The news of a diagnosis for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for a child can be devastating for any parent.
Most likely, you’ll have many questions and concerns. What will life be like for my child as they get older? How will they function as a teen and an adult? Will they be able to live as a full a life as possible? What should be our next step?
Although finding out early in life that your child has ASD can be distressing, it is also helpful. That’s because, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), research has shown that early diagnosis and treatment has great benefits when they become adults.
Here’s how early diagnosis and intervention can benefit your adolescent or adult child if they have ASD.
Addressing the Problem Early-On
If your child has been diagnosed with ASD within the first 36 months of birth (3 years), early intervention will be of great help for their development for such skills as:
- Learning to talk and communicate
- Developing physical skills to walk and be more independent
- Addressing language delays
Why are these interventions so useful at so young an age?
The answer is that the brain is not a static organ. It’s actually quite flexible and adaptable. Thus, by receiving services as early as possible, your child’s brain will have a greater chance of coping with ASD as they get older. That could mean the difference between being able to better communicate with other people (especially you!) or not having those skills at all.
One potential issue that your adolescent or adult child may face is medical concerns. Children with ASD can also suffer from health problems such as sleep issues, epilepsy, gastrointestinal problems, etc.
Another possible problem that you need to be aware of as your child grows up is that people with ASD are also more susceptible to developing a mental health problem. For instance, depression or anxiety. Early diagnosis and intervention will be useful for minimizing those issues.
Among the interventions that your child will benefit from, therapy will be just one of many useful tools.
Through therapeutic intervention, they will be able to learn how to better manage their behaviors and express their needs. Moreover, a specialized therapist can help with getting your child assistance with their education so that they can learn and succeed in school. And your child will also benefit from occupational therapy where they can life skills to help them be as independent as possible.
These interventions will give your child the best chance for navigating and understanding the world later in life as an adult.
Helpful for You
Along with having benefits for your child, early diagnosis and treatment can be helpful for you as a parent.
For example, you can learn better ways to communicate with your child. Or you can understand how to best address behavior issues. This can really be helpful for those moments when you feel overwhelmed and don’t know what to do.
Also, being able to access support networks will be critical so that can give your child the love and care they deserve.
It’s not just your adolescent or adult child, nor even just you, that will need help navigating and understanding ASD—the whole family needs help.
ASD is a diagnosis that affects everyone in a family. Sometimes stress levels are high because you’re not just handling issues related to your child but dealing with everything else in life too. That’s why it’s helpful that you participate in individual therapy and that everyone in your home engages in family therapy too. You want to support your child, but you also need support for yourself.
If your child has been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, there is hope. With early diagnosis, intervention, and support, they have the potential to lead as productive and independent a life as they possibly can as an adult. And along the way, you and your family will need help too.
If you’re looking for professional support for yourself and your family, please contact us or learn more about ourcounseling services.