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In the immediate aftermath of a diagnosis many parents query if they can understand the world as their child perceives it and therefore feel insecure and uncertain about whether they now really know their own child and can meet his needs. It is therefore important to recognise that the period immediately following diagnosis is one of huge adjustments, but that once things begin to settle down (and they will!), as you gather more knowledge and understanding about Autism (and how if effects your child), so your confidence will grow and with it the recognition that YOU are the greatest, all-round expert on your child.
As is the case with so many aspects of parenting, doing your best and making choices for your child is often a balancing act. We have found it important to balance the confidence we have in our own instincts, intuition and knowledge of our children, with an open mindedness in respect of what other parents, experts and professionals have to offer.
Actively seek out people who are knowledgeable and consider what they have to say. Keep an open mind about different therapies (conventional and unconventional) but tread carefully as not all therapies will be suitable for your child and can be expensive into the bargain. In the early days we are all keen to leap in and be pro-active in the way we try to help our children (as a matter of fact this was our way of staying sane!). However, we would suggest that while considering everything, you should commit to nothing while still coming to terms with your child’s diagnosis. Take time to look up suggested therapies and interventions on the internet, talk to other parents and professionals. Take your time and above all never lose sight of the individual child at the centre of any proposed therapy, strategy or intervention.
Finally we have all found it immeasurably helpful to remember that although our children have Autism, this does not totally define who they are. Many parents have expressed the feeling that their child’s character, personality, sense of humour or plain loveliness is bigger than their Autism. Your child is still the same person that you loved and found pleasure in prior to diagnosis.
Further information is available through Family Support