About 1 out of every 100 people living on earth are on the autistic spectrum.
For many, that number is greater than they anticipated. And while autism is often accompanied with a variety of challenges, the large number of people dealing with the disorder brings a degree of comfort to sufferers and their support systems given that, chances are, there is always somebody nearby that can empathize.
If your child is diagnosed with autism, you may be feeling an array of emotions. Stress, fear, sadness, confusion… These are all natural go-to’s post-diagnosis and things that are 100% okay to feel.
After you come down from your initial wave of emotions, it’s important to take productive steps to better prepare you, your child, and your family for what’s to come.
Below, we outline what some of those steps might include.
1. Consider When to Tell Your Child That They’re Autistic
There is no perfect time to tell autism sufferers that they have autism. Some parents approach this topic with even their young children directly after diagnosis. Others wait for their kids to get older before having the discussion.
What you choose to do is up to you as a parent. Just be aware that your child may start to notice differences between them and other children in school that they won’t be able to explain without being clued in on their uniqueness.
2. Talk to Your Family
Autism isn’t a disorder that just affects a single person. It’s a disorder that affects the sufferer and their support system.
There’s no doubt that your autistic child will require more attention and may require a lot more patience than other members of your family.
Your partner and other children coming to terms with this reality as soon as possible can ensure that your autistic child can grow up in a safe environment. It can also help curb frustration that other members of your family may start to experience.
3. Arrange School Support
Most public schools offer special services for children that are clinically diagnosed as autistic. Some schools may even be willing to extend these services to your child pre-diagnosis if you schedule the time to talk to your school’s counselors about your concerns.
Special services could include one-on-one help in class and out on the playground. It could also include moving your child into a learning environment that will be more tailored to their individual needs.
4. Look into Out of School Resources
When your child is diagnosed with autism, a school shouldn’t be the only place where they receive support. You should also be looking into out of school help to give your child valuable resources in varied settings.
Many communities have after-school programs targeted at special needs communities. Larger organizations like “Autism Speaks” may also hold community events in your area on a monthly basis that are worth looking into.
Talk to your child’s educators to see if they’re aware of any after-school programs that your child could benefit from. You’re also welcome to contact your city hall to find out if any local services are commonly recommended to people that live in your area.
This site may be able to offer additional perspective on learning and treatment resources.
5. Assess What Benefits You May Qualify For
The amount of extra care autism sufferers may require often leads to increased expenses. After school caretakers might charge a premium for special needs services, you may find yourself needing to take time off work to deal with unexpected school situations… The possibilities and their associated costs are endless.
If you’re finding autism to be an added financial burden that your family is having trouble shouldering, be aware that state and federal resources may exist that can help you financially.
Discuss possibilities with autism organizations in your area or probe online for more details.
6. Don’t Lose Sight of Your Other Children’s Feelings
One of your autistic child’s best resources when it comes to developing better social and communication skills will be their brothers and sisters. Because of that, it’s important that your other children don’t feel left behind because of your autistic child’s condition which could lead to resentment and could hamper their willingness to be supportive.
The best way for you to ensure that your non-autistic children advocate for, help, and better understand their affected sibling is to be as proactive as possible when it comes to appreciating their feelings.
Let your other children know that they’re safe to vent to you when they feel frustrated with the situation. Empathize with them and always do your best to be real about how you’re feeling.
In addition to listening to your other children, take time to help them feel special. Do activities just with them occasionally. Let them have some separation from their autistic sibling if they’re feeling frustrated by allowing them to visit with friends or sleepover.
Bottom line, after your child is diagnosed with autism, doing whatever you can to create a supportive and safe environment for all of your children is time well spent.
Wrapping Up What to Do When Your Child Is Diagnosed With Autism
The six steps above are topical things that you can do after your child is diagnosed with autism so they can achieve their potential and so the disorder doesn’t have a negative effect on family members.
In addition to everything that we’ve mentioned above, make sure that you never lose sight of what your needs are. It’s okay to feel frustrated or to take a break now and again.
Give the situation your all, be forgiving to yourself, and keep learning as much as you can about autism.
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