Osezusi Bolodeoku: Your Child Has Been Diagnosed with Autism, Now What? 


As a parent whose precious little one has just been diagnosed with autism, you’re bound to feel an array of mixed emotions: anger, fear, blame, and self-guilt. Indeed, all your emotions are natural reactions, as you’re beginning your journey into uncharted territories in trying to figure out the next steps for your child.


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From my perspective of being a mother and a special education needs expert, I see having an autism diagnosis as an opportunity to access the doors of the right intervention for your child. Of course, I’m not trying to undermine your emotions or invalidate your fears, but the truth is that dwelling on the negative is not helpful in any way. It is time to focus on understanding the diagnosis, which will lead to getting the right treatment therapy. Hopefully, the diagnosis has come at the earliest stages, which can make a ton of difference in helping your child gain the skills he or she needs to be successful on this journey.

Autism is a lifelong spectrum disorder that presents differently in each case, and in varying degrees. The autism race is a marathon and not a sprint. So after a diagnosis, what next?

Research

The first step is doing your research about Autism Spectrum Disorder. There is so much to learn about the condition, because just like the name states, it is a “spectrum,” so there are so many aspects you should become familiar with. Even before getting professional help, you should become as knowledgeable as you can about it, so that when you are consulting with an autism specialist, you’ll already be familiar with at least most of the terms being described during your conversation with them. 

In addition to secondary research, if you know any parents of autistic children, you could also reach out to them for information and support if they are willing to have an open conversation about it. If they aren’t, don’t be discouraged – there are numerous autism support groups online where you can ask personal questions and get responses with no judgement.

After you have gained a general understanding about autism, the next step would be looking into what kind of help is available around your community for your child and family. 

Sign Up for Intervention and Therapy Programs

Early intervention is crucial to ensure that your child develops the right behavioural, communication, and social skills early in life. Intervention and therapy programs can also help the entire family adjust to life with an autistic child.

There are several treatment therapies including: 

  • Speech therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) Therapy 
  • Music therapy
  • Hydrotherapy

The choice of therapy options to be chosen for your child is largely dependent on your child’s individual needs.

It is important to note that Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) Therapy is considered the only scientifically proven effective treatment for autism. ABA is observable, measurable, evidence-based, and has proven over time to significantly improve socially appropriate behaviours in children. However, it may not be the best treatment therapy for your child, as autism cases vary, and there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. My advice is that you combine your knowledge about your child’s personality, with in-depth research on the various therapy options available to you, and work with certified professionals.

 

 

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