If you’ve recently learned about your child’s autism, you’re likely feeling stressed, overwhelmed, confused, and unsure about what to do next. You may feel indifferent and as if you can’t support your child to the best of your ability—But you can, and you will.
There’s a lot to learn about the new journey you and your family will go through, but don’t worry. Here are your next steps after receiving your child’s autism diagnosis.
Take a Deep Breath
When you get your child’s diagnosis, it’s tempting to stay up all night and try to learn every fact and detail about autism. Although it’s important to inform yourself, your family, and your child about autism, it’s also essential to stop and take a breath.
Take a moment to digest the diagnosis and accept it. There’s nothing wrong with your child, they just have a different way of processing information, and that’s okay! You and your child will be able to go through this life’s journey with so many beautiful memories, happy moments, and lots of laughter.
Find Help and Support
One of the first steps to take after receiving your child’s autism diagnosis is to look into programs that can help support your child and your family. Early intervention will help your child improve and develop social, behavioral, and communication skills. Therapies and other programs can help the entire family adjust to their new normal.
Some of these programs include:
- Social skill building
- ABA therapy
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Developmental therapy
- Speech and vocal therapy
Reach Out to Others
Often, parents of children with autism believe that they have to handle things themselves and that they’re a burden to the ones around them. You need to reach out and find support from family, friends, and other parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Why? Because you can learn how to advocate for your child and help them navigate this big scary world with the support of those who care.
You don’t have to go through this alone, and you could benefit from helpful tips and advice you gain along the way.
Create a Structured Environment
Children with autism often seek structured routines and environments. Whether they have an emotional attachment to a specific toy, wear the same jacket, or listen to the same song every morning, it’s comforting to your child, and it’s best not to disturb them without warning.
Having a schedule and routine will help your child throughout the day while leaving room for new experiences and activities as the days pass. However, it would be best if you told your child beforehand if there are any changes to the routine to prevent anxiety and stress.
Listen to Your Child
Your child knows themselves more than anyone else. You can offer the greatest support by listening to your child and acknowledging their efforts, needs, and desires. Teach your child different ways to communicate other than verbally. Using pictures, mobile apps, pointing, gesturing, writing, drawing, and physically directing will help boost socialization and communication in your child.