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...Now What?

So your child received an autism diagnosis

First, remember: Your child is the same child they were before the diagnosis. Now you just know more about how to help them thrive!

Receiving an autism diagnosis can be daunting. You want to make sure you're doing everything to support your child, but it's not always easy to know where to begin. 


The research is clear that early intervention is important for your child's success in the future, but where do you start? We've compiled some initial steps you can take to set your family up for success.


Make sure to get a copy of your child's diagnosis.  This typically comes from a developmental pediatrician, a neurologist, a psychiatrist or a psychologist and is required by most service providers.



Check out Autism Speaks and their great resources.  They have a 100 Day Kit to help you get started, as well as lists of resources and providers in your area.

Find a support group near you or online.  These support groups can be instrumental in navigating the first year following an autism diagnosis.  It can be helpful to learn from parents that have already walked the road you're about to go down.


Do your research.  Before moving to Step 5, spend some time researching providers in your area. Ask other families about their experiences and speak directly to the providers to see if they're a good fit.  


Assemble your team. Autistic children often benefit from a team of providers that include (but are not limited to) a Developmental Pediatrician, Behavior Analyst, Speech Therapist, and Occupational Therapist.  Assembling this team may take some time, as you want to make sure you find quality providers. 


Be patient, but persistent.  If your child was placed on a wait list, follow up frequently to find out whether his or her position has moved.  Find out if alternative service delivery models are available while you wait.  For example, some providers will provide parent consultation until more therapists become available.  This can be a great way to start learning more about the therapy that your child will be receiving.


Once your team is assembled, be an active participant.  Observe the sessions and take advantage of any parent trainings. Your team is ready and willing to support you. Don't hesitate to ask your questions you have!


Work with your child's school to develop appropriate IEP goals.  Your team of providers should be able to help you navigate this process.


If you take these first 8 steps, you and your child will surrounded by a supportive network of professionals that can help you when other questions arise.

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