What To Do When Your Child Is Diagnosed With
Raising a child with autism is not an easy thing to do. It takes a lot of
courage, patience and love. When a parent first finds out
that their son or daughter has autism, there is a feeling of loss and a mourning
period. We all want our child to be the best they can be, but when you hear those words, even the most optimistic people have to
face an uphill battle. Having an autistic child
means that there is going to be a lot of unknown. Parents have no idea how their
child will turn out. This can be a scary thing
and drives many parents into denial and does not allow them to do the things
they need to do in order to achieve success.
When a child is diagnosed parents need to jump in
with both feet and find out the best way to help their child as much of their
focus as possible needs to be on where to begin and how to effectively and
affordably do it. Unlike in the past, there are a number of resources that help
a parent get started. These include Autism Speaks, TACA and the Autism Society
of America. One of the first keys in getting your child help is to act fast, and
do not wait for others to tell you what to do.
Make sure you and your partner are on the same page. There is nothing worse than
having a house divided. Both parents need to be focused on the common goal and
form a united front to do everything possible to help their child. It is easy to
and blame the other person when you are in crisis, but you have to move past
that and get things done.
Beginning the search for therapy providers and doctors who can help can be a
daunting task, but it has to be done and done quickly. Many children with autism
have other issues outside of autism, and it is imperative to have a pediatrician
who is on your side and will listen to you. A large number of families take
their children to DAN (Defeat Autism Now) doctors to test for allergies,
deficiencies as well as a host of other things. Locating a therapist is easy for
parents who live in cities and suburbs. For those who live in rural areas,
locating a therapist for every issue can be a challenge, especially qualified
ABA therapists. Families may have to drive a distance in order to find a
therapist. Once those have been located, it is recommended that the parent
interviews each therapist to make sure both parties are working toward a common
Once a therapist is located it is now time to figure out how to pay for the
therapy. As parents of children with autism, we face the fact that in the
majority of states in the US, there is no insurance coverage for children with
autism. This reality smacks a parent in the face soon after they begin the
process of looking for therapists. Most insurance companies will cover 10-30
visits for OT, PT or SLP. There is virtually no help in covering Applied
Behavior Analysis (ABA), TEACH or Floor Time services. Families must focus then
on paying out of pocket or finding alternative methods of providing therapy.
After a therapist is located and schedules are set up, parents must now figure
out how to make the most out of each session. It is imperative that a family
member or friend sit in on each therapy session. This does two things. First, it
allows a parent to learn
everything that the therapist is doing. When the therapist leaves after an hour
or two, parents can take over and continue to work with their child on the
skills learned that day. Having a parent or family friend constantly work with
their child will provide the child with a better chance of reaching their
Having a child with autism is not an easy thing. It can be both extremely
frustrating and rewarding at the same time. Parents who are proactive in doing
their research and finding the help that their child needs typically see better
results. Sitting back and waiting for someone else to do it will only result in
frustration. Parents need to think outside the box and develop a plan on how to
best help their child with the resources they have. Learning skills in ABA or
other therapies can only make a parent's life easier and give a child the best
opportunity for success.
By Garrett Butch
out our article about
Discipline and Autism to get some
Garrett Butch is the father of a 6 year old
with autism and the founder of Maximum Potential Group.
Potential has developed courses that train parents and school
systems how to work with children with autism.
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