Once an autism evaluation has confirmed that your child is affected by a spectrum disorder, you should look to learn as much as you can about treatment options. Since early intervention is crucial to a positive outcome, becoming an educated advocate for your child’s care is very important.
By the time a developmental screening has led to an autism evaluation, you likely will have learned a great deal about autism spectrum disorders and will know that treatment is the next step.
While it is important to know the symptoms and the factors that increase the risk of autism, now is the time to become educated on treatment options and how your child’s treatments will be carried out.
Start by asking the team of professionals who evaluated and diagnosed your child to explain to you where he or she is on the autism spectrum. You may not get as straightforward an answer as you would like because each child’s autism disorder is unique.
No two children with the same diagnosis will have the same symptoms, so finding out what aspect of the diagnosis is specific to your child is important. Your child’s treatments should be individualized to his or her needs.
Research into effective treatments in ongoing, so find out whether your child can receive the most up-to-date treatment options. Treatments are tailored to specific delays and are designed to be appropriate to your child’s chronological and developmental age. Find out what types of treatments your child can expect to receive now and which of those will be ongoing.
Check With Your Insurance
As a matter of practicality, check with your health insurance company to determine how treatments will be covered. Inquire about services in your community to determine what services, if any, you can receive at a reduced cost.
Someone from the team who evaluated your child should be able to provide materials to your child’s school that can help you establish an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for him or her.
Your child will likely receive a number of therapies simultaneously: speech, behavioral, and occupational therapy, for instance, will become a regular part of your routine. There may be pharmacological or dietary treatments as well, depending on your child’s symptoms.
Talk To Your Family
You will likely receive a great deal of information about how you can incorporate elements of treatment into your home routines, so expect some changes in the way your household runs. Inform your family members of how they can help your child’s therapy to extend beyond office visits.
Expect to work through a lot of emotions once you receive a diagnosis of autism. Certainly, you may feel overwhelmed, confused, disappointed, guilty for being disappointed, anxious, or some combination of all of these and more.
However, remember that getting an autism diagnosis is a positive step toward treatment. Autism is not curable, but early and effective treatment and intervention can make a tremendous difference in the life of a child with autism.