It’s official she’s on the spectrum now what? 

It’s official, she’s on the spectrum, now what? 

As a mother, I have always known that my daughter was different from other children her age. She struggled with social interactions, had difficulty with communication, and had repetitive behaviours. After years of trying to find answers, we finally received the official diagnosis that she is on the autism spectrum. While the diagnosis was a relief in some ways, it also brought new challenges and questions. Now what?

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Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a neurological condition that affects a person’s communication, social interaction, and behaviour. Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that it affects individuals in different ways and to varying degrees. Some people with autism may have significant difficulty with communication and social interaction, while others may have fewer challenges in those areas but may struggle with repetitive behaviours or sensory issues.

One of the most common signs of autism is a delay or lack of development in communication skills. This can include delayed or absent language, difficulty with conversation, and a lack of understanding of social cues and body language. People with autism may also have difficulty with imaginative play and may prefer routines and predictability.

Another common symptom of autism is difficulty with social interactions. People with autism may struggle to understand and respond appropriately to social cues, such as facial expressions and body language. They may also have difficulty making and maintaining friendships and may prefer to spend time alone.

Repetitive behaviours are also common in individuals with autism. These behaviours can include hand-flapping, rocking back and forth, and lining up objects. People with autism may also have strong interests in particular topics or activities and may become fixated on them.

As a mom, I had noticed many of these signs in my daughter, but I didn’t know what they meant or what to do about them. After her diagnosis, I felt both relieved and overwhelmed. On the one hand, I finally had an explanation for her behaviour, but on the other hand, I didn’t know how to help her or what her future would look like.

One of the first steps we took after the diagnosis was to find a therapist who specialises in working with children with autism. Our therapist helped us to understand our daughter’s challenges and to develop strategies to support her. We also started to research autism and to connect with other families who had children on the spectrum.

There are many resources available for families of children with autism, including support groups, online communities, and educational materials. One resource that we found particularly helpful was the Autism Speaks website, which provides information about autism and resources for families. We also found it helpful to connect with other parents of children with autism and to share our experiences and advice.

Another important step in supporting our daughter was to develop an individualised education plan (IEP) with her school. An IEP is a plan that outlines the educational goals and services that a child with a disability will receive. Our daughter’s IEP included accommodations such as a quiet place to work, a sensory diet, and an aide to help her with social interactions.

As a mom, I also had to adjust my expectations for my daughter and learn to appreciate her strengths. While there are certainly challenges that come with autism, there are also many positive aspects. People with autism often have unique talents and interests, and they may see the world in a different way than neurotypical individuals. It’s important to celebrate these differences and to focus on what our children can do rather than what they can’t.

In conclusion, receiving a diagnosis of autism can be overwhelming, but there are many resources and strategies available to help families support their children. It’s important to connect with other families, to work with professionals who specialise in autism, and to develop an individualised plan for your child’s education and support. While there may be challenges, it’s also important to focus on the strengths.

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