years. Some people say when they found out their children had an Autism Spectrum Disorder that they went through the five states of grief. Not me.
I was never in denial, never angry that the life I had planned for them was never going to happen, never tried to bargain with a “higher power” to make my children “typical”. I never became grief-stricken over the loss of the quiet, polite, exceptionally smart children I thought I was going to have. I jumped right into the “acceptance” stage and went into SuperMommy mode. Juggling almost 36 hours of early intervention each week, washing clothes, cooking, cleaning, and caring for my boys – alone – was completely overwhelming. But I did it….. with some regrets. My biggest one was not seeking out support from other individuals who were going through the same thing I was. For those of you facing the most challenging, yet most amazing experience of your life – raising a child with Autism – get support. Seek out those who can understand your grief and frustrations and share with you their joys and accomplishments. You won’t regret it!
Bayonne Parents of Autistic Kids Support Group
This support group is for parents and caregivers of children who have autism spectrum disorders. The group meets the first Wednesday of each month from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center, 1050 Kennedy Boulevard, Bayonne, NJ. The group is run by Patricia Kennedy, contact number is 201-823-9541.
The ARC of Hudson County
For parents and caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorders as well as any other developmental disability. The group is held at 405-409 36th Street, Union City, NJ. Dates and times vary each month. Please call Nadia Cabana at 201-319-9229 for more information.
Padres Ayundando a Padres
This group provides support, information and resources to the Spanish-speaking autism community. It meets the first Thursday of each month from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at Iglesia San Augustin, 3900 New York Avenue, Union City, NJ. Please contact Susana Albistur at 201-864-7262 for more information.
This group was formed by Spanish-speaking parents of children who have special needs (autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, down syndrome, and others) in Hudson and Bergen counties. The group meets monthly in varying locations. Please contact Yolanda Quintero at 1-800-654-SPAN, extension 211 for more information.
This support group is for parents and caregivers of children who have Asperger’s or any other autism spectrum disorder. ASPEN of Bergen County will meet the second Wednesday of each month during the school year from 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. at the Bergen County Technical Schools/Bergen County Special Services, Cape Resource Center, 327 East Ridgewood Avenue, Suite 212, Paramus, NJ. Please contact Nicoletta LaMarca Sacco at 201-995-3668 for additional information.
ASPEN Father's Support Group
ASPEN of Bergen County Father’s Group will meet the fourth Monday of each month during the school year from 7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at the Bergen County Technical Schools/Bergen County Special Services, Cape Resource Center, 327 East Ridgewood Avenue, Suite 212, Paramus, NJ. Please contact Vince Varrassi at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
Putting The Pieces Together (PTPT)
PTPT is a wonderful organization which offers all different types of support, services and activities to parents and caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorders. Their support group meets every Thursday at 7:30 p.m. (ending time varies each week) at 200 Ridge Road, North Arlington, NJ. Deborah Wertalik is the president and co-founder of PTPT, and all questions can be directed to her at 201-966-8738.
Bergen County Autism Support Group
This support group is for parents and caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorders. The group meets the first Friday of each month from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at the Mount Carmel Church, 1 Passaic Street, Ridgewood, NJ. Please contact Gary Lahm at 201-503-9476 for more information.