Tips For Handling Your Child’s Autism Diagnosis

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*Thank you to Jessie Lipscomb for this guest post about her son’s Autism diagnosis and her tips on handling a special needs diagnosis. 

When we got concern at the eighteen-month wellness check for a speech delay, it was a shock. Jackson had always been a chill kid with no signs of any negatives, so to be told that he was ‘severely behind’ at a standard wellness check shook me to my core. When we received his Autism
diagnosis four months later, it was incredibly overwhelming, but also very calming. My husband and I had discussed this possibility to the ends of the Earth so to receive the diagnosis answered more questions instead of bringing more on.

However, this isn’t the case with many parents. If this is a diagnosis you weren’t expecting, it can suddenly feel like your child and your entire world is different. All the acronyms start coming out like ABA, IEPs, getting an OT & Speech therapist, all the while your head is spinning like “Please repeat that all again & slower”.

I get it.

The paperwork, the insurance and organizing the companies with schedules. What services? What terminology? What form? Which Doctor? It’s a lot. Being the parent of a newly diagnosed kid is a different kind of parenting no one can explain to you until you’ve gone through it yourself. The technical side varies based on your kid and their needs, but I’m here to offer you a point of view as a parent.

A few things to keep in mind after you receive your child’s diagnosis

  • It’s ok to feel however you feel. Girl, it’s perfectly ok to feel everything and it’s ok for those feelings to change daily, if not hourly. One minute you could feel extremely relieved that you found some kind of explanation to your special needs babe and the next, completely overwhelmed that even though you have some explanation, there are SO many challenges and responsibilities on the road ahead.
  • Whatever you feel is ok. Be prepared for the kinds of days that flip on a switch. One day you’ll feel ready to check everything off your list and take on the day. The next, just getting out of bed is a struggle. THAT’S OK. These waves are expected and more than welcomed. Being the parent of a kid with special needs bring a lot of worry but equal, if not more amounts of joy. The polar opposite of emotions are part of the process and I promise, the bad days get fewer and further between as you go.
  • There are benefits to autism. I know it can seem like it’s hard to see the positives of Autism at first but trust me, they’re there. Our babes simply see the world in a different, beautiful way! They learn with unique strategies to the point where people think they’re bad just because they’re so different. The signs of speech delay and lack of eye contact may show some negatives however, people stop there and don’t discuss how academically advanced they also are. For example, your kid may not look a cashier in the eye, but they could probably ring up the total faster than them (Not all kids with ASD have this gift. Just an example). Also, many geniuses throughout history have either shown signs of or been diagnosed with Autism.
  • Do your best not to focus on the negatives of Autism. The positives will become more evident the more you continue to love and be with your babe. Their gifts and talents will continue to flourish and you, as the parent, will see them thrive into the person they are meant to become.
  • Think about how you act around your child. Learning your kid’s diagnosis is huge. Like massive. It’s overwhelming. It’s draining. It is A LOT. This information hits a lot of parents like a bus and that’s ok. Feel whatever you feel. However, be mindful of how you act around your babe. They are still little sponges that absorb everything. There are plenty of therapies for you as parents to begin and groups to join. But keep in mind that your kid received the diagnosis, not you. Starting the journey as a parent is a lot to take on (all the different therapies, school, social interactions, etc) but your babe is 100% still your babe. Try not to treat them so fragile and become that helicopter mom. Some cases are more severe than others but if your goal is to have your babe succeed in life on their own, don’t hinder them by constantly coddling them. They will still make messes, have tantrums, and be a kid. Allow them that childlike wildfire.

Becoming involved in communities will provide you assistance in answering personal questions
too. Organizations like Autism Speaks are great places to start. But again, don’t get caught up in them. Autism doesn’t define your child or you as a parent, so try not to get caught up in it. Don’t allow a diagnosis to take away their joy of being a kid. Don’t let this make you think there’s something wrong with your babe, because there isn’t.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is not a death sentence. Let me assure you that you did NOTHING wrong as a parent. The Mom-guilt of you not doing enough early on will be there, but it doesn’t
have to rule you. Early intervention is the key to your kid’s growth later on so rest assured that you are doing right by your kid. Whatever therapy route your family decides to go, know the special needs community is always open for support. I’m here to tell you it does get better and you are never alone on the journey.

About the Author

My name is Jessie Lipscomb and I live in Goose Creek with my two sons (two-years-old and three-months-old), my husband and two pups! By day, I’m a Media Consultant for a Medical Supply Company who drinks way too much coffee and by night, I’m a lifestyle blogger getting up multiple times a night to feed an infant. My oldest son was recently diagnosed with Autism so I’m learning more about that every day, but I’m also extremely passionate about taking care of other Mommas – I’m considering becoming a doula but I need something to pay my bills!