Learning Tools for Parents of Children with Autism
by Jaime Friedman
January 31, 2023
Parents of children with Autism and related diagnoses often have to invest more effort into their child’s development and treatment than parents of typically developing children, but there is extra help available online. With access to these online tools, parents can find resources that directly address their child’s needs.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
If a child is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or a similar disorder, it is natural for the child’s parents to feel unsure or overwhelmed at first. Autism is complicated, and, depending on the case, the treatment plan for someone with Autism may require support throughout the day and across multiple settings. Although it can seem daunting, there is a process to ensure that each individual receives the best treatment according to their overall needs.
After a diagnosis is made, your child’s behavioral or mental health provider will begin to develop a treatment plan based on available data, peer-reviewed studies and the specific needs your child presents with. The treatment plan will establish roles for parents, teachers and the rest of the ABA team in each setting determined to be medically necessary, but there are always additional resources available for parents of children with Autism.
Pre-Diagnosis Resources for Parents
Parents who suspect their child may have Autism should consult with their pediatrician, but in between appointments, they can monitor the child’s achievement of developmental milestones. Communication and social skills delays are common indicators of Autism. If parents observe slowed development or regressions in these areas, it may be time to begin the Autism screening process for their child.
If you have concerns about your child, or you would just like to be proactive, you can look for these signs:
- No signs of socialization through 6 months
- No pointing or hand gestures through 12 months
- Not using one-word communication through 16 months
- Not using two-word phrases by 24 months
- Lack of eye contact or smiling
- Not responding to his/her name
- Not using body language for communication
There is also information for families learning about Autism for the first time on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
Resources for Parents of Children with a Diagnosis
Parents play an important role on the ABA team. It is not uncommon for parents of children with Autism to serve as the primary advocates for their child. Behavioral and mental health professionals also rely on parental input to stay up to date on the child’s progress. Parents ultimately assume a lot of responsibility when the ABA team devises their child’s treatment plan, including becoming trained on the techniques being implemented by the BC and BHT. There are also other ways for parents to get additional help. For example, the May Institute provides a free, comprehensive guide to evidence-based practices and Autism.
Parents should be prepared to try more than one approach, because not every Autism resource found online will pertain to their child. If you are unsure of ways to provide extra support, you can always consult with your child’s medical or behavioral health provider. The website for the American Advocacy Group highlights a variety of resources for parents, including learning games for kids, published research, support groups for parents and tools to find qualified caregivers.
Aspire Child & Family Services specializes in the treatment of children with Autism and related developmental disabilities by providing high quality IBHS-ABA. Contact our office to learn more!