Receiving ANY diagnosis can be daunting. You may be feeling overwhelmed or even relieved or perhaps a bit of both ! Having a plan to follow for the first few months will ensure that you are off to a flying start. Follow these 10 steps as a starting point to your journey. Think of it as a map or a plan to steer you in the right direction.
Find someone for yourself to speak with on a regular basis. A Psychologist, Councillor. Setting up your own supports is critical. This is a marathon not a sprint and you will need all of the support that you can get.
First things first, Find out What Autism Is and what you can do. Find an Early Days Workshop in your state and book in for some self education. Take your partner or/and your parents if you like.
You can even access Online Early Days through the Raising Children website.
Investigate Interventions and develop a framework or way of thinking about them. You will need to gain some understanding on what you need to be aware of. Good, sound, evidence based intervention is what you are looking for. Does the therapy have an Evidence base? Have there been randomised double blind trials run on the therapy? Who is providing the therapy? What organisation is behind it or who is profiting from it, or has something to gain by providing it! Look at The Association for Science in Autism Treatment and Summaries of scientific research on autism therapies; also have a look around the site Quackwatch.
Contact the Autism Advisor in your State to see what services are available and apply for the HCWA. You will need to be organised, so start to collate all of your information together into a folder. This folder should be taken to all of your medical appointments.
Register with Disability services in your state and have an intake appointment or a needs assessment.
Attend another appointment with your paed and discuss what you have discovered together. Decide on a plan of action. At this time have them help you fill in any paperwork they may need to be involved with. This second appointment with your paed is a MUST as is regular appointments over the next couple of years.
Become a member of the Carers organisation in your state and your state Autism body.
Get out and meet some other parents of Kids with Special needs. Try a My Time support group or one run by your local Autism Association. Talk to Parents on an online Forum like Autism Ladder or if you need advice and a friendly person on the end of the phone 24 Hour Autism Hotline run by parents for Parents.