Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Diagnosis: Autism

If your child has been diagnosed with autism, you’re probably a little in shock. This is perfectly normal – as are being angry, not believing it at first and being very saddened by the news. You are probably wondering, ‘why MY child,’ and you may even feel like all the dreams you’ve had for your child are shattering around your feet.

What you should know is that your child CAN have a great life – and Autism may be life-altering, but it’s not life-ending. Below, you will find some important information about what steps to take next when your child has been given the diagnosis: Autism.

Speak First with Your Doctor –

As stated above, many parents simply don’t believe that this is happening to their child. If this is the case with you, you may seek a second opinion. If you do, and the diagnosis comes back the same – it’s time to accept the facts. Realize that this is not as bad as it could be and that there are many resources for children with Autism. Talk about possible treatment options with your doctor and what options are available to your child.

Explain the Diagnosis to Your Child –

If your child is at the age where he or she can understand, it’s important to explain to them what is going on. You want to include your child in the loop and let them know that they are going to be alright, but that you will probably need to take very special care of him or her. Don’t make your child feel like a victim or dwell on his or her handicap – just put the diagnosis in terms that he or she can understand and accept. By doing this, your child will learn to trust you more. Being open with your child is important and will help prepare them for some of the coming changes.

Do Some Research on Your Own –

While it is important to speak with your doctor, it’s also important to do some research on your own. This will allow you to get more than one doctor’s educated opinion. In fact, there are many different things you may learn through your own research – such as:

- How important it is to put your autistic child on a schedule.
- What kind of alternative treatment options you have.
- How to take care of yourself while taking care of your child.
- The importance of ‘me’ time.
- How to handle fits, bad behavior and meltdowns.
- And much more.

You can easily research Autism online, but it’s important to use your own common sense as well. While there are many great informative sites about Autism online, there are also some sources that probably shouldn’t be trusted. Take your findings to your child’s doctor and ask for his or her opinion.

Start Making Plans –

Your child’s school will need to be informed of the situation so that they can adequately meet his or her needs. You will probably need to schedule several different appointments and consider starting treatment with your child. You will probably also want to create a daily schedule for your child. There are many things to be done, so start planning now.

Accepting a diagnosis of Autism can be very difficult. However, by following the advice above about what to do next, you can get your child on the path to treatment and a better future. Good luck.

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