This article is written by Annabelle Short, a mother with Asperger’s and an advocate for children with special needs. Annabelle Short works with several organizations to provide families with the best resources for raising and educating a special needs child. When not working, she’s spending time with her family or putting pen to paper for her own personal pursuits. She also loves sewing and making crafts with her two children.
Learning your child has a disability that they will carry with them throughout their lives is something that no parent wishes to hear. It can be scary for everyone involved, and the initial shock can make it hard to see how to move forward. However, a diagnosis is something that can’t be ignored or wished away. In this article, we are going to look into the fear of an autism diagnosis and how to address it.
Don’t Put It Off
The first thing to know if you think your child has autism is that putting off getting them tested won’t help. In fact, to make sure your child gets the help they need to adjust and prepare them for the road ahead, the key is to get them diagnosed as early as possible.
Of course, it is only natural to want to avoid bad news. However, as with most things, trying to ignore an autism diagnosis rather than dealing with it and adapting to it will only make it harder to deal with down the road – especially for the person being diagnosed. Trying to navigate life without an understanding of yourself and your surroundings is difficult. As such, if you start to see signs of autism in your child, you should report it to their doctor right away. The diagnosis itself might take some time, but it’s better to get the ball rolling and adapt accordingly early on in their life than it is to wait until the child begins to struggle with their autism with no explanation or aid prepared.
You Can Never Know Too Much
For many people, fear comes – in large part – from not knowing what to expect. That is why it is best to do your research and learn as much as you can about autism. The first step of this is usually, naturally, to look into the signs of autism that you might start to notice in your child. These could include a lack of social interaction and certain developmental milestones being missed.
Once you start the process of getting your child diagnosed, the doctor you are working with will be able to give you more general information about autism. This is a great opportunity to ask the doctor any questions you may have.
In addition, seeking out resources authored by individuals on the spectrum will also be helpful. You can find plenty of resources online that can give you more information about autism and the information available to you. Some are listed at the end of this article.
You Are Not Alone
Another important thing to remember is that you aren’t the only parent that has gone through this. This means that there are people out there who can offer their support and advice.
Once again, you will find the internet comes in handy for this. While it used to be a little harder to find others who were going through the same situation, a quick Google search will bring you to lists of forums and websites that will prove valuable. You will likely find that there are resources out there that can help not only you as a parent but also your child as they learn to cope with their differences as well.
This Is Not Your Fault
A crucial point is that you need to accept that your child’s diagnosis isn’t because of anything you did wrong. Whenever something happens to a child – like an autism diagnosis – it is extremely easy to fall down a rabbit hole of wondering if you could’ve done something differently along the way to have prevented the struggles that your child is now facing.
No matter what the cause of your child’s autism, approaching the diagnosis wth a positive attitude and embracing their unique identity will be crucial to their social and emotional success.
Never Give Up
Finally, and most importantly, never give up on your child’s potential to live a full life with their diagnosis. Of course, accommodations will need to be made, and some days will undoubtedly be rougher than others, but, in the end, your child still has the potential to live a life full of joy and wonderful experiences. So, remember to spend time with your child. They might be young when they are diagnosed, but you are still dealing with the diagnosis and its effects together. Not only will they depend on you as they grow, they will probably teach you a few things along the way.
ASAN – Autistic Self Advocacy Network
ASAN’s Welcome to the Autistic Community! – Although written for individuals who first receive a diagnosis, this guide is also helpful to parents who are looking for ways to approach their child’s new diagnosis and autistic identity.
AWN – Autism Women’s Network
Harkla – offering a variety of special needs products