The more you know about your autistic child’s needs, the more you can help them thrive. From the moment their doctor begins to discuss the possibility of Autism, your world may be turned upside down. At first, it may seem like a daunting diagnosis. But in time you’ll find that there are many measures that can be taken to help your child overcome the challenges that come with Autism and live a happy and healthy life.
Autism affects approximately 1 in 59 children, which means that you’re not alone on this journey. There are many other families in the same place you are, so don’t get discouraged. By understanding your child’s diagnosis and knowing what their needs are, you can help them thrive. This article discusses how Autism is diagnosed and three steps you can take to help your child thrive.
Diagnosis of Autism
Autism can occur at an early age. Once you’ve identified that your child falls on the Autism spectrum, you can begin to help develop skills they may be lacking such as verbal or communication skills. While there is no specific medical test to diagnose Autism, there are a number of different factors your child’s doctor will look at. This includes both behavioral and developmental traits to help determine if Austim is suspected.
Generally, Autism is detected early in a child’s life. In fact, doctors should be routinely screening children for developmental delays or disabilities during their well-child visits. These screenings usually happen for around 9 months, 18 months, and 24 months. In most cases, these appointments will consist of the doctor asking questions about the child’s development and talking and playing with the child to identify any delays in the way they learn, speak, or behave. Recording these doctor appointments can give you a record of where your child stands and track the progress they have made between appointments.
Once a doctor suspects that Autism may be a possibility, there is generally a comprehensive evaluation to follow the initial review. This is more detailed and may include additional screenings such as hearing and vision, genetic testing, and neurological tests. They may also suggest you visit a specialist for further diagnosis. An Autism diagnosis doesn’t mean your child won’t live a happy, healthy life. You can both learn to live a full life by treating and managing their needs.
Steps to Help Your Child Thrive
Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, there are a number of things you can do to help your child with Autism thrive. You can help set your child up for success by helping them acquire new skills and overcome a number of different developmental challenges. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can help your child with Autism thrive and overcome any obstacles put in their way.
The sooner you get your child started with early intervention the better. Learning important skills will help them develop and gain the skill sets they will need in the future.
1. Early Intervention
Early intervention is very important in children diagnosed with Autism. The sooner you can get your child started in an early intervention program the better. It is designed to help children while their brains are still forming and more impressionable. Early intervention will help children learn the basic skills that are taught in the first two years of life. That includes skills ranging from communication and thinking to physical skillsets.
Here are a few common types of early intervention:
- Family training
- Speech therapy
- Hearing impairment services
- Physical therapy
- Nutrition services
Everyone with Autism is different. It’s important to learn more about your child’s needs to help address concerns and avoid putting them in situations that may trigger negative behavior.
2. Understand Your Child’s Needs
One of the most important steps in managing your child’s Autism diagnosis is understanding their needs. You need to become an expert on their needs and what triggers certain behaviors. While it may take time, you’ll begin to identify things that trigger certain behaviors — both negative and positive.
You’ll want to know and understand things such as:
- What things trigger their disruptive behaviors?
- Are there specific things that stress them out?
- What about things that calm them down?
- Are there situations make them uncomfortable?
- What is something they enjoy doing?
Knowing these things can help you better understand how to help your child during an uncomfortable situation or an outburst of challenging behavior. Knowing these triggers will also help you prevent these types of scenarios from occurring. When a treatment plan is designed around their likes and wants, it makes the process much easier. Working with your child during therapy and at home will yield the best results.
3. Build a Treatment Plan Around Them
As you continue to learn more about your child’s needs you can begin to build a personalized treatment plan. When it comes to treating Autism, there is no one size fits all approach. That’s because everyone on the spectrum is unique and requires different areas of attention.
Here are a few things to consider when developing a personalized treatment plan:
- Build the plan around your child’s interests
- Work during a predictable schedule
- Use highly structured activities
- Provide consistent reinforcement of behavior
From there, you can begin to consider things like your child’s strengths, how they learn, what problems need to be addressed, and more. Always remember that your child’s treatment and therapy don’t end when you walk out the office door. You need to continue working with them all the time to build the needed skills and behavioral improvements.
You’ve got everything you need to set your child up for success. Keep working together and soon enough you’ll see that your child will overcome the challenges they are faced with. With the help of early intervention and various therapy options, your child has a world of opportunity ahead of them. Just like any other child their age, they have a lifetime to grow into the person they are meant to be. Extra attention will help them gain the skills they need to live and thrive throughout their entire life.
This was a very interesting and insightful article! I know some people who are on the Autism spectrum and I sympathize with the struggles that they have, so it is very beneficial that I understand some of the methods that are used to help people live their best lives. I thought it was interesting how you mentioned the idea of centering schedules around a child’s needs in order to make them live better; I thought that this was a great insight! I also thought it was interesting that you mentioned that parents should be having their young children tested early for any developmental differences. I know you said to record during these doctors visits, but should you also be recording the screening tests at the doctor’s?