Top 10 Things to Do After Your Child’s Autism Diagnosis

autism awareness ribbonEditor’s Note: The tips in this post were provided by Autism Today (www.AutismToday.com), a resource website for autism that was founded by Karen Simmons, a mom of six kids (two with special needs).  The advice below is aimed at helping parents who are dealing with autism for the first time.

1. Start Local. Find a strong local support system and learn what is available in your area. Reach out to nearby cities if needed.

2. Utilize the Internet. Go to reliable websites with autism resources to educate yourself on programs, services, interventions, therapies, and supports.

3. Qualify Your Doctor. Locate a medical doctor who specializes in autism and has experience treating autism. A referral from other parents or a reputable autism organization is best.

4. Look Into Special Services. Check for related health services focused on speech and language, recreational therapy, occupational therapy, physical and behavioral therapy, etc.

5. Reach Out for Help. Make use of specific government agencies and public services that support autism, especially in the early intervention arena.

6. Educate Your Family. Teach relatives, friends, neighbors, and your child’s siblings and peers about autism and share what  your family is going through. Help them be more accepting and to understand the challenges.

7. Get Up to Speed. Stay current with the latest medical, biomedical, behavioral, and education services so you can pick and choose what is right for your child and your family.

8. Be Involved. Attend conferences focused on educational information and network with other individuals with autism, families, and professionals in the field. You may find lifelong alliances!

9. Take Frequent Breaks. Find and take advantage of  respite for yourselves.  As caregivers, you will need it.

10. Plan for the Future. Autism is a lifelong disorder and is not going to go away, but with proper interventions, it improves over time.  And as long as parents, caregivers, and other supporters have the best mindset, a child they can be guided toward leading a happy, fulfilling life.

More about autism on Parents.com

Image: A puzzle patterned ribbon symoblizing autism awareness via Shutterstock.

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