You’ve recently learned that your child has or might have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or autism. And you might have been told that it is an incurable and lifelong condition. At this point, you are probably wondering, worrying, and frightened what to do next, who are the right people to talk to, and of course – how you and your child can deal with this circumstance. However, the good thing is YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Many parents like you have had to deal with this situation in their lives.
Autism has become one of the most talked about issues on mental health. Thankfully, because of this, there is so much information about the subject matter as well as treatments that can help your child overcome a wide variety of developmental changes. Assistance such as free government services, school-based programs, and online therapy are widely available to provide the assistance that your child needs. With just a quick visit on the website of a vendor offering therapy online, and you can find assistance anytime, anywhere in the world.
But more than these options, you as a parent has the power to make everything happen – from treatments to development. With your help, love, and support, your child can grow, develop, and thrive.
The first and the best step that you can do is to not wait for diagnosis and start the treatment right away.
You are with your child almost 24/7 every day, you know him very well, and surely – you can notice even the slightest “wrong” in his behavior. As soon as you suspect that something is wrong, seek help immediately. Do not wait longer or even wait for a diagnosis to act on and see if your child can outgrow the problem.
There is nothing wrong about being sure especially when it concerns your child’s mental health. The earlier a child with autism gets help, the more likely for a treatment success.
Learn and understand what autism is.
Learning and understanding about the Autism Spectrum Disorder are the best ways to understand what’s really going on with your child. Equip yourself with the right knowledge regarding his behavior – what triggers disruptive attitude and what makes a positive response; and treatment options – ask questions, opinions, and advice especially from a specialist and parents who go through the same situation. Also, other internet therapy programs are widely available and can be an effective alternative to one-on-one therapies which are mostly costly and limited to certain cities and regions.
The more you know about the subject, the better you will be in making decisions for your child’s treatment.
Be consistent with the schedule and stick to your child’s treatment routine.
According to Christine Guth, co-founder of the Asperger Group of Goshen – a community that supports parents and children on the autism spectrum – children with autism are most of the time attached to a routine and cannot handle even the slightest change to their schedule.
Create a consistency in your child’s environment. You can do this by finding out what your therapist is doing to reinforce learning and continue practicing this at home – remember to be consistent in the way you interact and deal with challenging situations with your child. Also, Guth recommended that you find a middle ground where your child will have enough stability in your family’s routine and gradually encourage him to transfer what he has learned from one environment to another.
Always pay attention to your child’s behavior.
Good or bad – your child’s behavior means something. And often times, they use this as a form of communication. Instead of punishing them for what you think is an “inappropriate attitude”, consider this as his way of communicating to you. The best tip is to learn his language.
Children with autism behave differently. So, you have to keenly observe your child’s behavior pattern – What triggers bad attitude and what makes a positive response? What is stressful and what is calming? What things make him happy and what are those that do not?
Understanding these things and communicating with your child appropriately will go a long way in helping him and your family to cope with the problem. Prevent situations that cause difficulties and just enjoy your time with your child.
Spend a quality time by taking interest in his interests.
Play with him and the things that capture his interests. Find ways to have fun together and know what makes him happy and come out of his shell. Do the things that he likes doing and develop a relationship from there.
Be patient and persistent but do not force your ways of doing things. It takes time and effort but when your child begins to see that you love doing the things that interest him, he will eventually grow and respond to your presence.
Choose and plan for the best help and support for your child and your family.
It is not only your child who needs help and support – but your family as well. Caring for a child with autism demands a lot of time and energy. It can be stressful, challenging, and overwhelming. But you are not alone in this fight, there are lots of support groups, organizations, and people who can help you and your child deal with the situation.
In order to take care of your child, you should also take care of yourself.