How to Deal with Autism Diagnosis?
You have just learned that your child has been diagnosed with autism. As a caregiver or as a parent, for some of you, the news might come as a shock while others may have been expecting it. Regardless, most caregivers and parents who receive this diagnosis, are faced with a lot of uncertainty and struggle to imagine their child’s future. It might bring you some comfort to know that you are not alone. It is completely normal to feel this way.
One of the essential things to remember is that although there is no cure for autism, there is hope. With time, your child will be able to learn and acquire new skills to maximize their potential. In this blog, we will discuss some tips to help you deal with a new diagnosis of autism.
Give time to yourself
Various people react to a new diagnosis in different ways. To some who have been anticipating it, it may come as a confirmation or sense of relief, while to others, it may come as a shocking surprise. Remember to give yourself enough time to process the new information that you have received. It will take you some time to come to terms with a new diagnosis of autism. In the process, please remember that help and support are always available.
Points to remember:
- Help and support are available
- Things may seem difficult now, but they can get better.
- Autism is not an illness neither is it a disease
- Your child is still the same person they were before the diagnosis of autism
- Autistics excel at some skills while they might need help with others
How and where to find support?
You can get help from numerous places:
- Local and national support groups
- Social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter
- At your child’s school or college
- Your child’s autism assessment team
Listen to other autistic people and their caregiver’s stories and experiences
Many people find it reassuring to listen to another person’s stories and experiences with autism. However, remember that these may not always apply to you or your child. Each one has their own experiences with autism.
You can listen to various perspectives such as:
- Stories of autistic people: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/stories.html
- Stories of parents of autistic children: https://www.thinkingautism.org.uk/taking-action/testimonials/
- Stories of grandparents of autistic children: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/uk/health/health-advice/a566932/the-realities-of-being-a-grandparent-of-an-autistic-child/
- Stories of siblings of autistic children: https://raisingchildren.net.au/autism/children-autism-videos/siblings-of-autistic-children
Find some blogs, videos, or books on autism.
When one first gets a diagnosis of autism, you may have many questions going through your mind. With the help of your child’s autism assessment team, try to get relevant blogs, videos, or books, whichever you prefer, to help you understand autism better. Always consult your child’s team when you have any doubts or queries.
Check if your child has other health conditions
We know that autism is not an illness nor a disease. However, many autistic children have other associated health conditions. Some of the commonly occurring medical conditions include anxiety, eating disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, sleep disorders, seizures, speech and language difficulties, motor issues, and much more. And it might not always be possible to detect these conditions during the first visit. Consult with your child’s doctor to check for any other health conditions.
Find out about how you can help your child
Find out more about autism and how you can help your child. You can try making a list of concerns that you have and address them one at a time. If you find concerns about your child’s speech and language skills, fine and gross motor developmental milestones, etc. your child may require support in terms of speech and language services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, etc. Always consult with the appropriate professionals to check if your child would require and benefit from these services.
All of this can be quite a lot to take in. Take one step at a time. You do not have to know everything about autism immediately. If you have any queries about how to deal with a new diagnosis of autism, do not hesitate to contact your child’s autism assessment team.
You can get more information from:
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