When your child receives an autism diagnosis it can be difficult to come to terms with. You may be struggling to find ways of making them feel supported with a condition you might not know much about.
There are lots of aspects of your child’s life that may be affected by an autism diagnosis. But luckily there are lots of ways in which you can help to support and encourage your child to make the most of life.
A lot of people worry about how their child’s autism diagnosis will change family life. It can be quite a large concern, but in reality, the change may not be as large as you initially believe.
Your child has always had autism, even though they have only just received an official diagnosis. This likely means that you have already been adjusting family life to suit their needs. Whether that’s by giving them space to relax after they finish school, or by keeping them on a structured daily schedule.
The biggest change will be putting in place all the support systems that your child may need. This will help them to thrive in all aspects of their lives. Advocating for your child and encouraging them to celebrate who they are are the most important things.
One of the first things that you should do when your child receives an autism diagnosis is to talk to the school. Talk to them about the needs you think your child has for example communication, learning or social skills.
Ask the school if they can provide extra help to your child. This could be anything ranging from extra teaching support, to different teaching methods to separate lessons to help your child improve their skills.
If your child needs further support that your school doesn’t usually provide you will have a couple of options. You could hire a tutor outside of school hours to work with them one-to-one. If this option isn’t convenient you could apply for a place at a school that will offer better support for your child.
There is always the option of specialist schooling if mainstream schooling isn’t best suited to fit your child’s needs. To apply for specialist schooling you will need an EHC plan. These plans outline your child’s specific educational, health and social needs as well as the support required to meet these needs. As part of this plan, you will be able to tell the council what school you believe is best for your child to attend.
Making friends can be difficult for some children who have autism. If your child already has established friendships then that is wonderful, but it isn’t the case for everyone. But there are many ways to help support your child in making friends.
One of the best ways to help your child make friends if they are struggling, is to surround them with other children who share their interests. Common interests are one of the easiest ways to build friendships. For example, if your child enjoys art you could enrol them in an art class.
Another way to help your child make friends is to reduce environmental stressors. If your child finds that making friends is stressful and hard work they are less likely to want to do it. Removing stressors that you can control may make them feel a lot more comfortable.
You could even help your child by practising friendship scenarios with them. This may help to get them more comfortable with that style of interaction so it comes more naturally to them.
Unfortunately, even today, there are still people who believe in the stigmatising ablest rhetoric. This is likely something that you and your child will always come across and can be incredibly challenging and stressful to deal with.
One of the best ways to help your child deal with this is to be supportive of them. Always encourage them to be who they are and embrace their identity despite what others may think or say. Having a strong support system will help your child to cope with the negativity.
Another way to help your child is to encourage them to interact with their peers who may also have autism. Spending time with people who understand how hard it can be when people are negative can be very beneficial for your child. It may also help them to make friends as they can bond over shared experiences.
Bright Futures Care
Although it may seem daunting at first, by putting in place the proper support systems your child will be able to flourish. Some changes will have to be made to their lives but it will be to help improve and enrich them.
To find out more about the support we offer at Bright Futures Care, get in touch with us today.