Getting an autism diagnosis for your child can be a monumental and intimidating life event for you and your family. If your son has just received an ASD diagnosis, there are probably several questions running through your mind including what you should do next.
Next steps for parents after getting an ASD diagnosis for their son
After receiving an Autism diagnosis for your child, there are many tips and steps you can follow to help your family and your child live their best lives moving forward. The first thing you can do is to allow yourself some time to take a deep breath and process the information you have received.
This diagnosis doesn’t change who your child is or what they can accomplish in their lives. Research on Autism has come a long way and experts have developed programs to help autistic children improve their communication skills, social skills, academics, and motor skills. Allowing yourself a moment to process will give you a clear head, so you can make a plan to implement the appropriate interventions.
Once you’ve processed the feelings surrounding the diagnosis, it’s time to plan for early and consistent interventions. Research has shown the earlier these interventions are put into place, the greater impact they can have, but it’s never too late to start therapies. There are many types of therapies that can help your child create foundational skills to build on such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and social/behavioral therapy. You can try outpatient services with speech, motor, and behavioral experts, or you could consider the integrative approach of a residential treatment center like New Focus Academy.
There are also several changes that you can make at home to better understand and support your child. For children who have speech struggles, it can be important to learn to listen with your eyes. Your child can still be communicating with you even without speaking, so it’s crucial to learn how to decipher and respond to their language.
It can also help to discover your child’s sensory needs. Children with autism may make repetitive movements that seem unfamiliar to you when they are experiencing an increase in sensory needs. Occupational therapists will work with children to create habits that allow for this expression in controlled and appropriate ways, but it’s important to have knowledge of how to facilitate this at home as well. For example, if your child needs to jump up and down to calm themselves, it can benefit them to have mini-trampolines or yoga balls.
Remember to give yourself and your child patience, compassion, and kindness during the period after the diagnosis. You are experiencing a transition with a big learning curve, and it’s okay to make mistakes as you learn how to navigate this new reality.
New Focus Academy Can Help
New Focus Academy, a leading residential treatment center for children ages 12-18, helps teens with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental issues develop confidence, build sustainable relationships, and learn life skills to live independently. We meet with students and their families to identify each child’s unique needs and abilities. Our team then develops a plan with evidence-based techniques to help each student utilize their strengths in addressing their challenges.
Through decades of experience and proven methods, immersive experiential activities, and a small, close-knit, community, our students have the time to grow emotionally and socially while learning and applying valuable life skills. For more information, please call (435) 383-4369.