Living with Autism
Author: Jeannie Fleming-Gifford
Are you wondering how you and your family will do it? If your child has been diagnosed with Autism, you may be feeling overwhelmed and wondering what to do next. Even though you may have known from the earliest days that your child was not developing typically, a confirmed diagnosis may open up another host of questions and concerns.
As you navigate this journey, there are things you can do and things you should know about living with Autism.
First of all, take a deep breath and realize that your child is the same child they were before this diagnosis. A diagnosis will only provide you more support and help you recognize areas in which your child may need more help and guidance. Now, you will be able to identify those areas and move forward. Also, realize that you and your family are not alone. Recent statistics indicate as many as 1.5 million individuals in the United States have some form of Autism.
Remember, Autism is a "spectrum disorder." This means that not one diagnosis fits all. The word Autism may mean that your child has challenges socially, or perhaps has sensory issues or language delays. Take time to explore and understand your child's strengths and their challenges. Where do they need the most support?
Next, research your resources. Search nationally and locally. Ask questions. With every bit of research, you will acquire information that will help with decision-making. You may be surprised at the networks and support that can be easily accessed that will support your child and your family.
Now, it's time to make a plan. There are many ways in which children and families can be assisted following an Autism diagnosis.
Your plan may include beginning some basic therapies. Start gradually so you can easily assess the impact of each type of therapy and also to allow you and your child to build these new relationships.
Be sure to think of respite for yourself and your significant other. Reach out to family, friends, and local resources. Caring for a child, whether they have Autism or not, can be stressful. Remember, every child needs a family that is healthy and happy.