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So Your Child Has Autism: Now What?
All parents ever want for their children is for them to be happy and healthy. It can be devastating and frightening to be told that your child is "different" and that they face more challenges than others in the years ahead. If your child is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, it may be a worrying time indeed. Here are a few things that you should know to help you cope with the days ahead.
There is no "one size fits all" approach to dealing with autism. It is not a condition that a child will magically grow out of, nor is there is one miracle pill that they can take every day and suddenly be cured. However, there are therapies and help available so that your child can learn to deal with the challenges before them. This, combined with love and support, will ensure that your child thrives like any other.
Once you suspect that your child may be autistic, don't delay in getting a professional diagnosis and starting their treatment. The earlier your child is given therapeutic help, the greater your chances of success and of the autism symptoms being lessened in severity and impact.
Learn as much as you can about autism. Research therapies so that you can have an opinion on what will and will not work. Don't just hand your child off to a therapist and expect them to be fixed. You need to be very hands on in every facet of their treatment. Ask questions often and don't take "no" for an answer. You need to be in a position that you can make informed decisions.
Study your child and find out what triggers outbursts in them. What situations do they find threatening? What makes them react in a positive manner? What is fun? What is scary? When you know in advance what is going to cause your child to react in a negative way, you will know which situations to avoid. Similarly, when you know what situations bring happiness and joy to your child, you know what ideals to aim for.
Try not to label your child as "different" and simply accept them for who they are. You don't need to justify your child's autism to others, or to yourself, you simply need to understand that this is a part of who they are. When you celebrate everything that your child can do, instead of everything that they can't, you will find it easier to mentally deal with the challenges that surround them.
Try not to look too far into the future. It is difficult to predict how your child might be as they grow, how they will cope with the adult world and how challenging the years ahead will be. If you try to look too far forward, you may be tempted to simply throw your hands in the air and give up. But this is not the time to be a defeatist.
As you can see, living with autism is not always going to be a scary thing. It is something that can be lived through and dealt with by simply embracing each new day as it comes. Take advantage of the support and help that is available to you and your child will grow to be an upstanding and cherished member of society.