My son, who is two and a half years old, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder around the age of 29 months. My husband and I received the diagnosis exactly two weeks before our second son was born. As you can imagine, our lives became overwhelming very quickly. I’m writing this post in the hopes it can be of some help to parents who might be in a similar situation.
As I’m writing this, it’s only been just over three months since it became official. Even though it’s been such a short amount of time, I honestly can’t remember entirely what my knowledge on autism was before my son was diagnosed. There is so much information out there about the disorder, much of it contradictory. People who have a casual understanding of it might have many misconceptions; I know I did! I’m pretty sure I used to just think that people with autism had issues with social interactions. This is definitely true for many people with autism, but not necessarily all of them. And there is so much more to it than that! I encourage you to read this article.
Along with learning all about autism and what it entails, we’ve also had to dive into a world of differing treatment options as we’ve decided what is best for our son. Again, there is so much out there, and there are still many unknowns even in the medical community. So, where the heck do you start?
Hopefully, if you’ve had your child evaluated by a professional, that person provided you with a list of recommendations. Our son was diagnosed by a psychologist who gave us a list of ABA therapy providers, the numbers for the Genetics Department and the Neurology Department at the Children’s Hospital, and some other things that we could pursue to help him.
People with autism could possibly have underlying disease, so it’s important to talk to a geneticist to see if genetic testing is right for your child. They are also more likely to have brain abnormalities such as seizures, so it’s also a good idea to see a neurologist. Our son was showing signs of absence seizures – he sometimes blanks out for about ten seconds – so we had an EEG (electroencephalogram) done for him to rule them out.
Shortly after receiving the diagnosis, we called the top recommended ABA therapy provider on the list we were given. We were able to get our son enrolled fairly quickly and he is now receiving services five days a week in their center. I could go into detail about this, but I encourage you to do your own research about ABA therapy. So far, our son loves going and has a good relationship with his therapists!
Another great resource could be your state’s Early Intervention program. Our son was actually receiving speech therapy services a few months before we decided to have him evaluated for autism. This is because he is speech delayed, which is a common symptom of autism. Search for your state’s program if your child has any developmental delays and you could possibly receive free therapy services in your home! Speech therapy has been tremendously helpful for our son.
There is so much more I want to talk about, but I can’t do it all in one day. Keep checking back to this blog for more information about our experiences with autism!