Parents often find themselves disheartened upon learning their child has autism. The diagnosis is quite common nowadays, affecting more than 1% of the population. The most common signs of autism are a lack of social interaction and a difficulty with communication skills. However, only a trained professional is qualified to tell you if your child is actually autistic or not. What should you do if your child has been diagnosed with this developmental disorder?
Get a Second Opinion
People are commonly advised to get a second opinion if they are diagnosed with a serious physical ailment. The same is true if your child is diagnosed with autism. This is especially true if the diagnosis came from a teacher or someone else who may not have the expertise to give an informed opinion. You should make sure that the diagnosis comes from someone who is truly qualified in the field, like a neurologist or child psychologist.
Because autism is so widespread, there are many resources at your disposal to help you deal with it. The specialist who diagnosed your child is the first person you can turn to for recommendations. There are also many resources in the form of books, periodicals, websites and support groups. A specialist with a Master’s in Behavior Analysis recommends connecting with a support group consisting of other parents of autistic children. Having a support network around you is good for your morale and can help keep you informed about treatment options for your child.
Find Out Your Options
Once your child has been diagnosed, you have to decide what the next steps will be. If your child is in school, you can find out if the school offers a special education program that can accommodate your child’s needs. You can also research alternative schools that may be better equipped to help your child. When doing your research, it’s important to be aware of your rights and your child’s rights. For example, autistic children, like all other children, have the right to an education. If you have any questions or disputes about such issues, you should consult with a qualified autism advocate.
Recognize That You Are Not Alone
While parents of autistic children still face certain distinctive challenges, there are now more resources at your disposal than ever before. It’s natural for parents whose child has been diagnosed with autism to go through a period of confusion or even grieving. After that, however, your main focus should be on doing what’s best for your child.