There comes a point for some parents that they begin to worry about their child’s development. Then, after a visit to a center for children behavior, they get the diagnosis that their child is autistic. It comes as a shock and then there is the inevitable question of what to do next. What comes next is vitally important if your child is diagnosed.
There is no cure for autism, but when the diagnosis is made early enough, therapy can help them live a happy and fruitful life. You and your child will gain the skills and tools needed to grow and thrive together. In this article, we will go over what to do next after an autism diagnosis.
1 – Use visuals
Most children are visual learners and need to have something to see to reinforce their learning. Autistic children rely on visuals even more. It is a good idea to try to use visuals not just for teaching, but also to supplement what you are saying. Since they may lack behavioral cues and have trouble understanding some nuances in the language they will use those visual aids to understand things clearly.
This can include doing some imitations of an action or using flashcards with pictures to help them understand your speech. It all depends on where they are on the spectrum and where their speech and language abilities lie.
2 – Have plenty of structure
Many autistic children, even those that are high functioning, crave routine and structure. It is very important to make sure that there are not too many surprises in their daily lives so they know exactly what to expect. Try to rely on a set and rigid schedule to ensure they feel less anxiety about the unknown.
They also need cues and warning that something is about to end. Make sure to give them a visual warning that an activity is about to end so they have no surprises. Surprises are not well received by autistic children so there needs to be a smooth transition from one activity to the next.
This also includes house rules. They should still be required to follow the structure of how the home is organized and things that need to be done to function.
3 – Understand there will be sensory issues
Most parents of an autistic child are dedicated to preventing a crisis that can happen at any time. The best way to go about this is to be aware of the sensory issues that could cause a crisis. Understand that there will be noises, lights, and tastes that trigger negative reactions and can lead to a full-blown event.
Find out which senses they have a hypersensitivity to so you can avoid being in a position in which they get triggered. At home, this is easier to do since you are in control of the environment. Try to think of the possibilities of encountering any of the sensory issues that they may come into contact with later so you can do your best to avoid them.
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