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Finding out your child has autism can be emotionally trying and overwhelming. After diagnosis, parents are likely filled with uncertainty and may wonder what to do next. The tips below are a starting point to help guide you in the right direction as your family navigates life with autism.

Seek out appropriate treatments

This is one of the first things to do, given the proven benefits of early intervention. Autism treatment usually consists of a structured, intensive therapy program (about 25 hours per week) and likely includes speech, occupational, and physical therapy, as needed.

Some therapy programs focus on behavioral treatment, which targets specific behaviors and skills. Other programs emphasize developmental therapies, which focus on natural play and development of social skills. Examples of common behavioral treatments include Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA, sometimes called Lovaas), Discrete Trial Training, and Pivotal Response Training. Well-known developmental therapies include Floortime (sometimes called DIR) and Relationship Development Intervention (RDI).

There is no single treatment approach that works for all kids, but it’s best to look for programs that encourage parent involvement and set up clearly defined goals that are monitored frequently. Your child’s strengths and weaknesses as well as the established effectiveness of the program should be considered. There is no quick “cure” for autism—be wary of any program that says so. When evaluating treatment programs, start by looking for ones that are “evidence based.” This means they have been rigorously tested in well-designed scientific research studies and have been proven effective.

Address co-existing medical conditions 

If your child has related medical issues, such as gastrointestinal problems, allergies, sleep disturbances, seizures, or ADHD, it’s important to manage them under a physician’s care. It will be much harder for a child to make progress in therapy if he or she is consumed with health problems, so the sooner these can be addressed the better.

Seek help with funding

All children under 3 years old automatically qualify for state-funded early intervention services. Also, check with your local and state agencies to find out about grant opportunities, scholarship funds, and Medicaid waivers. Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income may also be available.

Find a support network

Connecting with other informed parents of kids with autism is a good way to share information and gain emotional support. It can help with the sense of isolation that parents may feel. Autism support groups can be found through your local autism association.

Take time to grieve

It’s important to allow yourself the chance to experience the sadness, anger, and fear that will inevitably follow your child’s diagnosis in order to come to terms with your child’s autism and gain acceptance of it. You will be able to best help to your child when you have a healthy state of mind and have gotten a good emotional handle on the diagnosis.

As daunting as dealing with your child’s autism may seem, having an informed plan of action can make all the difference.

Takeaways

  • Early intervention is a proven way to help kids with autism learn skills they need.
  • There are many types of intervention programs.
  • Your family might qualify for local and federal help.

References

  1. Autism Help. My Child’s Been Diagnosed as Having Autism. What Do I Do Now?
  2. Autism Speaks. 100 Day Kit.
  3. American Academy of Pediatrics. Autism Spectrum Disorders.
  4. National Institutes of Health. Evidence-Based Comprehensive Treatments for Early Autism.
  5. Rosenblatt, A., & Carbone, P. (Eds.). (2012). Autism spectrum disorders: What every parent needs to know. Chicago, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.

Comments

  1. As a new parent to autism, the first thing one needs to do is educate yourself and everyone around your child about autism. Second, look for early intervention centers around your area and get your child started on intervention therapy as soon as possible. Third, be involved in your child’s intervention in every way possible and be an interventionist yourself in his home environment. http://bit.ly/Scopeprogram

    Reply
  2. My nephew was recently diagnosed with Autism. He goes to a group therapy with children that have also been diagnosed. They work on communication, behavior, and emotional strategies. He really enjoys going and it has helped a great deal. He also does individual therapy to work on his individual needs.

    Reply
  3. Homeopathic treatment for Autism offers a strategically planned approach that incorporates medicines in addition to Behavioural therapy, Communication therapy and diet modification. It must be remembered that all these go hand in hand in helping an autistic child. The Homeopathic approach to treating Autistic disorder is holistic in nature i.e. all cases of Autism are treated based on individual presentation. The remedy thus selected is called ‘Constitutional remedy’ and it helps in treating Autism with good results.

    With continued treatment over a period of time, there is a gradual improvement seen in the patient’s behaviour- the children show improved social interaction, their verbal and non-verbal communication also improves over a period of time and repetitive behaviour reduces slowly. Overall, good changes can be seen in children who are given proper treatment with Homeopathy for Autism as compared to those who are not given any therapy.

    http://specialityclinic.com/homeopathic-treatment/disease-conditions/autism

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