A child might benefit from horse therapy (hippo therapy), water therapy, karate, Special Olympics, music therapy, massage therapy, chiropractic services, vitamin therapy, chelation, medication, craniosacral therapy, deep pressure stimulation as well as many other options.
When autism is first mentioned a few tests that might be needed before a formal diagnosis and to rule out other issues is a hearing test and the test for Fragile-X. Both my children had both of these done. The Fragile-X was confusing to me since I had never heard of it and I spent hours researching this for no apparent reason, when I could have been learning more about Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The cause of autism is speculated in range from mercury poisoning, vaccine injury, genetic, environmental and the list continues depending on which side of the fence you sit on. You can choose to learn about autism on your own through books by those on the spectrum, parents and professionals and observing your child. Obtain a copy of the CARS – Children with autism rating scale, CHAT – Checklist for Autism in Toddlers and look through the DSM-IV – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Learn about the IEP Process - Individual Education Program and observe schools and classrooms to see where your child fits in. Depending on the situation consider an aide or half day mainstreaming your child. Develop realistic goals your child will flourish with and do not overload the child with so much that you miss out on the quality time of childhood and relationships.
Attend meetings, conferences, training events when possible, but do not overload yourself with too much material. Do not try to tackle everything at once. This would mean start with one therapy and then do a diet change a few weeks later and the same with medication. Experiment and see if anyone mentions improvements or setbacks and make adjustments immediately. Do not believe everything the professionals and teachers tell you. Shop around for a Doctor that will listen to you and one that your child is comfortable with.
Join or start a support group, enroll your other children in sibling groups. No two treatments are alike, disseminate information and determine which is right for your family situation. What works for some children on the spectrum might not work for yours and try not to set your family up for disappointment. Before trying out a diet do the research and get the entire family involved in the process. Do not waste time trying to explain autism to non-believers, use that energy on your child and advocate for a better life for those on the spectrum as they get older.
Spend time with your child instead of wondering why this happened, allow yourself time to adjust to the diagnosis without spending too much of it in denial. Avoid negativity that does harm to your family and loved ones. Remove barriers and make adjustments in your life so your child is not forced into a sensory overload. Get inside their world instead of forcing the child to endure a trip to Wal-Mart. Structure your days and work on bedtime rituals so consistency counts.
Who cares if every other family is going to Disney World, get a swing, trampoline, ball-pit and bring the fun into your house so your child can enjoy the simple things that make a family special.
Promoting Autism Awareness
Halloween for children with autism
Educational Autism Tips for Families 71 page resourceful ebook for families entering the school system with a recent autism diagnosis. Find out what issues take place over the course of a school day and meet these challenges head on.