What happens after you learn that your child had been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)? This diagnosis is often an overwhelming, life-changing event for families. However, you are not alone in this. Understanding what to do after your child has been diagnosed with ASD can be challenging, so here are some tips to help guide you through what to do next.
Step 1: Reassure Yourself That Everything Will Be Okay
This diagnosis does not change the fact that your child is still the amazing person you have cared for up to this moment. Research on Autism has grown exponentially over the past two decades and several new treatment approaches have been studied, developed and scientifically demonstrated to help children with ASD. So, rest assured that there are other families out there that understand what you are going through and have been successfully guided through this journey on which you are about to embark.
Step 2: Education
Familiarize yourself with the diagnosis. Common manifestations of ASD include deficits in social communication, social interaction and engagement in repetitive patterns of behavior. Familiarizing yourself with the way these signs present themselves will aid in your observation and understanding of how your child displays these behaviors.
Step 3: Seek Help
Above all, know that you do not have to face this alone. There are many resources available to you in the community, including healthcare providers who focus on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Occupational Therapy (OT), Physical Therapy (PT) and Speech-Language Pathology (SLP), which have been evidenced to increase skills and development in children with autism. Whether they are used independently or in combination, these services provide families with the know-how and confidence to better assist their loved ones with autism in reaching and surpassing developmental milestones.
*Resource Hub: Autism Speaks is a non-profit charitable corporation dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support. 100 Day Kit for Newly Diagnosed Families of School Age Children