When your child gets diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder as a parent you go through a lot of emotions as you begin a new journey to help your loved one on the spectrum find all the resources and supports they need.
Parents start to realize they are going through a type of grieving process while trying to get through everyday life. Part of the process is to start building your support system or “village” to help your loved one on the spectrum reach their full potential. Early intervention is key for a successful future.
When a child is diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, a parent may feel overwhelmed, anxious, sad, relieved or any range of emotions. All these emotions are valid. Knowing what to do after you receive the diagnosis can be confusing and stressful as well.
Top Five Things To Do After the Diagnosis
- Create a team for your child. You are your child’s best advocate. Stay informed. Take advantage of services that are available to you both locally and statewide. Your child may need the service of a Speech-language Pathologist, an Occupational Therapist, a Physical Therapist, Behavior Therapist (ABA, Pivotal Response Therapy, Floor Time, etc.) a developmental program, or one on one services. Creating a team is a very comprehensive undertaking that involves the child’s entire family and a team of professionals.
- Take advantage of services that are available to you both locally and statewide. Families with children ages birth to third birthday who are experiencing developmental delays and/or have a diagnosed condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay such as autism, may be eligible for First Steps services. To contact your local First Steps office click your county of residence at his website: https://www.in.gov/fssa/ddrs/4685.htm. If your child is ages 3-22, you will need to contact your local school district. The school district will conduct any additional assessments needed at no cost. Then a team of professionals and the child’s family will develop an IEP (Individual Education Plan).
- Sign up for the Family Supports Waiver: This waiver provides services to participants in a range of community settings. The waiver serves persons with a developmental disability, intellectual disability or autism. An Individualized Support Plan using a person-centered planning process guided by an Individual Support Team will be developed for your child. The family and team, selects services, identifies service providers of their choice and develops a plan of care and is subject to an annual waiver services cap of $17,300. For more information on the Family Supports waiver, click on https://www.in.gov/fssa/ddrs/2639.htm or access the Autism Society of Indiana website at https://www.autismsocietyofindiana.org/.
- Educate yourself and know you rights and options. Take advantage of services that are available to you both locally and statewide. It can be overwhelming to look at the many websites that have information on autism. It is recommended that you start the with Autism Society of Indiana or the Autism Society of America websites to get started. Stay informed.
- Find a parent support group. You can locate a parent support group by contacting the Autism Society of Indiana, look at a listing of parent support groups on the Indiana Resource Center for Autism or contact the Autism Leader in your school district. It is important to build a community. It is helpful to make friends with other parents who have children with autism and support each other. Connecting with other parents will enable you to give and receive support from families who understand your day-to-day challenges.
Remember, the Autism Society of Indiana is here to help you with information and resources to support your child, your family and you! Sign up to receive our semi-monthly emails of news, events, and resources from the Indiana autism community.