Families dealing with a diagnosis of autism can benefit from the experience of others. Here’s what the experts and other parents recommend: Attitude is key. Put the shock of the diagnosis and the questions about whether it’s somehow your “fault” behind you. Focus on getting help for your child.
Photo courtesy of Marcus Autism Center
A Parent’s Roadmap
Educate yourself. Use the Internet, doctors, therapists and support organizations to stay current on medical and behavioral information and services available for your child. If one therapy isn’t working, another might.
Join a support group. Others in a support group understand
Educate your friends and family. Helping others
your journey, plus other parents will share discoveries and information about autism and how they handled similar situations.
understand your child’s condition leads to more acceptance if he behaves in unexpected ways.
Ask for help. Reach out to friends and family members for help
Early intervention works. All studies show children with autism spectrum disorder benefit from qualified therapists, so put together a plan as soon as possible based on your child’s needs. Also, find a medical doctor with experience in treating autism; use a referral from other parents or an autism organization.
and respite; trying to do it all on your own will lead to burnout and won’t help your child. If family and friends can’t help, pay a qualified caregiver. Everyone needs a break from time to time.
Plan for the future. Autism is a lifelong diagnosis, but with
Help the therapists. Learn techniques therapists use, and
quality intervention, children will improve over time. Many grow up to have happy, fulfilling lives. Those children were surrounded by parents, therapists and caregivers who helped them maximize their potential.
continue to work with your child at home. Your child will progress more quickly with consistency and a team approach.
Sources: Autism Today (autismtoday.com) and Navigating Autism: The Essential How-to By Parents for Parents by Andrew and Melissa Areffi (Amazon, $24.95).
May 2013 Atlanta Parent 45