Parents’ Guide: So Your Child Has Been Diagnosed With Autism…
written by the team at elemy
So your child has been diagnosed with autism. What is the next step?
If you’ve just learned that your child has autism, it can be an incredibly daunting and confusing time. You likely have a lot of questions about what autism is, what it means for your child and for your family, and how to move forward. This guide will help you get started.
What Is Autism?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that autism — or more specifically, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) — is a developmental disability. This categorization can refer to a number of long-term (perhaps lifelong) medical conditions. These disorders may occur due to an issue with the formation of regions of the brain that control language, learning, behavior, or physical movement.
In the case of autism, people who have ASD will have challenges relating to their behavior, communication, and social skills. Physically, people who have autism bear no differences to those who don’t have the disorder, but they will learn, behave, communicate, and interact in ways that are different (sometimes subtly, sometimes overtly) than those around them.
People with autism can be severely challenged by their different abilities to learn, think, and problem-solve, or they might be incredibly gifted. Some people on the autism spectrum need a lot of assistance to live a functioning and happy life; others are more self-sufficient.
Today, several other conditions that traditionally were diagnosed separately fall under the umbrella of the autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. In addition to autistic disorder, a doctor or specialist will also look for signs for Asperger syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), among others. All these conditions fall under the category of autism spectrum disorder.