Your child has just been diagnosed with autism. You are confused and probably have more questions than you do answers. Why? What caused this? Was it something you did? Or didn’t do? Will your child be able to go to school, get a job, get married? Will your child have a “normal” life? Your head is probably swimming with all these questions - and many more. You have no idea what to do or where to turn.
So what do you do first? The following are 5 steps you can take after your child has been diagnosed with autism:
Write down your questions and make an appointment for an extended visit with your doctor. When the doctor first told you your child had autism, you may have been shocked, even if you suspected autism. Chances are, you didn’t ask a lot of questions. Maybe your child was in the room with you and you felt a longer conversation should be done with just you and the doctor, maybe you had so many questions, you didn’t know where to start or maybe, you didn’t know what to ask. Taking a day or two to process the information and then sit down, with your list of questions, with your child’s doctor will help you better understand the situation.
Learn all you can. Read books, visit websites and talk with other parents of children with autism. Find out as much information as you can handle. The more information you have, the better you will be able to make informed decisions about your child’s medical care and education.
Look for local resources and specialists. When doing research on autism, keep track of local resources, such as support groups, specialists and educational opportunities. Depending on your child’s symptoms, you may need a pediatric neurologist, speech and language pathologist, occupational therapist and physical therapist. Your pediatrician, local school and parent support groups are all places to start. If you can’t find a local support group, search for an online group where you can ask questions, talk to other parents about their experiences and find encouragement.
Contact your insurance company. Find out what types of services are covered, what your co-payment, deductible and out-of-pocket expenses are going to be. Some programs, such as Early Intervention Services are offered through your county without any cost to you, but it is important to be aware of your insurance coverage and the services that are included.
Look for the best in your child. After receiving a diagnosis of autism, it is natural to watch your child’s behavior with a “new set of eyes” so to speak. Now that you have learned a little bit about children with autism and the symptoms and problems that may come up, behaviors you once saw as part of your child’s personality now strike fear in you. Slow down, your child is still the same child you loved before the diagnosis. He may have quirks and oddities, but he is also amazing. While you probably have some frustrating days ahead, remember that raising a child with autism can also be rewarding.
Published On: November 09, 2012