Learning about your child’s autism post-diagnosis can be quite a challenging and hard time. Autism Spectrum Disorder is a disorder that affects the developmental and communication skills of the child. Since mental disorders are still are a taboo, you might find it hard to talk to people about ASD. You might even find it hard to look for proper research and experts who can help you.
Post Diagnosis can be quite a hard time for parents with children suffering from ASD. You do not know how to proceed, what to do next, and how to take care of your child. Everyone might be telling you different things and you might get even more confused. Yet, this is the most vital time. Post diagnosis is the time when you need to look for resources that can help your child. To help you through the process, we have a listed step by step process of what to do after the diagnosis.
Take some time out to Process
When you first get the diagnosis that your child is suffering from ASD, it can be quite hard to process. You will feel confused, worried, angry, and sad. Take some time out and process. Just read the diagnosis, take some time out for yourself, and accept what your child is suffering from. By processing the diagnosis, you will be more capable of handling your own emotions and your child’s.
Understand The Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder, like most mental disorders, is hardly spoken about. Thus, you might not know a lot about it when you first hear about it. This is the time to go and read as much as you can. Look upon the internet, talk to local therapists, psychologists, and doctors to know more about these disorders.
The more information you are equipped with the more you will be able to handle ASD in a better way. Once you read, you will also start to know about the symptoms your child is facing and how to effectively handle them.
Look For Resources and Plan Ahead
Autism is not a disorder that goes away. It stays with your child as they go through the levels of development. However, the disorder can certainly be curbed and your child can learn new skills and effective ways to thrive with autism. Once you have understood and processed the diagnosis, make a list of all the resources you will need. Make a rough budget for what you need, to ensure that you have the required finances.
Find a therapist and a special school. You then need to stay in constant touch with the therapist and the teacher to know how well your child is doing and where your child is lacking. Then, you need to find out effective therapy techniques or creative classes that can help your child. After this, you need to research and plan for your child’s future. You need to set aside a fund and look into colleges and universities that are welcoming to children with autism. The more you plan the easier your child’s transition from a kid to teenage and then adulthood will be.
Plan The Your Child’s Treatment
Children suffering from ASD might not have the same kind of symptoms. You need to personalize the treatment plan for your child according to their needs and interests. You should meet up with tori child’s therapists and come out with some pointers:
- What are my child’s weak points and what are their strengths?
- Which important life skill does my child need to learn to grow?
- What makes my child irritable or overly sensitive?
- Which behaviors of my child are most concerning?
- By which method does my child learn the most- verbal, gestures, audiovisuals, or by practice?
- Which activities does my child enjoy the most?
Once you note these down, you can empty the best possible treatment plan for your child. You should also make sure that you are involved at all times. Your involvement in your child’s life is crucial at this stage. It will give them the needed comfort and warmth.
See The Symptoms
Once you have come to know about your child’s disorder, observe your child. See what kind of sensory sensitivities your child has. Many children suffering from autism are hypersensitive to sounds, lights, touch, smell, and taste. While other children are under sensitive. Notice what kind of reactions your child gives when they are exposed to all the five sensations. Are they excited? Do they get scared? Are they enjoying it?
Once you understand what is affecting your child in what way, you can then deal and handle situations in a better way
There are many autism treatments and therapies that you can choose from. While all of these therapies are effective, it also varies from child to child. Each child responds to therapy in their way. So you might need to keep trying different therapies to finally get the one perfect for your child.
Some autism therapies focus on building long-lasting relationships and building social skills. While others deal with motor skills, emotional issues, and repetitive behavior.
Before closing any particular therapy, research thoroughly. Understand all the different therapies available for autism. Talk to experts and understand what your child requires.
Some of the most common autism therapies are behavior therapy, non-verbal therapy, play therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.
Make sure that the techniques learned in therapy are practiced at home as well. The key to successfully learning is through practice.
Create A Safety Zone At Home
After you have processed the diagnosis, taken to therapists, and found about special schools, next you need to focus on your own house. You need to create a safe private space in your house for your child to relax in. Children suffering from autism often feel anxious and insecure. You need to create a space for your child to be in that space if they need it.
You also need to safety proof your house if your child is vulnerable to frequent tantrums and self-harm.
Consistency is the Key
Children with autism have a hard time dealing with changes. They also have a difficult time applying what they have learned in an environment to another. For example, Your child might respond to visual cues in therapy but might shut down completely at home. This is not uncommon.
To counter that, you need to create some kind of consistency in your child’s life. Talk to the therapist and understand in detail the kind of techniques they are using. Practice that same technique at home, and gradually your child will start opening up as well.
You can also explore the idea of having therapy in different places, which will help your child learn about different settings.
Set Up A Schedule
Children suffering from ASD tend to follow a highly detailed and structured routine. Anything that disturbs the routine will irritate them and make them frustrated. This can be quite a challenge. However, you need to set up a schedule for your child. Plan regular meal times, school time, therapy time, playtime, and bedtime. This will help your child fall into a healthy routine. If by any chance there is a change, no matter how small it, you need to prepare your child in advance. If school is canceled for the day or if your therapist is out of town, you need to sit and prepare your child.
Find help and support
It can get quite overwhelming and exhausting to care for a child suffering from ASD. It isn’t easy to raise a child with autism, and it can tire you out. This is the time you need to take care of yourself to.
You have to understand that you cannot do everything on your own. You don’t have to either. There are many support groups, counseling and other care programs that can help you and your child tremendously
Support Groups: There are some wonderful ASD support groups that you can join. This way you can meet other families and learn about their challenges and how they cope with it. You can get great tips and advice from fellow parents about how they care for their children suffering from autism.
Support groups for ASD are also a great way to remember that you are not alone. Other families and children are going through this,
Counseling: Right after the diagnosis, it can get quite hard for you to handle everything. You will feel alarming levels of stress, anxiety and you won’t know what to do when your child starts to show symptoms. This is a good time to take some family counseling and talk about the challenges of caring for a child suffering from autism. It will help you vent out.
Positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to help children with ASD learn new behaviors. Whenever you see them doing something new or learning a new skill, you need to reward them. Also, make sure that you are telling your child which specific behavior you are rewarding. You can find different ways to reward your child, like giving them a new toy.
Post diagnosis can be quite an emotional and challenging time. However, all of these steps will help you manage it effectively. They will also help your child grow and learn in the best way possible.