Wednesday, September 14, 2011

You've Accepted the Diagnosis, Now What??

Once you have come to terms with the diagnosis that your child has special needs, now what?  I remember when I first got the diagnosis of Autism for my son,  I felt like I was drowning in information. It seemed like everyone around me had their own opinion.  It is so hard to know where to start.  My son also has ADHD which a lot of the time goes hand in hand with Autism.  If your child is less than 3, you most likely will be beginning with an early intervention program through your county/school district that you live in.  As soon as your child hits 3, he or she usually  "ages out" of the early intervention services and progresses to school.   Depending on the severity of their Autism they will most likely be in a regular classroom with possibly an aide or in a special education classroom. Even if your child is in a private school, there are still services available.  There are lots of free resources out there, you just have to know how to look for them.  I will be sharing more about those resources in future blog entries.  It's definitely been a learning process, there is no manual for parents of special needs children.  Just like there is no manual for typically developing children.   There is a document called an IEP (Individualized Educational  Program) that is used when your child needs services through the school system.  It can look overwhelming, but it is a very important part of your child's education.  It lists services that your child will get through the school system, updated once a year.  Take the time to become familiar with it.  Don't be afraid of putting a "label" of Autism on their IEP.  The more services your child can get through the school system the better! The best bit of advice I can pass along to ALL parents is to be their advocate!

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