Top 10 ‘Ought to Knows’ for the newly diagnosed!
1. Early diagnosis and early treatment have best results
Research shows that children who receive quality therapy in their earlier years tend to do better in the long run. It may be overwhelming to figure out how all these therapy hours can fit into your life, but once you get started and see results, it will all be worthwhile.
2. Find out what works!
There are all kinds of therapies out there, and some may appeal to you more than others. Look for therapies that are research-based and most likely to yield results for your child and your family. Alternative therapies are like a cherry on top, but the meat and potatoes of treatment must be research-based.
3. Communication is key
Teaching communication is by far the top of every parent’s goal list. And rightfully so! One of the most important components of a good treatment package for a child with autism/ASD is good speech and language therapy. Even other interventionists (such as DI, SEIT, and ABA technicians) will be happy to collaborate and embed language skills within other teaching opportunities.
4. You know your child best
As a parent, you know your child better than anyone else! You may not have the technical jargon, but you definitely know your child’s likes, dislikes, strengths, and weak spots. As such, you are your child’s best advocate! Be sure that you are comfortable with the therapy that is being provided for your child. It has to work for both of you in order for it to be effective.
5. Don’t compare!
Resist the temptation to compare your child with another child who has a similar diagnosis. The diagnosis of Autism/ASD includes a range of abilities, as well as disabilities, and your child will need support in those areas of weakness that are particular to him. Focus on his strengths, as well, since these will help build a foundation for continued learning and progress.
6. Books that can guide you
There are many parent-friendly books that can guide you at any stage. Books are a great resource, as you can read them from the privacy of your own home, and absorb the information at your own pace. All kinds of books can be helpful, whether informational, treatment-based books or supportive books that can help you understand yourself as you embark on a new journey with your child.
7. Find the available resources in your area
There are many autism-affiliated organizations and forums that can be of help to you. From family events, support networks, and informational forums, to online blogs where you can ask questions and hear from others, reaching out and networking is something that you as a parent will gain from. We all need support, and you can find a medium that works for you, in your local area.
8. Insurance can pay for your child’s therapy
Your insurance policy might cover treatment options to help you child progress! These interventions can include ABA therapy, Speech therapy, as well as Occupational and Physical therapies. A robust therapeutic approach can help your child make gains in many areas at once.
9. Progress is a process
We all want to see progress right away, but progress isn’t always immediate. Establishing structure that will help your child learn and progress can take some time. However, be assertive enough to know whether or not you are seeing progress over a period of time. If you don’t see enough progress, ask about it, as it may indicate a need for a change in technique or teaching style.
10. You are not alone!
Thinking that you are on your own can feel isolating, and downright depressing. There are many people who are in the same boat, or further along on their journey, and would be happy to share their moments of joy, as well as moments of pain, with you. Finding the proper support for yourself can directly and positively affect your child, your spouse and your family.