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Learning and brain development happen the most during preschool years. A child who participates in an early intervention program during the age of 2.5 to 3 years has been shown to positively change their trajectory across developmental domains compared to those who begin receiving services later.  Beginning Early Intervention services may result in less services, and significantly lower service related costs by the time your child is ready for school.

Once you receive a diagnosis

  • Find resources: If your child is of school age talk to your school district about the next steps. If your child is in preschool look for an early intervention state program. They are a wealth of information.
  • Determine type of services: This can be found in the diagnosis report and often consist of a combination of behavioral therapy along with occupational and/or speech therapy.
  • Look for services providers: It is extremely important to call your insurance company to follow up on your in network providers, however service providers tend to have a long wait list. Resources such as autism speaks have a list of service providers in your area. Call your insurance, but simultaneously contact multiple service providers in your area to check for eligibility and availability. It is critical to start the right program at the right time.  
  • Connecting with the community: Having an autism diagnosis can feel isolating, however nothing is further from the truth. Connecting with the community and talking to other parents is often the most valuable and best way to learn the ins and outs of getting your child & family the help they need. It is more important than ever to take action and control. Autism speaks is often a great resource for valuable information. Another valuable information is getting in touch with schools with special programs and getting in touch with the parents of the kids in the class.

Children with an ASD  diagnosis can often require multiple therapies, such as: behavior, speech, feeding and occupational therapy. While these therapies are conducted by different disciplines with specific training, benefits of a multi-disciplinary approach is that all therapists are working off a common set of goals the child can accomplish, and these goals are met at a much faster rate when treated from all angles.  If your child has multiple therapists it is highly beneficial to get them to have a conversation and work towards, a common list of goals.

A parent’s involvement is critical to a child’s success, if something is unclear do not hesitate to ask questions. Ask your therapist or case manager how you can help at home. It’s extremely common for parents to not have the same level of success as therapists the first few times due to a pre-existing bond that you have. Keep asking on questions on how to best to implement it until you find a way to succeed. Implementing the treatment strategies at home will enable your child to succeed at a much faster rate.

  • The best way to succeed is to try and integrate your therapies as much as possible and understand the your child’s treatment goals. Good therapists are data-driven and will measure your child’s progress based on how quickly they are accomplishing the goal and ultimately the effectiveness of the treatment.
  • A progress report of the treatment should clearly illustrate whether your child is making progress using data and should leave no room for doubt.

There are many things to consider for children on the spectrum, their needs and therapy programs are constantly changing, just like them! There are many resources and support groups that your family can access.  Having a child with a diagnosis of ASD, is not only about that child, but about the entire family. It is important to educate and reach out for help, you are not alone in your journey.


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