You’ve just left the doctors off with a diagnosis, now what? These seven things to know after your child receives an autism diagnosis will set you on the right path.
Let’s start with some numbers that represent Autism around the world.
The estimation of Autism Spectrum Disorder prevailing around the world is about 1%. In the United States, 1 in 54 children is diagnosed with Autism. In Singapore, 1 in 150 Children is Autistic. The rates in Hong Kong now sit at 1 in 27. Added to those facts, the statistics of Autism occurring in a sibling is up to 20%. All these numbers signify that Autism is not something that you will have to deal with alone.
In Singapore, the Autism Resource Center is at the center carrying out the Government’s research into Autism. There are also a lot of private organizations helping families. In Singapore, JC Physics Tuition in Singapore and IP Tuition in Singapore are renowned for their sincere effort in helping autistic children moving ahead with regular studies.
In some locations, the resources are slighter harder to find but still accessible. No matter your location, there are resources available and people that want to help. An Autism diagnosis is not an end. It is just the start of you and your child’s journey to a more successful life. It opens the doors to the right therapies and resources to help your child thrive.
7 Things to Know After Your Child Receives an Autism Diagnosis
If your child receives an autism diagnosis, remember that it does not change a thing. It does not make your child any less loveable or reduce the possibilities of your child becoming successful.
These seven things to know after your child receives an Autism diagnosis will help you start your journey off right!
1. Brace Yourself and Learn Everything There Is To Know:
The first step in an Autism journey is the diagnosis. Prior to the diagnosis, you suspected the symptoms and behaviors your child exhibits might be Autism.
However, suspected and confirming are two very different places. It’s time to brace yourself for the journey ahead and get ready to learn everything about Autism firsthand.
After receiving an autism diagnosis, you will go through the cycles of grief. You may be overwhelmed with sorrow and anxiety and become confused and hit by uncertainty about what the future may hold for your child. Or, you could be hit with anger. Anger at the doctor, life situations, or the diagnosis itself. Other parents go through the stages of denial. Looking for second opinions and other possibilities.
What you need to know is that it ok to take a moment to let all the emotions you are feeling sink in. Those emotions are natural and ones that need to be worked through. However, do not stay at this stage for long. You must move through to the final stage in the cycle of grief, and that is acceptance.
Once you have accepted the diagnosis, start gathering every bit of info that may help your child. Learn about the levels of autism, and what resources are best for your child’s level.
While searching Google, do remember there are occasional inconsistencies and biased reports or beliefs. Make sure to find sources that you can trust, ones backed by research and experience. Also, make sure to learn about your own child’s behavioral patterns.
Another great thing you can do is to search out (and join) groups conducting activities for helping autistic children in your area. Joining online support groups for parents of autistic children is also a great option. In short, never stop learning.
2. Start Early – You don’t have time to Waste:
Please note that it is not possible to get cured of Autism completely. Early intervention is key to your child’s success. So, after an autism diagnosis, you should actively seek out therapies.
Therapies are crucial for developing foundational skills that will help your child into adulthood. According to your child’s needs, there are several different therapies that can help autistic children thrive such as:
These therapies are designed in such a way that autistic children develop skills in ways they can understand. Having the right therapy and therapist can mean the difference between success and your child shutting down entirely.
3. When Communication is Lacking:
Impossible as it may seem, you need to learn the art of listening by seeing with your eyes. Many Autistic children have delays in developing the ability to communicate by speaking. A lack of verbal communication does not mean that your child is not trying to communicate with you.
The sooner you get the communication method used by your child, the better. The ability to communicate will reduce their frustrations and anxiety greatly. These can be PECs boards, tablets, or other forms of communication.
Figuring out how your child communicates best does not mean you have to give up on speech. Opting for speech therapy for your child can have profound effects. Since you know how your child conveys something, you can help him by selecting the best method of speech therapy for him:
- How we create sounds through our mouths – Articulation
- Nonverbal – Symbols, Sign language or Voice-Output devices
- How we use language with other people – Social Interactions
4. Be Familiar with ‘Motor – Skills’
For simplicity’s sake, let’s say that we can divide ‘motor-skills’ required for most of our physical activities into two types – gross and fine.
Significant body movements like walking, jumping, etc. that ask for the coordination of many muscle groups require ‘gross’ motor skills. On the other hand, subtle movement patterns where finesse is essential need ‘fine’ motor skills.
Very often, an autistic child may not know instinctively how to move a muscle cohesively to do something like zipping. That is why your child might require the guidance of an occupational therapist.
Here you can put valuable input if you follow your child’s movement patterns. If you know how he tends to do something, in which motor skills they are proficient at – you can share this with the therapist and help him direct their attention towards where it is essential most.
5. Be Aware of What Stir Their Senses:
Children with ASD are susceptible to outside influencers like light, sound, touch, smell, etc. These are called sensory stimuli. Some Autistic children are sensory avoiding, while others are sensory seeking. As parents, it is our responsibility to figure out what ‘triggers’ our child.
What makes your child restless, what makes them calm? The more you know, the better you will be at dealing with difficulties caused by them. Working alongside an occupational therapist, you can develop a sensory diet for your child. Other tools such as noise-canceling headphones, fidget toys, swings, and trampolines can help them get the input they need.
6. Learn to Be Consistent All the Time:
The best environment for your child to learn is one that does not change. So, creating consistency is a must on your part. You will need to know how the therapist works with your child, and apply those same methods at home as well.
Likewise, you may consider having your child’s therapy provided in more than one location. Doing this will teach him/her to be able to carry over the learning from one session to another.
Consistency does not just apply to the therapy sessions. It is also essential for you to remember how you interact with them daily. Creating a daily routine will help keep their day consistent.
While reducing surprises is ideal, it is not always doable. There will be times where there will be a change in schedule, food, or even the environment. However, you will be able to provide the same responses in how you behave and be better prepared to handle more challenging situations.
7. Reward Whenever You Get the Chance:
Children with ASD react very positively when they are rewarded. That is why you need to be rewarding – even if for the silliest of reasons. It is well documented in different studies that positive reinforcements enable children with ASD to participate in activities programmed to make them learn new skills.
Make sure to provide praise when they act correctly or perform something that they just have learned.
7 Things to Know After Your Child Receives an Autism Diagnosis
Parenting can be hard even without a diagnosis, but it can also be extremely rewarding.
Remember that your child is the same child who walked into the doctor’s office without an autism diagnosis, that walked out with one. Knowing your child’s diagnosis will now help you be able to provide the resource they need to thrive.Alicia Trautwein, The Mom Kind
These seven things to know after your child receives an autism diagnosis will get you started in the right direction. For more great information, check out our extensive list of autism parenting articles.