Having a child undergo any form of medical diagnosis can be a scary and challenging time. If your child is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, things can be even more daunting since the disorder covers such a wide range of symptoms and characteristics.
It can be hard to know what information applies to you and your child and what does not. The following will examine the steps you should consider taking if your child has been diagnosed with autism and ensure your child has the autism behaviour support that is needed..
Understand That Every Child With Autism Is Different
Some parents feel an intense sense of woe upon receiving the diagnosis, as they’ve been given the idea that the remainder of their life is going to be filled with great struggles. Some parents feel relief, as they finally have a name for what they’ve been dealing with. Wherever you fall on this scale, it is important to remember that every child with autism is different. Your child is unique, just like all other children are unique. Do your best not to project your past experiences with people on the autism spectrum or with characters from movies, books, or television shows onto your child. They might be similar, but they might also be incredibly different from those you’ve encountered. When it comes to autism, there is no one-size-fits-all path.
As with any advice having to do with medical diagnoses or parenting, it is important to, foremost, listen to your own instincts as a parent. No one knows your child as well as you do, and because of this, no one is going to be able to give perfectly tailored advice regarding the specifics of your child. A parents’ instinct is a real thing. If anyone presents you with information you feel in your gut is wrong, always seek out a second opinion.
Seek Early Treatment
Consistently, studies have found that early intervention results in reduced symptoms of autism. This could mean improved social skills, a wider variety of practical abilities, and a greater level of comfort with everyday activities.
There are many different forms of autism spectrum therapies and, more than likely, one of these methods will be well suited to your child. The most commonly suggested form of therapy is called Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. The professionals from ABA Connect say that the U.S. Surgeon General, the American Academy of Neurology, the American Family of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, Autism Society of America, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development all recommend ABA more often than other therapies. Of course, as mentioned above, every child is different and so an alternative therapy might be better suited to your child’s needs.
Take some time to read up on all the options available in your area, perhaps even take your child to a few sessions in a variety of treatments to see what feels best. It is important to note that autism therapies are almost always more effective when parents take an active role and continue the therapy methods in the home.
Make Sure You And Your Other Family Members Are Supported
All parents need a break from time to time, but it can be harder to ask for this break if your child is on the autism spectrum. Many parents have difficulty stepping away, as they feel their child needs them more than other kids need their parents. There are solutions available to assist you with this. Respite care is when a caregiver steps in to give parents the opportunity to rest and recharge. There are also social communities and support groups designed to help parents of children with autism.
Beyond this, if your child with autism has siblings, these kids can also become overwhelmed and choose to put their own needs away for the sake of their brother or sister who needs more immediate attention. Just like you and your partner need a break from time to time, your other children also need time for rest and relaxation, as well as time with mom or dad.
By taking the above steps as soon as you feel comfortable to take them, you can begin to feel out your family’s new normal after a child has been diagnosed with autism. Some days will be difficult, but some days will be magical and rewarding beyond your wildest dreams. Do not be afraid to reach out or ask for help on the harder days. There is nothing wrong with admitting that sometimes you don’t know what to do. This is completely normal.