Where Do I Start?
When we received Zak’s Autism diagnosis we felt overwhelmed on where to start getting help. Below are suggestions and things we have done based on research we have performed and recommendations from others in the Autism community. There are so many resources & therapies available and so many things to learn and try. So, take a deep breath and start with what is most important…
- Autism Speaks has created a good tool to start an initial Autism action plan. We did not have this when we received our diagnosis, but we sure wish we had. To see the action plan navigate to http://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/tool-kits/100-day-kit. This tool is full of great information and helpful steps to get started.
- Start critical services as soon as possible. In my opinion the following therapies are most critical: Speech, Physical, Occupational, Social skills. Depending on the age of your child I also recommend researching ABA or Floortime. NOTE: Paying for these services will again depend on a few factors. Research state services & services through the school district. Also learn if your health insurance provides any coverage (many states have now passed a law that requires coverage of specific services). Also if you have “out-of-network” coverage that will sometimes cover some expenses as well.
- Find a “rescue angel”. They are mothers who have signed up to help new parents on their journey and they will be local to where you are. Navigate to http://www.generationrescue.org/find-a-mentor/. Put in your state and a list of names will be provided. This is a valuable resource.
- Join a local support group. You will need support to help you gain knowledge on how to help your child as well as emotional support from people who understand what emotions you are experiencing. The Autism Society of America is a great place to start. Their main website is http://www.autism-society.org/ or search Google for the site of your local chapter. We cannot stress enough the importance of finding support and the Autism community in general, is amazing!
- Start and/or continue to read & research about Autism. The more knowledge you have the more powerful & prepared you will be to help your child. The internet is filled with great information. Also consider attending a local or national Autism conference. Focus on learning about the areas you child needs the most support with.