You’ve known something was different about your child for a while. Not necessarily bad or wrong, just… different. Maybe they weren’t making eye contact? Possibly they missed several developmental milestones?  Or, maybe they insist on only independent play; whatever the case was something led you to go to a specialist, a doctor, and now you have a piece of paper that says your child has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. They may or may not have told or given you anything else beyond that. So… now what? 

Every Child is Different

    • Recognize that every child is different. The thing about this diagnosis is that it is a spectrum and covers a wide range of abilities and possibilities. You are the parent and have every right to ask questions, seek more information and push back against advice you’re given, even to professionals. 

 

Professional Support

    • A mix of support is available for your child. Depending on the age of your child, this will impact what services are available. 
      • Applied Behavioral Analysis is an evidence based practice that best works with younger children and early intervention approaches. It can be used across the school age, but most research has been focused in younger ages. 
      • Special Education in your school system. Each district, each school and each teacher is different. From working with parents I’ve heard really mixed responses from parents who have chosen this route, but some school systems are really great and are often the first line of defense. 
      • Counseling – Counseling is really important to address across the lifespan. Often this piece is missed because the child is receiving so many other types of therapies, but the emotional component is something that isn’t addressed in ABA, occupational, speech or any of those types of therapies. 

 

Support for the Family

    • This is the type of support is often overlooked when seeking treatment for a child. Your life and the family unit has been impacted by this diagnosis as well and that needs to be recognized. Going to see a counselor yourself is highly beneficial. Investing in you helps your family and your child in the long run as well. So often I’ve seen parents who just burn out after a couple years and never acknowledge how this change has impacted them, who they are and their family unit. Receiving support yourself can help you increase your patience, understanding and ability to work in a changing environment that is your home. 

I have been working with individuals and families where Autism is present since 2014. I love and am passionate about working with families and making sure we approach the situation from a strength based perspective and enables all individuals involved without pathologizing behavior. Give me a call at Amy Wine Counseling Center at 832.421.8714 and I would love to sit down with you and help you navigate this new stage of life.