As a parent of a newly (or not-so-newly) diagnosed child with Autism, you know how confusing it can be to find good information about this spectrum disorder. The good news is that you can do a lot to help your child succeed! Whether or not your child can talk, dress independently, follow instructions, many studies show that early intervention for kids with Autism leads to better results and noticeable progress! Your child may qualify for Early Intervention services through your state, or you may choose to find therapies privately. Often, the greater the investment, the better return on investment you’ll get!
Keep in mind that when you search for the right kind of intervention, you’ll probably be inundated with information about all kinds of therapies, ranging from typical therapies (i.e., ABA therapy, speech therapy) to some that are downright strange. Do your research before signing on to anything that sounds too good to be true, because it probably isn’t. While your child’s skills can and will improve, know that it takes a hefty dose of hard work and time for your child to make sustained progress.
As a parent, you know that a child’s first words are music to a parent’s ears! One of the first steps to teaching a child with Autism is teaching him to communicate. Your child may learn to use verbal speech or you may be recommended to use an alternate method (picture/icon exchange system or Alternative Augmentative Communication device). Don’t panic! Research has shown that using verbal speech alongside an alternative communication method (PECS/AAC) has enabled children to communicate verbally, too! Practicing with your child at home will help him move along faster!
Never forget that you’re the parent, and you know your child best! You may not know all that research has to offer, but you are familiar with your child’s likes, sensitivities, strengths, weak spots. You are your child’s best advocate, and sharing these details can help the professionals help him better.