Does your child have a recent autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis? It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed or anxious right now. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help yourself, your family, and your child. If you’re not sure what to do next, take a look at some next possible steps.
You aren’t in this alone. If you’re not sure where to start or who to turn to, ask your child’s diagnosing doctor or other autism-related professional. It’s not always easy to navigate your way through the world of early intervention and other services. The doctor (or other professional) can connect your family with:
If you’re not sure what to ask (or who to ask), give yourself time. No one expects you to educate yourself overnight. Take a breath, start a list, and make professional discussions (with doctors, behavioral specialist, educators, or other related experts) an ongoing process.
The ability to effectively communicate with the new behavioral and therapeutic professionals in your family’s life will make life easier for everyone. As you meet your child’s new therapists, teachers, and other helpers, ask about terms you should familiarize yourself with.
These may include:
Along with these therapy-based terms, you’ll learn other autism-specific vocabulary over time. These words may include echolalia (the repetition of words, phrases, or sounds), emotional regulation (control of feelings), expressive language (verbalization), functional play (using objects for the intended purposes), sensory (experiencing through the senses), and nonverbal behaviors.
Consistency is key — for both you and your child. Now that your child has a diagnosis and you’ve connected to professionals, it’s time to set up a realistic schedule that benefits your child. While it’s tempting to schedule as many therapy appointments as possible, this may overwhelm or overstimulate your child.
As you create a new schedule for your child, consider:
Even though your child will need some types of therapy, their recent diagnosis doesn’t have to dominate their schedule. Make space in your child’s schedule for family-time, friend-time, and anything else they enjoy.
Is your child ready to start ABA? Contact ABA Adaptive Services for more information.