What after diagnosis
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder are being diagnosed more and more early in our country, that is between the ages of 2 and 4. Those with Asperger’s syndrome are usually not diagnosed until 5 or even after they begin school.
The process of diagnosis and the days afterwards can be one of great anxiety and grief for families as they begin to come to terms with the diagnosis. Feelings and emotion range from loss for the child they thought they had, to relief that they at last know why their child is so different.
There is a great feeling of uncertainty as to what to do next, since the advice given to parents from members of the family, friends and professionals appears to vary. This is a time of confusion and at times frustration, in finding services for one’s child.
SOME THINGS YOU CAN DO NOW WHILE SEARCHING FOR HELP
- Create an environment that helps your child to function and learn – that is, structure the home so that behaviors are not triggered. If the child throws and breaks things move them out of the way.
- Specific activities should be done in specific areas of the house. For example every one must eat at the place where the family eats their meals. Have a space for the child demarcated by a mat where he/she can play or do what he/she likes, if it is not harmful or dangerous.
- Talk to you child whether he/she is verbal or not, in short simple sentences. Breakdown instructions. Example: “Rahul … stand … put your shoes on”
- If your child can not do what you have asked him/her to do then, without shouting, calmly help him/her do what has been asked.
- Give your child a voice. If your child wants something just name the item before you give it to him/her. But please do not force your child to speak.
- Bend down to your child’s level while you speak to him/her.
- Play with your child as he/she likes to play- that is, at the child’s developmental stage, and play with things of his/her interest, then slowly add something new to the play.
GET INFORMED ABOUT AUTISM OR ASPERGER’S SYNDROME
Try to learn about Autism or Asperger’s syndrome. Understanding Autism will help you understand his/her behavior. Starting early, and using appropriate intervention modes will help your child and enhance the skills he/she may be lagging behind in.
Join a parent support group in your area. If there are none get together with other parents and start one.
Try to locate evidence based treatments where possible. Remember that early intervention can make a big difference in minimizing delays in a child’s development
While searching for management and educational options remember that the best methods are based on sound behavioral principals. A good educational program will have an element of most of the methodologies mentioned below. These methodologies need to be combined as far as possible and must cater to the needs of the individual child.