My Child Was Diagnosed With Autism, What Is Next?

Receiving an autism diagnosis for your child can be intimidating. Many parents may feel confused, stressed, or even depressed after a diagnosis and may have questions about what to do next. It is important to remember that your child is not defined by their disability and what comes next is a new life journey.

Unlocking The Spectrum is there for you from the time of a diagnosis until the graduation from services and we understand how complex it can be to learn that your child has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) To help you through your new journey with autism and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, we have compiled a shortened version of tips and advice quoted directly from the “100 Day Tool Kit” that are recommended by the nation’s largest autism advocacy group, Autism Speaks. To read the entire version of the “100 Day Tool Kit” written by Autism Speaks, please visit the link at: 100 Day Tool Kit. 

Receiving The Diagnosis

  • Once your child has a formal diagnosis, ask for a comprehensive report that includes the diagnosis in writing as well as recommendations for treatment.
  • Parents, siblings and other family members may each react to the diagnosis in different ways and at different rates. Give yourself time to adjust. Be patient. It will take some time to understand your child’s autism and how you can best support them.
  • Each child and adult with autism is unique, so each autism intervention plan should be tailored to address specific needs. Treatment for autism is usually a very intensive, comprehensive undertaking that involves the child’s entire family and a team of professionals.

Seeking Therapy For Your Child

  • Your child’s pediatrician, developmental pediatrician, psychologist, or social worker can make suggestions or help you prioritize therapies based on your child’s strengths and challenges identified in their evaluation.
  • Many families choose one type of intervention that best meets the needs of their child and their parenting style.
  • Behavior analysis is a scientifically validated approach to understanding behavior and how it is affected by the environment.
  • Behavior analysis focuses on the principles that explain how learning takes place. Positive reinforcement is one of these principles. When a behavior is followed by some sort of reward, the behavior is more likely to be repeated and strengthened.

ABA Therapy and Insurance

  • As of August 2019, all 50 states require meaningful coverage for autism therapies, including ABA, under state-regulated health insurance plans.
  • Your type of health insurance plan impacts how you advocate for a change in benefits, as well as how you appeal denials of coverage and to whom you file complaints if you are not satisfied with implementation of benefits.
  • Find out about what your health insurance covers and how best to advocate for autism benefits.

Choosing ABA Therapy

  • Research has demonstrated that ABA is effective for improving children’s outcomes, especially their functional skills (daily living skills), and can also improve cognitive ability and language in young children.
  • Effective ABA for autism is not a “one size fits all” approach and is not a “canned” set of programs or drills. Instead, a skilled therapist customizes the intervention to each child’s skills, needs, interests, preferences and family situation. So an ABA program for one learner looks different than a program for another learner. ABA changes as the needs of the learner change. Families can use ABA principles in their daily lives.

ABA therapy, or Applied Behavior Analysis, is an intensive treatment program that systematically applies principles and techniques based upon learning theory with the goal of improving socially significant behavior.

Unlocking The Spectrum was created with the mission of making ABA Therapy accessible to ALL children with autism by providing the highest quality ABA Therapy services to areas of need. Research, conducted over the past 60 years, has shown ABA therapy to be the most effective treatment for children with autism. In fact, ABA therapy is the only therapy endorsed by the Surgeon General as an effective treatment for autism. At Unlocking The Spectrum, we believe that an effective ABA program is an essential component in allowing children with autism to reach their maximum potential.

To get in contact regarding services for your child, please reach out and we’ll help you navigate every step of the process! 

Citation: Autism Speaks. (n.d.). 100 day kit for families of newly diagnosed young children.

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