Autism? Where do I start?

Your child has just been diagnosed with Autism so what do you do now? What is out there to help you? How will we cope, does my child have a future?

The answer to most of these questions will come in time and YES your child can have a future… a very bright and amazing future depending on his or her severity with a lot of dedicated work. My son was diagnosed with mild to moderate Autism, today they call it level 1 and level 2.

You’re not alone, I myself was struggling with this as well. Where do I find help and when I find the help is it free or will I be able to afford it. Flash forward almost 18 years and WOW! My son has 2 co-op jobs from his adult classes, taken a kitchen stewardship course at Algonquin, ran six 10 km marathons, was part of the school athletic affiliation and the athletics group and track and field, has his silver in Duke of Edinburgh, makes his own meals, does his own laundry and maneuvers the OC Transpo almost like a pro and more.

I’m not telling you this to brag, I am telling you this because a diagnosis of Autism isn’t a death sentence there is hope in most cases. When my son was 6 years old, he barely spoke, didn’t give eye contact and couldn’t handle being in school let alone carry on a conversation. I would regularly have to pick him up at school at least 2 – 3 times a week because of his anxieties.

I refused to give up so I dug deeper, I studied and read every book I could get my hands on, you should see my collection. I decided to stop going out to work and started my own consulting company so I would be home when he needed me Thank GOD I have a supportive amazing husband.

My first step was to investigate what programs are available for my child, and this can change from year to year, so make sure you really investigate all of your options. I talked to my family doctor for recommendations and I also spoke with his psychologist who diagnosed our him, they were both very helpful.

Your psychologist should have a lot of good information in your child’s report, that they give to you once they have the diagnosis. Keep in mind you may not get a proper diagnosis until they are much older. Our first diagnosis was PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Non-Other Specified.

You see Ty was a puzzle, he had Autism traits, but he also had some Asperger traits, but yet they also thought he had ADHD.

He was 6 years old when he had his first diagnosis and had a second one done when he was 11. He was finally diagnosed that he didn’t have ADHD, and had Mild to Moderate Autism. Level 1 – 2.

Read your child’s diagnosis very carefully and if you have any questions, please make sure you ask them. Also, know your rights when your child is in school and NEVER EVER feel bad for asking questions, you can never ask too many. You can find out more about what you need to know here at Autism Ontario. It is worth taking the time to read them.

Hang on to this report and ask for copies, these will be VERY important especially when applying for funding and other help in the present and down the road. I would also suggest starting a file or binder with all the information pertaining to your child because this will help you stay organized when going to meetings with various programs. Yes, there will be a lot of them.

I’ve added all of my sons IEP’s, report cards, psychologist reports and more over the years and even at 17, I’ve had to pull from it. You will need them when he turns 18 if you want to apply for ODSP or DSO because they will want to see his diagnosis, IEP’s etc.

Whatever their diagnosis, don’t give up and keep fighting for them, they need you and they are worth it.

In the meantime check out some of the following websites that have a ton of amazing information on them such as various programs, funding, and more by downloading the word doc HERE.

I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to post any comments or questions below.