When you get a diagnosis for your child, it can be an overwhelming moment. You’ll probably feel many emotions – uncertainty, hope, and relief might all be part of your experience. But the most important thing to remember is that getting a diagnosis is good for your child.
The truth is that autism doesn’t come with a manual. You need to figure out what to expect with your child’s development and how to help them thrive. But with the proper support and guidance, you can capitalize on their strengths while working on overcoming their limitations.
We’ll discuss what to expect when you get a diagnosis for your child and how to use it to understand better and support them below.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition affecting your child’s ability to communicate, interact with others, and process information.
The term “spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment that people with ASD experience. ASD is usually diagnosed during childhood but can be diagnosed at any age.
Signs of Autism
It can be challenging to recognize the early signs of autism in babies because they lack common behaviors rather than exhibit abnormal ones.
Early signs of ASD in infants include:
- No response when you call their name or try to speak with them
- Not following your gestures or imitating your facial expressions
- No attempts to get your attention, such as reaching for you or making sounds
- No interest in playing with others
- No notice if you experience physical or emotional discomfort
The warning signs of autism become more varied as children age. Signs of ASD in older children include:
- Impaired social skills and disinterest in interacting with others
- Speech and language difficulties, including expressing needs and wants
- Poor eye contact and little or no facial expression
- Rigid thinking and difficulty adapting to change
- A narrow focus on a particular area of interest
- Inability to understand the thoughts and feelings of others
- Repetitive behaviors like spinning or flapping hands
- Sensory sensitivity, including a strong dislike of loud noises and bright lights
If you’ve seen any of these signs in your child, do not wait until a diagnosis before acting on behalf of a child who may be facing autism.
Testing for Autism: Perks of a Diagnosis
You may be wondering and fearing what happens after an autism diagnosis. But the years we have spent providing services to people with autism have taught us how a diagnosis can be liberating. It means that the condition is manageable, and help is available.
Some benefits of an ASD diagnosis include the following:
- Understanding behaviors that may have been troubling you and your family for many years
- Reducing anxiety about the future, knowing that there are therapy options available for autism spectrum disorder
- Maintaining your child’s independence through early intervention autism therapy
- Enabling you to access resources and financial assistance for therapy
- Correcting a misdiagnosis for other conditions like ADHD, OCD, depression, or schizophrenia
Regarding an autism diagnosis, it is simply better to know. In addition, a diagnosis provides a roadmap for parents to get the help they need to support their child’s developmental growth.
Post-Testing for Autism: Strengths and Weaknesses
You might be thinking, “My child has autism. What do I do now?” But the truth is that an ASD diagnosis provides insight into a child’s behavior. This understanding can help you capitalize on strengths while working to overcome challenges. Although all people are unique, autistic people often share certain personality traits and behavioral strengths.
These strengths can include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Exceptional memory
- Meticulous attention to detail
- Promptness and reliability
- Exceptional honesty
- Logical thinking ability
- Ability to concentrate when motivated
- May excel in academic areas such as science, engineering and math
Following your child being diagnosed with autism, they may benefit from working to improve in the following areas:
- Problem-solving and executive function
- Organization and planning
- Noise sensitivity and sleeping problems
- Mood regulation
- Resistance to change
- Social interaction challenges
Understanding the strengths and areas of growth in autistic children will help you appreciate how best to address symptoms and offer support for success.
Post-Diagnosis for Autism: Finding Help and Support
You may be shocked by the abundance of support options suddenly at your disposal after receiving a child’s diagnosis of autism.
The following is a list of common types of ASD support available post-diagnosis:
- Networks of support groups and charitable organizations
- ASD-focused events and social outings
- Services and benefits available only to people with a diagnosis
- Accommodations in school or work settings
In addition to finding post-diagnosis help and support, there are many things that you can do at home to assist your child.
How to Help My Child After an Autism Diagnosis
Once you receive an autism diagnosis, it’s time to act. Here are some tips on supporting children with autism spectrum disorder and helping them thrive.
First, find out what kind of therapy your child needs. You can try speech therapy, occupational therapy (OT), physical therapy (PT), or applied behavioral therapy (ABA). These therapies will help your child learn how to communicate better and coordinate their movements.
You’ll also want to ensure you know the kinds of sensory stimulation that help your child feel calm and happy. This could include rocking chairs, weighted blankets, or spinning toys.
Finally, make sure you’re communicating with your child at their level. They may need help to tell you precisely what they need. Instead, try looking for signs like hands flapping or stimming when they’re frustrated.
Reach Out to Ascend Autism Today
Feeling lost while wondering what happens after an autism diagnosis is normal. But there are many ways to help your child after an autism diagnosis. We hope this guide has helped you learn more about autism spectrum disorder and focus on what matters most: providing a bright future full of possibilities for your child.
Ascend Autism is a resource for parents of children with autism. We’ve made it easy to get the information you need and want. Contact us after diagnosis for the best therapy options for your child!