What to Do After Finding Out Your Child Has Autism
Discovering that your child has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be a life-altering moment for any parent. It’s a journey that often begins with a mix of emotions, ranging from confusion and concern to love and unwavering dedication. This diagnosis opens up a path of both challenges and opportunities, where understanding, patience, and support become your guides. In the wake of such news, it’s natural to seek guidance on what to do after finding out your child has autism.
To find out if your child has autism, you’ll need to speak with a doctor. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist for further testing and autism evaluations. This is often the first step in understanding what kind of support your child may need. This assessment can include:
- Developmental History: A detailed interview with the parents or caregivers to understand the child’s developmental milestones and behavior patterns.
- Observation: Direct observation of the child’s social interactions, communication skills, and behavior.
- Standardized Tests: Standardized tests may be used to assess cognitive and adaptive functioning.
- Medical Examination: A medical examination may be conducted to rule out other medical conditions that can mimic autism.
Receiving an autism diagnosis for your child can be challenging, but it’s also an opportunity to embark on a meaningful journey of understanding, growth, and support. By seeking professional guidance, connecting with support networks, and staying informed, you can provide your child with the best possible foundation for a fulfilling life.
One of the most empowering things you can do for your child is to educate yourself about autism. Learn about the characteristics, challenges, and strengths associated with autism. Understanding the condition will help you advocate for your child’s needs and make informed decisions about their education and therapy options.
Creating a supportive home environment is essential for a child with autism. Consider making changes to your home to accommodate your child’s sensory needs. Some children with autism are sensitive to noise, light, or textures, so creating a calming and sensory-friendly space can help reduce their anxiety and discomfort. You might want to:
- Use soft lighting and minimize loud noises in your home
- Create a designated sensory-friendly space where your child can relax
- Remove clutter and provide clear visual cues for daily routines
Children with autism often benefit from a structured routine. Establishing a daily schedule can provide a sense of predictability and security for your child. Be consistent with meal times, bedtime, and other daily activities to help your child feel more comfortable and in control. A structured routine can reduce anxiety by providing predictability, improve time management and organization and help your child transition between activities more smoothly.
Social skills are a key area of development for children with autism. Encourage social interaction through playdates, social skills groups, or specialized therapy programs. Teach your child about emotions and how to navigate social situations with patience and understanding. Social skills development can include role-playing scenarios to practice social interactions, teaching your child to identify and express emotions, or encouraging shared interests and hobbies with peers.
Stay informed about the latest research and advancements in autism. The field of autism research is constantly evolving, and new therapies and interventions are emerging. Knowledge is power, and staying up-to-date can help you make informed decisions about your child’s care. To stay informed, follow reputable autism organizations and research institutions.
Early intervention services, such as ABA therapy, are crucial for children with autism, as research has shown that early intervention can significantly improve outcomes. Early intervention ABA therapy can help your child with:
- Speech and language development
- Fine and gross motor skills
- Social and communication skills
- Behavior management and coping strategies
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a widely used, evidence-based therapy for autism. It focuses on improving verbal communication, social skills, play skills, and daily living activities. Empower Behavioral Health offers personalized ABA therapy services to help children with autism build the skills they need for success in school and beyond. We also provide autism evaluation services. Our evaluation services also assisst in finding out your child has autism. Find a location for ABA therapy near you, or contact us today to schedule a consultation.