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Child Newly Diagnosed with Autism? The Top Five Things You Should Know

Autism spectrum disorders, World Autism Awareness Day, Autism Speaks

The rate of the number of children in the United States diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder is rising. More and more families are faced with multiple decisions to make once they receive the news that their child is affected, which can be overwhelming and distressing. The founders of Autism Today, the largest online autism resource, offer tips to help families get started on their lifelong journey.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently reported that the rate of autism in US children has increased from 1 in 150 in 2002 to 1 in 88 today. This represents an increase of 78% within just the last decade, making autism one of the most pressing health problems in the nation.

If your family is one of those newly affected by an autism diagnosis, Karen Simmons, CEO and Founder of Autism Today and a mother of children with special needs, and Lee Grossman, former President and CEO of the Autism Society of America and father to a son with autism, offer these ten tips to know and do when dealing with autism for the first time.

First off, while the diagnosis may be shocking and overwhelming, start today instead of staying in a state of denial. The longer you delay getting help, the less likely your child will have an optimal outcome. Early intervention is critical.

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Second, focus on solutions instead of blame that you caused this to your child. We still don’t know the exact cause of autism and there isn’t a cure, so your focus right now should be how to get the best help possible. National organizations such as Autism Today are excellent resources, but also find out what is available to you locally. At AutismSpeaks.org, you can click on your state within the Resource Guide for contact information for services such as health services (pediatricians, neurologists, psychologists, etc) and location sites for interventions such as Applied Behavior Analysis.

Remember when searching online for resources, stick to those you know are reputable. Unfortunately, autism has fallen victim to many online scams. A list of reliable organizations can be found at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a division of the National Institutes of Health.

Third, when looking at local resources available, do not forget support services/support groups for you as a parent as well. Veteran parents can help you find the most qualified doctor in your area, for example, or special services such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy. The groups can also offer a respite for you as a caregiver – a much needed break where you can focus for an hour on your own needs.

Fourth, stay educated about the biomedical advances and improvements to behavioral interventions. New studies are conducted every day, and here at Emaxhealth.com, we stay on top of what is happening all over the globe. Also, keep your family and close friends in the loop about what is happening to your child. They may try to offer advice, or may have difficulty understanding, especially if they come from an older generation. Be patient, and again, focus on the best solutions for your family.

Lastly, stay involved in events that affect your child’s future. When it comes time for elementary school, for example, schedule meetings with your child’s teachers and school administration. Be proactive and start early then stay on top of the happenings within the school. The school staff will appreciate your open and honest communication and expertise as an autism parent. Your child will also benefit from you staying involved in his or her educational experience.

Source: Autism Today