Having a child diagnosed with autism is a significant event in a parent’s life. If you are in this situation, it has likely come as a powerful emotional blow. For many parents, an autism diagnosis is an indication that the life they thought they thought their child was going to have is not exactly to be. The diagnosis may seem vague, due to the condition’s “spectrum” nature; this means that it varies wildly from individual to individual. Some kids may struggle with autism for the rest of their lives while others may fall off the spectrum at some point so that they can no longer be considered autistic. The point to remember at all times is that each case is unique. Your child will respond differently to treatment and therefore their prognosis is different. How you handle it is key to the getting the best possible outcome.
Learn As Much as You Can
The diagnosis can make a parent apprehensive about the future but as with many things in life, the solution is education. There are multiple treatment programs for child disabilities like autism, along with multiple philosophies and methods of treatment. The problem is that there are not many studies comparing the different programs; as a parent with a newly diagnosed autistic child, you will have your work cut out for you when it comes to choosing one. You should acquire as much knowledge as you can about the condition and the methods used to manage it. Books are an excellent resource on child disabilities and there are many on the subject of raising autistic children. Understanding the condition will not magically make everything easier, but it will go a long way to towards improving your experience and helping you to remain patient.
Talking about autism with others can help to ease your anxieties and is a coping method recommended by autism advocacy group, Autism Speaks. Support groups are good places to do this as they can provide the comfort and reassurance that you will need as the parent of an autistic child. You get to talk openly about autism with other parents who have faced the same situation. This can help you to come to terms with your fears and start the process of overcoming them. The Marklund Day School has Certified Autism Specialists on staff who can serve as excellent resources for managing educational programs for your child.
Getting help soon after the diagnosis is essential for reducing problematic behavior. At this point, there is no known cure for autism but by using the collection of treatments available, it is possible to ensure a functional and even productive future for your child; they will have the opportunity to learn new skills and to achieve. Treatment will help regardless of the stage at which it is provided but earlier in a child’s development is better. It is essential that you are actively involved in the treatment; according to a study by the University of North Carolina Medical School, children with parents who participate in therapy tend to do better. When seeking therapy, you should consult with a pediatrician or other child disabilities specialist. Talk to multiple professionals with experience handling autism spectrum disorders, not just one.
It is important that parents remember that they are not the first ones to deal with this problem. There are many others out there who have faced the same thing and who have learned how to manage it. The diagnosis instantly makes them a part of a new community and there are many resources out there to help them.