Before their baby is born, most parents fantasize about their unborn child’s future accomplishments. We all dream of cheering our little ones at their soccer games and picture how wonderful our family vacations will be with our little addition. Right?
Getting a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder changes those dreams drastically. Parents often go through many emotional stages such as fear, sadness, anger and finally acceptance before they are able to move on and do whatever is necessary to help their child.
Early intervention is essential for any child with challenges. As parents, it is our job to make sure a plan is implemented for our children right away. This means if we suspect something is wrong, we need to listen to that voice and stop at nothing until we have an answer! If we don’t fight for our children, then no one will!
If parents suspect a problem with their child and all their concerns are brushed away by the child’s physician, get a second opinion! Sometimes physicians will tell parents that their children are fine and if they are delayed in any developmental milestones, physicians try to reassure parents by telling them that their children will catch-up. Parents can not settle for this answer! Be sure to visit a developmental pediatrician to have your child evaluated to either be sure that there are not any developmental disorders or, if there is, then the proper therapies can be started right away.
It is also important for parents to never give up! Parents will become frustrated as they call to make appointments for their children with specialists and therapists. Some of these sources will have long waiting lists and can be as long as a year or longer! Be sure to make the appointment, many times you will be seen sooner due to cancellations and if not, get your name on the waiting list as soon as possible before anymore funding is cut, making the wait even longer!
Parents also need to be sure to work closely with their child’s school district. I have found that this makes getting services and therapy much easier. Many times your child will be evaluated at school. The school is responsible for making sure your child gets all the necessary help he or she needs.
For parents of children on the autism spectrum, life seems like a never ending battle to make sure your child gets all the services and therapies that they are entitled to. It is important to never give up! Your child needs someone to fight for their best interests!