Four Things to Do after Your Child is Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder4/3/2019 By Mariel Spicer, BCBA
An autism spectrum disorder diagnosis can be overwhelming. You may feel like there's so much to do and have no idea where to begin. Here are four things you can do that will help you make the best decisions for your family.
1. Take some time to process the diagnosis.
You want to learn all you can about autism spectrum disorder, you want your child to have the best resources available, and you want to take action right away. On top of that, the future you had planned for your child has changed—that takes a while to get used to. After your child is diagnosed with ASD, take some time to process everything. Hang out with your family. Spend some time appreciating that unique kid that you love so much. You have some challenges ahead of you, but you have amazing milestones ahead of you too! Next, take some time to figure out how your child’s new needs will fit into your family’s routine. Getting your child the resources they need is a huge time commitment. At AIM Clinics, we spend 15-20 hours a week on average doing ABA therapy with each child. Time commitments like this will help ensure your child makes incredible progress!
2. Join the community.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and that is especially true after an autism diagnosis. There is a community of other parents of children with autism who have been in your shoes, and they can give you advice, recommendations or just be friends you can relate to. To join your local community, look for organizations or support groups in your area. You’ll meet other parents while learning more about Autism Spectrum Disorder. Click here for a list of organizations in Arkansas and here for a list of organizations in Oklahoma.
Attending events is a great way to get the family out for a fun day and meet other parents of children with autism in your area. The organizations and support groups you join will be a great way to find out about events. If you’re not sure where to start, the Autism Speaks Walk is an annual event that can help you plunge into the community while you support autism awareness. Click here to find the one closest to you.
To build an online support system that will keep you constantly connected, follow autism awareness Facebook pages and join Facebook groups for parents of children with autism. These online connections allow you to meet parents from all over the world. The best part? When your in-person friends are busy, your online friends will be ready to chat.
3. Read! Read! Read!
You probably have a stack of papers to read and a list of websites you want to explore. Honestly, Step 2 should probably be added to your list. Now is the time to dive in and start reading. If you feel overwhelmed by everything that’s out there and don’t know where to begin, Autism Speaks is a great place to get started. They have everything from general explanations of autism spectrum disorder to specific guides for grandparents and siblings. If you want to learn more about ABA therapy or need advice about specific things, like potty training a child with autism, explore our website! On our blog, a team of Board Certified Behavior Analysts give advice about things like reducing aggressive behavior, improving communication and language skills and transitioning between activities. We’re always working to expand our resources and give parents everything they need to help their kids thrive.
4. Ask questions.
You’re getting a lot of information thrown at you, and you want to make the best decisions for your child. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. And we mean a lot. The more you know about your child’s diagnosis, the easier it will be to plan for their bright future. If you’re worried about coming across as annoying or needy, go ahead and let that go. It’s critical that your healthcare providers give you the information you need to help your child. If you want to know more about ABA therapy at AIM Clinics, we’d love to answer all of your questions. We believe in the power of ABA therapy, and we know it’s more effective the sooner you start. Give us a call at (833) TALK-AIM or (833) 825-5246 to learn more about ABA, discuss insurance, or ask us any other questions!