Diagnosed with Autism

What to expect when diagnosed with Autism

Know More About Austism

What is the Autism Spectrum?

The autism spectrum is a range of conditions classified as "neurodevelopmental disorders." You may notice that your child may have difficulties with social interaction and communication, as well as repetitive patterns of behavior.

While every person on the spectrum is unique, there are some common characteristics that individuals with autism may share. These include challenges with social skills, sensory sensitivities, and difficulty with change or transitions.

Is Asperger's autism?

Asperger's is high-functioning autism. Asperger's syndrome used to be considered a separate diagnosis from autism, but it is now classified as a part of the autism spectrum.

How does your child sense the world around them?

You may have heard the word "neurodivergent" used to describe children on the autism spectrum. Often, children with autism sense the world around them differently compared to neurotypical children. Your child may be oversensitive or under-sensitive to sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures. This can result in sensory overload or seeking out certain sensory experiences.

As a parent, it is important to understand your child's unique sensory needs and to help create an environment that supports them.

How does your child communicate feelings?

In addition to understanding their senses, you can also learn about how your child communicates. Some children with autism may have difficulty with verbal communication and may rely on non-verbal cues such as gestures, facial expressions or picture cards. Others may have a large vocabulary but struggle with understanding social cues or figurative language.

If you focus on learning how your child communicates, you may be able to teach them skillsets that will help them navigate through life.

What should I do to help my child?

The more comfortable you are, and the more you learn about how your child senses the world around them, the better equipped you will be to build a healthy relationship with your child and to help your child reach their full potential. You may first choose to focus on understanding the characteristics of autism, how it affects communication and social skills, or on common treatments and therapies. While children with autism may share similar traits, their experiences and needs can differ greatly. Since your child is unique, keep the focus on your child rather than on everyone else's children. But, by educating yourself on what worked well for others, you may find the key for helping your own child.

There are things such as creating routine and structure, or using visual aids that can help your child navigate through daily life. Focus on their abilities and celebrate their successes, big or small.

Are there resources for parents?

Yes, but among all of the resources, don't forget to prioritize self-care. You may choose to join a support group, or connect with other parents on social media, or ask at the local library or school. You may find the most empathy and support from those who have experienced what you're experiencing, and who have found tools that work. Caring for a child with autism can take a toll on your physical and emotional well-being. Parents often forget how important it is to prioritize your own self-care so that you can better support your child. Make time for activities that bring you joy, connect with friends and family, with other parents who have experience, and seek professional help if needed. Schedule time for activities outdoors, and enjoy the sunshine. You may want to check out sites such aswww.yellowpagesforkids.comto find local programs and services for children on the autism spectrum.

How can you advocate for your child?

You are your child's best advocate. Would you want an advocate that is timid and shy? Or would you want an advocate that speaks up for your best interest? Even if you are generally timid or shy, start to speak up for your child. You can start small - like advocating for accommodations in school, or at a dental office. It may be as simple as choosing a dentist who is comfortable with seeing children with sensory issues, or speaking to your child's teacher about modifications that can support their learning. As you become more comfortable with advocating, you may choose to be a part of larger advocacy efforts for autism awareness and acceptance. Remember, your voice matters, and when you speak up for your child, you are helping them reach their full potential.

Final thoughts

Each child on the spectrum is unique and special in their own way. Love your child, play with your child, educate yourself, advocate for your child, seek support when you need it, and remember to take care of yourself.

Before takeoff, flight attendants instruct parents to put on their own oxygen masks before helping children with their masks. That is because if a parent loses consciousness, they will be unable to help the child. Parents very often forget to take care of their own needs, and can burn out. The better you feel, the better equipped you will be to help your child.

Life is what we share with our families and friends. Don't forget to build relationships that you will cherish regardless of any diagnosis. Focus on the unique strengths and abilities of your child and celebrate their successes. No matter what challenges may arise, you are not alone in this journey. There is a community of support waiting to embrace you and your family. Let's continue to raise awareness, acceptance, and understanding for autism spectrum disorders.