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My Child Has Autism. What Do I Do Now?

As you read and learn, you will begin to get a sense of where your own child fits on the autism spectrum, not just overall, but with regard to each aspect of the disability. How is your child doing with social understanding, language, repetitive behaviors, motor skills, sensory issues? Celebrate strengths, and build on them. Identify weakest points, making treatments and interventions that address these your top priority.

Whoever diagnosed your child may have insight as to important next steps. What role is the school district going to play, and how do you get the ball rolling with regards to an Individualized Education Program (IEP)? What programs, private or public, are available locally? Does the state, region, or nation have any services to offer for children with ASDs? Does your child need medication –and so, a psychiatrist? Is social skills training a possibility? Is speech, occupational, or physical therapy recommended? Are there waiting lists you should get on right away? Is there financial help of any kind available? How about respite care –that is, babysitting by someone who can handle the special needs of a child with an ASD so that you can take a desperately needed break?

It may all seem overwhelming, but try to take it one step at a time. That’s all anyone can do. You will learn as you go, both from your own mistakes and triumphs, and from professionals and other parents you meet along the way.


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