So, your child was recently diagnosed with Autism. What now? The hardest news someone can recieve is that their seemingly nerotypical child is in fact not. You may wonder, how did this happen? And I think most common question is, what does this mean for my child? Take a deep breath, wipe your tears, and prepare to leave no stone un turned. There's a few things you need to know just in case no one has told you. Firstly, this is NOT your fault. Get that out of your head. And focus now what's in front of you. You can dwell on the what if's another time. Right now, what's important is coming to terms with the fact your child is still the same child you had prior to finding out your child has Autism. And secondly, do not look for your child's Autism in other's. I can't tell you how many hours I've wasted away searching for people who had similarities to my child's Autism. I was hoping to find a glimpse of what her future holds. Every person's needs and level of support are different. Just because a person's child started talking at this age doesn't mean yours will or won't. And your child's lack of speech is absolutely not a sign of low intelligence. Non-verbal doe not mean stupid. People tend to put a time frame on potty training because someone else's child has already mastered it, this isn't going to help you or your child. Don't compare your child to anyone, you and your family are on your own journey. Always remember that.
Autism is extremely complex, but in time and with patience you will find what works for you and your family. After your child has been diagnosed it's very important to make sure they receive the proper services. Early intervention is really important if you receive an early diagnosis. You have to think of it as, you're trying to best prepare your child for the future. Crazy thoughts to have about a toddler, I know, but it's so important. The best part of early intervention is being able to be physically present for the therapy and gain so much knowledge on both your child and Autism in general. Take advantage of this time. Olive is now in kindergarten and receives her services through the school now. So my updates are just by paper every quarter of the school year, or the dreaded IEP meetings. There will be a lot of paper work, save everything. The longer someone goes without help or support the harder they may be to reach. At first you're obviously going to be overwhelmed and thinking the worst. The word Autism alone probably makes your stomach turn. And that is because overall no one wants there to be something 'wrong' with their kid. But also because the lack of information and misconceptions. I promise you, the more you learn and immerse yourself in your child everything will be okay. After all no one is better equipped to handle your child, more than you.
Through out your journey the concern for your child will never fade. That just comes with being a parent in general. The concern I'm speaking of stems from pure fear. Fear of her growing up in an unaccepting world. Fear of the future. Fear of her... not loving herself. The way you treat and tend to your child is the stepping stones of your child's self esteem. Your perspective of them is so important. Just because your child isn't talking or responding the way you expect them to, they are very aware. You can't just carry on feeling discouraged, because that's how they'll feel about themselves. If your tired of endless Google searches on Autism that just keep repeating the 5 facts. I highly recommend one of favorite books, Uniquely Human A Different Way Of Seeing Autism. I came across the book and instantly loved it with in the first few pages, so uplifting and refreshing. The Authors give Autism a more personal and intimate perspective. Dr. Barry M. Prizant shares his personal experience of working with people on the spectrum. He shares stories of great accomplishments, offers a new way to understanding Autism, funny stories, and most of all compassion. I saw parts of myself I needed to change immediately after reading this. In the beginning I was going about this journey all wrong. Out of all the books I've read, this one helped me the most. If you're wanting a more in-depth and understanding to Autism on a more personal level, this book is for you. Sometimes it takes someone else's perspective to change your own.