Learning that your child has been diagnosed with autism can be difficult to accept. You are left with many unanswered questions and may experience grief and a feeling of loss. What you envisioned for your future and the future of your child is changing. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Keeping an open mind is one way of conquering grief and learning to move forward.
- Acknowledge your emotions: It’s normal to be angry or upset when your child is diagnosed with autism. Let yourself feel anger, sadness, confusion, and a range of other emotions. It’s okay to cry or be upset. Trying to hold everything in can make you feel even worse and lead to unexpected outbursts when it becomes too much. Having a good cry can release pent up stress and tension and prepare you for what’s ahead. Take comfort in the fact that now you have a diagnosis and are better able to understand what is going on. You have a starting point that will enable you to become more educated, access numerous resources, and create a brighter future for your child.
- Educate yourself: Learn as much as you can about autism spectrum disorders. There are many resources available that can help you feel more prepared and understand what to expect. Keep in mind that there is no “standard” for what children with autism can or cannot do – each one is different. No one can say for sure what your child’s future will look like, so have faith that with ongoing care and attention, they’ll be able to maximize their potential. Don’t think of their capabilities as limited because you never know when they’ll surprise you.
- Join a support group: Connect with other parents who are going through similar situations. You can share stories, strategies, and resources while leaning on each other for support and encouragement. You are not alone and everyone wants to do what they can to help your child succeed.
- Ask for help: Don’t be afraid to reach out to others. You don’t have to try to do everything on your own. Let people know exactly what you need or how they can help, and be willing to accept this assistance. Give yourself a break from time to time and make sure your own needs are being met so you can better care for your child.
Remember that you are not alone and there are a wealth of resources available to support you, your child, and your family. Now that your child has a diagnosis of autism, you have many more options available for helping them to thrive. PediaPlex can help you access a wide range of resources all in one place and figure out what works best for your child’s needs.