Learning that your child has a diagnosis of Autism can never be easy. The range of emotions you experience is difficult to fathom. Whether it came as a shock that has left you reeling, or if you long sensed it and saw it coming, either way, the discovery will bring on a barrage of challenges. As parents, you might find yourselves ridden with anxiety and unsure of how to move ahead. It can be daunting to reimagine what the future looks like, for you, your child and your family. Where do you begin? What do you first seek help for?
At the first step, we need to understand that there is no cure for autism, but there is help and there is hope and that, there is plenty of. The first steps after you find out about your child’s diagnosis will include seeking therapeutic help, restructuring your home and environment according to your child’s needs and of course, educating yourself about everything there is to autism. In our previous posts, we have discussed recognizing autism and what does being on the spectrum mean. These blogs can give you a start with understanding autism.
There is no textbook theory to raising a child with autism. There is however plenty of research, information, enlightening experiences and therapy to help you find your footing. Here are some steps to guide you on the path ahead.
- Educate yourself: This is probably where you make a start. The unknown is what brings on the most anxiety. Understanding what autism means is most important. What does this diagnosis mean? How will it affect your child’s development? Take time to process your child’s diagnosis. Recent years of advocacy has brought about much more awareness about autism. Learning about recommended therapies and activities can give you a new perspective. Educating yourself about what autism means, can take away some of your anxiety. This knowledge can make you feel more capable of handling the challenges ahead of you. Find your balance, if you are overwhelmed by all the information there is out there, especially on the internet, step back and give yourself some time.
- Understand your child: A diagnosis doesn’t change who your child is and what they can accomplish, but you need to remember that children with autism do perceive the world differently. They are better visual learners than verbal learners. They prefer a more structured environment and feel comfortable with a predictable schedule and routine. Many children with autism struggle with sensory difficulties. Understanding your child’s needs and how they perceive their surroundings can help your child feel more comfortable and at ease. Adjusting your home and routine to accommodate their needs can make a huge difference. Keep in mind that it’s sometimes a trial and error approach and what worked once, may not work in the future. So be open to change and accommodate your child’s needs as they grow.
- Early intervention: What are the strengths your child can build on and what are the skills you need to help them with? Get help for your child and early intervention is indispensable. The earlier your child receives intervention, the more effective it will be. Read here to understand more about the need and benefits of early intervention. Depending on your child’s strengths and skills, they may require various forms of therapy, including speech therapy, behavioural therapy, occupational therapy. ABA (applied behaviour analysis) has been seen as one of the most effective and widely accepted forms of therapy for children with autism, as it focuses on manipulating the environment to help the child learn new behaviour and skills. Do your research and consult with your therapist to decide what intervention your child will need.
- Get help for yourself: One thing common among most parents after receiving a life-altering diagnosis for their child is how little time and focus they set aside for themselves. So take time for yourself, step back once in a while. Your child’s diagnosis is a part of your life, focus on yourself, your family and your needs too. Find your support system. Not everyone around you might understand the circumstances and needs of your family. Read blogs written by other parents of children with autism. Join an online support group or a peer group where you can interact with parents who have walked a few miles in your shoes. Hearing about other people’s experiences and victories can help you feel less alone and more hopeful.
Don’t let a diagnosis of Autism intimidate you. Your child is the same child they were before the diagnosis. Getting the right assistance, support and information can help navigate finding the best possible outcome for your child and your family. Even if you feel alone and scared at first, remember you will feel differently and better as you gain time and guidance to process the diagnosis. Your child won’t outgrow their autism but they will learn to cope, build skills and achieve their potential.
Remember, you know your child best and you are doing the best you can for them. Be kind to yourself, reach out for help and this journey won’t seem so lonely.
That’s what we’re here for. Call or Whatsapp us at +91 8056668943 so we can help you and your child.