If your child was just diagnosed with autism, you may be feeling overwhelmed by emotions and thoughts. As parents, you love your child and want them to lead a life filled with love and success, not hardship. You may feel your life has taken a turn, or dramatically changed for the worst. You are not alone in these feelings and thoughts.
Many parents who are dealing with a new diagnosis find immense sadness or even anger when they receive the news. However, with an increasingly connected community of supporters and parents just like you, the resources and help available can ensure that you and your child lead a happy and fulfilled life. In this post, we will break down what next steps we recommend for parents dealing with a new diagnosis.
First, take a second to breathe. You may have found this post in a frantic search for support and answers. The first thing you should do is start this process with as clear of a head as you can muster. This diagnosis is not your or anyone else’s fault. Autism is not the result of bad parenting, vaccines or any other decision you or your doctors made. As such, do not feel guilty about the diagnosis, and instead focus on seeking support.
Do your own reading, don’t let the doctors or flood of information intimidate you. We recommend taking the time to learn what you can and more importantly, how best to support yourself through this trying time. Consider what you use to cope with stress, who you turn to in times of need and call upon those resources for ways to come down of the initial shock of receiving the diagnosis. Do not isolate yourself, and do ask for help.
Next, we recommend exploring treatment options. If your child is young or still a toddler, you will likely begin to hear the term early-intervention being thrown around. Early-intervention describes the process of getting your child immediate care in their early life to support their development in the most effective way possible.
Your options will vary, but one of the most effective therapies that can serve as early-intervention is Applied Behavior Analysis therapy (ABA), which The Place for Children with Autism offers.We recommend consulting your pediatrician or specialist to talk over the best options for your child.
Be sure to involve your family. Your family can offer you and your child support in a variety of ways. Involving them in this initial process can also better equip and educate them on how to assist your family and get settled into a routine. If they are able, assign them roles, have them help with childcare or seeking resources near them or you.
Re-frame any negative thoughts about disabilities. You may feel hopeless or that your dreams for your child will go unfulfilled. This is not a healthy mindset with which to move forward. Instead, we recommend challenging any of these negative thoughts to the best of your ability. The reality is that many children on the spectrum, especially those that receive support early on, go on to be independent, successful and happy adults that lead fulfilling lives. The path will undoubtedly have its challenges, but with the right mindset, it can be a rewarding and lesson-filled path for yourself, your family and your child.
If you need more support, we recommend joining a support group or reaching out to local organizations who have access to the proper resources. For more autism-related tips and news, be sure to keep up with us on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and feel free to reach out via our contact page to learn more about our services. We are happy to be a resource to you as you tackle the challenges that autism brings. Be sure to read up on our blog for more helpful tips, information and resources.