Learning that your child has autism can be a sudden shock that can take your breath away. Once you move past the initial phase of shock, though, you’re left with the reality of helping your child make the most of their life. Fortunately, you don’t have to walk this road alone with the many useful resources that are available today. To help bring focus to your situation, here are four steps to help autistic children after their diagnosis.
Take Care of Yourself
Even while you’re caring for your child, it’s vital that you take care of yourself, as well. By starting with a full tank, you’ll have more to give your child to help them excel. Therefore, rather than feeling sorry for yourself or blaming yourself for this diagnosis, remember to look at your child and be thankful for all the love they give to you and all the love you get to give to them. Though it’s important to move swiftly, it’s okay if you take some time for yourself to help protect your mental health.
Don’t Go it Alone
One of the worst things you can do after an autism diagnosis is to isolate yourself. You will be surprised at just how many people are able and willing to help you and your child. Autism therapy is just one way that a community of people can come around you and your child to provide excellent care and numerous friendships that can help everyone thrive, even when the going gets tough.
Find In-School Services
If your child attends school, the good news is that there are a variety of services available to help him succeed. Before he can receive those services, though, you’ve got to ask for them. Once you receive the diagnosis, be sure to reach out to your child’s school so that you can begin working with them to create a plan that will help your child reach their full potential.
Explain it to Siblings
It’s likely that it won’t take long for your child’s siblings to notice that she is suddenly getting more attention and being treated differently. Rather than allow them to worry, it’s important to sit down with your children and explain to them, in age-appropriate terms, what their sibling is experiencing. This will help them process this new reality in their own way and help to prevent some of the jealousy that can accompany the extra attention.
Though you will have good days where it feels like everything is going well, you will also have incredibly difficult days when you wonder if you can keep going. On those days, it’s okay to cry and be vulnerable with someone you trust. If you try to hold everything in, you’ll only make it harder on yourself and your child. By being authentic, though, you will give everyone involved a much better chance of success.
By Meghan Belnap