My Child Has Autism: Now What?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnoses are becoming more common. What was once a largely misunderstood disability is quickly evolving into a more common and understood diagnosis in our society. As a parent, however, news of an ASD Diagnosis can be a lot to process.

So what is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong neurodevelopmental condition that affects an individual’s social interaction, communication skills, and behavior. It is referred to as a “spectrum” because it encompasses a wide range of symptoms and levels of severity. Some children with ASD may have significant challenges in social interactions and communication, while others may have exceptional skills in specific areas.

mom and girl

Early Signs and Symptoms

Recognizing the early signs of ASD is crucial for early intervention. Common signs include delayed speech and language development, difficulty with social interactions, repetitive behaviors, sensory sensitivities and intense interests in specific topics. However, it’s important to note that every ASD diagnosis is unique and symptoms can vary widely. 

If you suspect your child may have ASD, it’s important to seek a professional evaluation. A comprehensive assessment can help in obtaining an accurate diagnosis specific to your child. Diagnostic criteria are based on behavioral observations, developmental history, and standardized assessments.

boy writing in school

Treatment and Intervention

While there is no cure for ASD, early intervention and appropriate therapies can significantly improve outcomes. Treatment plans are often tailored to address individual needs and may include behavioral interventions, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and social skills training. Parental involvement and collaboration with professionals play a crucial role in the success of interventions.

So how can you support your child?

Creating a supportive and inclusive environment is essential for children with ASD to thrive. And with conversations of Neurodiversity gaining traction, there are more and more services created to support children with ASD. Check your community for specialized schools, social skills groups, therapeutic treatments and even physical environments designed specifically to support heightened sensory processing. 

Some more strategies include establishing routine, providing clear and consistent communication, using visual aids, minimizing sensory overload, and fostering a positive and accepting attitude. And remember, while these are valuable resources, every ASD diagnosis is extremely unique. Take time to understand what it is specifically your child needs and seek that care out within the community.

mom and son on computer

Despite the negative stigma surrounding an ASD Diagnosis, it is possible for your child to thrive and lead a fulfilling life. With every challenge of a diagnosis comes an unbelievable strength and as a parent, you have the opportunity to discover and foster those strengths within your child. Embrace your child’s individuality, celebrate their achievements and focus on their potential rather than limitations.

 

Finally, remember that you and your family are not alone. The number of ASD diagnoses is constantly rising, with professionals realizing it’s a much more common diagnosis than expected. Seek out like-minded families in your community; the support surrounding you may be closer than you realize. If you need additional support, please connect with a member of Decade2Connect today!

Our Intensive Outpatient Program is in-network with United!