Dealing with your child’s diagnosis of Autism

How do I deal with my child’s diagnosis?

Receiving news that your child has autism can be very difficult. You may experience a variety of emotional reactions including… relief, shock, grief, anger, sadness, denial. Stress, confusion and anxiety are also common.

Part of moving forward is dealing with your own needs and emotions – Remember that you need to first take care of yourself, in order to take the best possible care for your child!

Raising a child with autism places extraordinary demands on the parents as well as the family as a whole. Although research indicates that the majority of children who have a sibling with Autism cope well with their experiences, it doesn’t mean that they don’t encounter challenges in learning how to socialise and interact with them.  For example, they may be discouraged from attempting to play with a sibling who may not seem interested, embarrassed by unwanted attention at family outings, or angry if they feel that different expectations are placed upon them.  As such, family members may also need support of their own.

What are some tips for families affected by Autism?

  • Be informed, and take advantage of the services available to you in your community
  • Don’t ignore your feelings – you may have conflicting emotions and those emotions are to be expected – it is okay. If you find yourself having a difficult time, seek out your own support, whether it be a close friend, family member, or health professional.
  • Spend time with your other children – although time spent with the whole family is great and strengthens your bond, having a child with Autism may mean that they are given more attention. Try to remember that they all need to feel important and have alone time with Mum and Dad.
  • It is not helpful to be upset or angry for extended periods of time – when you find yourself arguing with another family member over an Autism-related issue, try to remember that this is painful for the both of you. Rather than directing your anger towards your loved ones, try directing it towards the disorder instead.

If you would like some support, please feel free to book an appointment with one of our qualified child psychologists.