The next steps…

Having a child with a diagnosis of autism is stressful for parents.  It is very important that you realize that there is a lot you can do to help your child so he or she can thrive and gain the necessary skills required to live a full life with family, friends and in the community.

Once you have wrapped your head around the diagnosis, having a plan of action to get the best possible help for your child is the most important step you can take.  Remember, early intervention is key and it is your child’s best hope for the future.

Below are the first few steps I suggest you take on your new journey:

1.  Educate yourself about Autism. There is so much information out there and educating yourself is vital to understanding this disorder. I suggest avoiding books that claim to ‘cure’ autism.  There is no cure for autism.

2.  Place your child’s name on wait-lists for free government services.  Now that you have a diagnosis, you should take advantage of the services and support available.  The wait-times are long so do this as soon as you possibly can.

3.  Find a behavioural therapist.  Meet with as many providers as possible so that you can feel confident you’ve made the right decision for your child.

4.  Your child will likely require speech therapy.  Find a qualified speech-language pathologist who has experience working with children with autism.

5.  Your child may require an Occupational Therapist (OT).  An OT can help kids with various needs improve their cognitive, physical, sensory, and motor skills. OT can range in cost anywhere from $80-$170 per hour.

6.  Find support. This is an overwhelming time in your life and you will need to lean on your family and friends for help.

7.  Lastly, stay positive.  This is easier said than done but try to think of a diagnosis as a first step to getting your child the help he or she needs.

This is an endless journey with many twists and turns along the way.  You are not alone!