If Your Child is Diagnosed
It can be a tremendous shock to be told that your child has an autism spectrum disorder. Some parents report that they always knew that something was different about their child and recognized the signs and symptoms early. Others report a period of typical development and then a period of regression, or loss of skills, that led to their concern. Still others are referred for evaluation by physicians, friends, family members, teachers, child care providers, or community health screeners and knew little about the signs and symptoms of ASD prior to the diagnosis.
You may be struggling with the question “Why my child?” Why autism? This is especially frustrating now, when science offers so few answers to the question of what causes autism, and we know little about how to prevent autism and there is no “cure”. We do, however, live in an age when medical science and education opportunities offer hope for our children. Autism is treatable.
Receiving the diagnosis of “autism” for your child can be an overwhelming and bewildering experience. While you may be wondering what to do first, it is important that you begin therapy for your child as soon as possible. The earlier intervention is started, the better the outcome.
However, at the same time, give yourself and your family time to adjust to the many emotions you may be feeling. It is common to feel emotions ranging from sadness and grief, to anger, to denial, to loneliness. There are many support groups, churches and counseling professionals who can help you through this time and into the future. For a list of these resources, click here. You will also experience these feelings at times in the future, but the good news is that eventually a sense of acceptance is experienced by many parents. This sense helps parents, grandparents and caregivers concentrate on a “Life First!” desire to help children with autism fulfill their potential, remain active in the community, and address the challenges of life with autism.