The diagnosis - What to do

Parents who suspect their child has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or have had the diagnosis confirmed can feel overwhelmed and not know what to do. More children are being diagnosed with every passing day and the word “autism” is constantly in the news, making it hard to know where to find useful information.

The importance of early intervention in improving children’s prognosis and development is constantly emphasized by medical and mental-health professionals in the fiel d of ASD. However, the availability of and the access to treatment programs varies widely across Canada. The process can take months, or even years, leaving many parents feeling frustrated and ill-equipped about how to proceed. In the meantime, there are things parents can do to find support for themselves and their family in dealing with their child’s social, communication, and behavioural challenges.

This page will outline some general things you can do:

Educate yourself:
Consult your provincial government website, your local Autism organization and/or a professional to find out the appropriate procedure in your province to get on a waiting list for funded services as quickly as possible. Then continue to educate yourself through books, newsletters or conferences. Contact and talk to other parents and professionals through your local Autism organizations. If you can afford to, arrange private services in the meantime. There are various group and individual services as well as programs which can be applied in a family setting.

Develop a support system:
Solicit help from friends and family to surround yourself with a support system so that you can deal with the challenges ahead. Join a support group in your community or online to learn and benefit from the experiences of others.

Advocate on your child’s behalf:
Learn how to become a positive and equal advocate for your child by working as a partner with professionals. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand their recommendations.

Advocate on behalf of the Autism community:
When you are able to do so, join other parents in your community and advocate to build public awareness of autism and the need for the development of more autism services and support.