What’s the First Step after Your Child Is Diagnosed with Autism? | The struggles of families and children recently diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder with understanding what first steps to take and how to fully grasp how this diagnosis is going to affect the life of the child can be significant. Luckily, you are not alone in this diagnosis. While there is no “cure” for autism, there is an abundance of resources and support available for your child and family.
What is Autism?
First, it’s important to understand what autism spectrum disorder is. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can vary in severity. Communication difficulties, repetitive behaviors, impaired social interactions, and restricted interests can commonly be seen. When autism is diagnosed, a level of severity is typically determined. Mild severity requiring minimal to moderate support and a higher level of function can be seen to the most affected severity that requires very substantial support with the inability to live independently.
Adjusting to the Needs of Your Child
Children with autism require specific features that allow them to better adapt to their environment. Autism typically has sensory difficulties that causes those affected to experience senses more or less than an individual without autism. Understanding how your child’s senses are affected will better allow you to adjust their environment at home accordingly, providing them a more comforting space.
With the initial diagnosis, it’s important that you begin to set up your child with various resources and support systems. A wide array of services are available to those with autism are as follows. Individualized Education Program (IEP) should be initiated with your child’s school soon after diagnosis to ensure services are set up to specifically meet the needs of your child. Services such as speech pathology, involvement in special education classes, and other therapies like physical or occupational focuses may be included.
Further services that can be obtained for your child can also include social skills groups, developmental therapy, and psychiatric services. If your child is prescribed certain medications, medication management will also be included in your child’s plan of care and will need to be monitored by psychiatric or pediatric medical teams.
Engage in Family Therapy
As a family, it may be difficult to adjust to the needs of your child. If you have other children they may also suffer with feeling they do not receive as much attention due to the higher demands that their sibling with autism may require or may feel unsure of how to appropriately interact with their sibling. Family therapy, local support groups, and respite services can be beneficial for you and your family for additional support.
If your child has recently been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, seek out autism services near you as soon as possible to provide your child with the best care. Additional information can be found regarding autism spectrum disorder here.