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My Child Has Autism. Now What?

Learning your child has autism may take you by surprise. You may feel like the wind was just knocked out of you. Or maybe you’ve been struggling with challenging behaviors, you suspected autism, and it’s a relief to finally have an answer.

No matter where you begin, an autism diagnosis usually sends parents into an emotional whirlwind. It can leave you feeling overwhelmed with questions about where to begin, what to do, and what it all means.

Our team at THINK Neurology for Kids understands the impact of autism, not only on the child who was just diagnosed, but also on their parents, families, and friends. We offer the support you need, from answering questions and talking about your next step to providing ongoing evaluations and medical care.

First, take time to breathe

Take a little time to collect your thoughts, acknowledge your emotions, and talk with your family. Then it’s time to take action and find the services your child needs.

Connect with an autism professional

Connect with an autism professional who can offer advice based on your child’s unique strengths, developmental needs, and age. This may or may not be the person who diagnosed your child, depending on who did your child’s evaluation.

Their experience in autism is important, but you also want to feel comfortable with this person. You need to like the way they interact and communicate with you and your child. And you need to feel confident that they recognize and prioritize your child’s needs rather than trying to push a one-size-fits-all approach. The neurologic workup for autism that we provide includes genetic testing and EEG to assess for silent seizures and/or subclinical epilepsy.

Learn about autism treatments

With such an array of autism therapies and services, it’s important to learn about your choices. Each therapy has different goals and techniques. Some techniques will be a good fit for your child and others may have a negative effect.

Here are only a few examples of effective autism treatments:

These behavioral, psychological, and educational therapies serve many goals, from teaching life skills and reducing challenging behaviors to improving social and language skills.

We talk with you about the different therapies and how they work. You can also find plenty of information from reliable sources online, like the Autism Society, Autism Speaks, and the National Institute of Mental Health.

Individualized education program

If your child is 3 or younger, Texas offers Early Childhood Intervention programs. School-aged children need an individualized education program (IEP) that defines the services they will receive at school. You may also need to find a case manager who helps you get services provided in your home and the community.

To access services, there are specific steps you need to take and paperwork to fill out. Your child may need additional evaluations. Our team gets you started, performs evaluations, and offers guidance each step of the way.

Create a treatment plan and start therapy

Early autism treatment targets your child’s most pressing needs, such as developmental delays, lack of communication, self-care skills, and emotional or behavioral challenges. 

The goal is to start therapies that support your child’s progress, teach new skills, prevent backsliding, and improve their success at school and home.

We work closely with parents to create the best treatment plan for their child. We also teach techniques you can use at home to improve behaviors and reinforce new skills. 

You may need to learn about visual aids, assistive technology, behavior reward systems, and dealing with sensory issues, to give you a few examples.

Join a support group

Having a support group of autism parents will get you through your moments of frustration, disappointment, and worry. 

Few things are as comforting as sharing time with others who understand, who listen to your concerns, and who can offer advice based on their own experience.

If you need information or guidance for newly diagnosed autism, call the nearest location in The Woodlands, Katy, or Cypress, Texas, or request an appointment online today.

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