How to Handle Your Child's Autism Diagnosis

Always Remember to Ask for Help

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Brooke Slezak

Helping your child manage autism is a lifelong journey, and your child's best friend, advocate, and supporter from day one is you. "The analogy many parents of children with autism hear is that this is a marathon, not a sprint. And you will exhaust yourself. You need to pace yourself because this is for the rest of your life," says Goring. As important as it is to seek the best interventions and therapies when your child is still at a young age, it is also important to get help when you need it and look after your own health and well-being and that of other family members. "No one can run on empty and no one can do it alone. You are on the road to becoming an expert in autism and all its many facets. You are absorbing stress levels that can be detrimental to a marriage," Goring says.

Most parents of children with autism emphasize the need to decompress, take breaks, and ask for help. Dr. Sadiq recommends to many of her patients' families that they do whatever they can to keep the family healthy. "Join a support group, talk it out, get outside and take a walk, ask family members to give you some respite. Or look into what your state offers by way of respite services," she says. "Often, the parents I see leave my office thinking they have to go at this alone, and that is not the case. Everyone needs to ask for help. We all must put an emphasis on seeking happiness."

Dilshad D. Ali is a journalist and editor who has written about autism for Azizah Magazine and She has advocated for autism insurance legislation in Virginia, where she is based.

Copyright © 2011 Meredith Corporation. Reviewed and updated 2013.

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