With the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) on the rise, more and more families are faced with what to do next. A new autism diagnosis can be life changing and every family handles the challenge differently. Just like every child with autism, a family’s journey is also unique. Here are some things to think about after the initial ASD diagnosis:
Take a few days to digest the information. Take deep breaths and go for a calming walk. You need time to plan how you will proceed.
Stay positive. Research has proven that Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), in combination with other educational behavioral modifications, makes a big difference. Your loved one can make great strides with the right interventions.
Build your support system. Find people you trust and lean on them during this time. Invite friends and family to come with you to meetings. Let them help you conduct research and find resources for next steps. You will be surprised at the network of resources you already have at your fingertips.
Make time for your child and family. It is important for your wellbeing. It is helpful to include siblings in the diagnosis process, as they will be affected. Take some time to explain what is happening and how your family will proceed.
Find reputable resources. Within your community, there are local and state organizations, autism associations and resources that are helpful. Be sure they are accredited and reliable.
Set goals. Start small, with weekly tasks you need to complete, and long-term goals for a successful future.
Maintain a record of all evaluations, reports, and documents related to your child’s diagnosis. Use a binder for hard copy documents, electronic folder or both!
Here are some resources to help you get started. Feel free to contact us for further guidance or information:
The First 100 Days: Autism Speaks https://www.autismspeaks.org/tool-kit/100-day-kit-young-children
Find a Provider: BACB
Books for Siblings: https://www.appliedbehavioranalysisprograms.com/autism-books-for-siblings/
Kristen Schreck-Manny is the Director of Insurance Services at Family of Kidz.