If your child is newly diagnosed, what should you do first?
From my experience parenting two boys on the spectrum, here are the first three key steps:
1. The doctor who is diagnosing your child may very well have a lot of good information to give you – much more than there was when my son was diagnosed. Dont walk away before you ask them what they recommend you do next. Prepare (written) questions ahead of time if possible.
2. Call your County Board of Developmental Disabilities or equivalent governing body and ask if they have any programs that might benefit your child. They will likely want to do an Intake – someone will meet with you and ask questions about your child and their level of functioning (my advice – be as honest as possible…this is not the time to overestimate your child’s level of functioning). Soon after, they’ll tell you if your child will be eligible for services and what they have to offer. It’s at this point that you will be assigned to a Services and Support Administrator (SSA) to help you.
3. Check out your local chapter of the Autism Society of America. They can offer a lot of parental support and specialized programs that your child may benefit from or enjoy. These days, they have a lot to offer. You can also join an autism support group or community like Vitalxchange.
About the Author: Suzanne is a mom of children with Autism and other special needs and has been caring and advocating for them for over 17 years. She is passionate about helping parents navigate all aspects of special needs parenting including therapy, advocacy and education. Reach out to her directly via our Ask the Experts program on Vitalxchange!