What to do if your child has been diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum disorder or ADHD/ADD
Hi and welcome to you,
Perhaps it seemed that one day your child's odd behaviors just seemed like quirks, and the next day, they became a problem for his or her kindergarten teacher, and you and your family suddenly found yourselves on a conveyor belt towards diagnosis and intervention.
Ask around; you may find a friend of a friend who knows a neuropsychologist. You'll be basing so many decisions on their findings, so you want to find one with a great reputation whom you click with.
One big thing that often goes missing on a neuropsychologist’s report, something that I think everyone should know about, is the importance of finding a good family therapist. Take a good look at your spouse. One or the other of you, or possibly both of you, could start to struggle with anxiety or depression over your child’s diagnosis. How can you best support your spouse? Yourself? If your spouse’s coping mechanism is denial, insisting on getting services could drive you apart. Having a professional help educate and mediate between the two of you could be helpful, so it’s not all on you.
Your child is still the same wonderful being s/he was before the diagnosis, but dreams and expectations for his/her future are potentially changed. Your relationship with your spouse could be challenged. The workload of taking your child to get treatments is stressful. Trying to stay on top of educating yourself about treatments can be overwhelming. Juggling all of that is very difficult even if one of you is a stay-at-home parent. If you’re both working, it can feel like over-the-top stress.
The expectations placed on autistic spectrum families is high. AS kids don’t always act in ways that make them, or the rest of their stressed-out family members, welcome at family get-togethers or friends’ parties. Maybe individual counseling is necessary to help each parent cope with that stress. There’s nothing like an intact, happy family for providing security and consistency for your autistic spectrum child. Think of therapy like an insurance policy for maintaining an intact family. However expensive therapy seems, it’s nothing compared to the cost of divorce, and the splitting of resources.
The more successful outcomes I'm aware of were in families who saw therapists, so if you have an autistic spectrum child, think about family counseling. One last thing to keep in mind is to be kind to yourself. Life is about trying and learning, so give yourself a big hug for how hard you try and how far you've come. You are the best advocate your child has. Be kind to yourself by pacing yourself. You’ll get where your child needs you to be. One day at a time.