Understanding Your Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis
by Jaime Friedman
August 24, 2023
Understanding Your Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is broadly defined to include a spectrum of symptoms and classifications. Since it is such a complex condition, understanding your autism spectrum disorder diagnosis can seem overwhelming at first. Our staff at Aspire Child and Family Services realizes that many parents seeking autism services for their children may be doing so for the first time. We aim to inform parents on what to do after an autism diagnosis and to personalize our recommendations to address the individualized needs of each client.
There are widely accepted methods for diagnosing and managing autism spectrum disorders, but each individual diagnosed with autism could have different needs for development. Understanding your autism spectrum disorder diagnosis is crucial for securing appropriate treatment that addresses specific needs. Aspire Child and Family Services is committed to providing valuable insights and support to families navigating this journey.
The Diagnostic Criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder
Before treatment can begin, a child must meet diagnostic criteria for autism. Autism screening helps experts determine which skills should be assessed during diagnostic testing. Autism services are unique and specialized to meet the needs of the individual, so the process leading to a diagnosis can both determine the appropriateness of treatment and help predict the most effective methods for treatment.
It is also important to note that the severity and combination of these symptoms can vary widely among individuals on the autism spectrum. Early detection and diagnosis play a huge role in ensuring the best outcomes for children with ASD.
What an Autism Diagnosis Means for Your Child’s Future
An autism diagnosis does not define your child’s future, but it provides a better idea of what their treatment might look like. Aspire uses a holistic approach when it comes to autism treatment. Instead of replicating a single treatment strategy for each ASD case, we look at the personalized strengths and needs of each individual to determine our course of action. Our staff prides themselves on championing early intervention services, tailoring interventions to address individual needs, offering referrals to specialized experts and celebrating everyone’s unique abilities.
Early Intervention: Early intervention services are key to maximizing your child’s developmental potential. Research proves that children who receive appropriate interventions early in life show significant improvement in communication skills, social skills, and adaptive behaviors.
Tailored Interventions: An autism diagnosis helps experts narrow their focus and create individualized interventions designed to address specific areas of difficulty. Behavioral or mental health professionals will combine observations and published research to inform treatment decisions.
Support Services: Someone with an ASD diagnosis may require any number of specialized services independent of applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy. An autism diagnosis could uncover the need for speech and language therapy, occupational therapy or social skills training, but the diagnosing professional can offer parents referrals for these services.
Celebrating Differences: Embracing neurodiversity is an essential aspect of understanding your autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. Whether someone has been diagnosed with ASD or not, we believe that every person has unique abilities. Celebrating differences helps everyone feel included and reminds them of their value to society. Remember, an autism diagnosis is just a fraction of your child’s identity.
Common Misunderstandings About ASD Diagnosis
Unfortunately, there are several misconceptions surrounding autism spectrum disorder diagnosis that can create misinformation and anxiety among affected families. A general lack of awareness often leads to confusion about the difference between autism screening and diagnosis. After a child receives a diagnosis, and even after their parents learn about the next steps towards treatment, public perception can still affect how we view an autism diagnosis.
Many parents, for example, fear that an autism diagnosis could place a permanent label on their child. They feel that the “autism label” will follow their child throughout their life and cause limited opportunities to live a fulfilling life in the future. In reality, a diagnosis serves as a tool to access appropriate services and support, equipped with a plan to enhance the child's overall quality of life. The objective of autism treatment is to expand the client’s options in the future, and early detection can lead to developmental progress sooner.
The goals of autism treatment do not include curing the disorder. Autism is a lifelong condition, but individuals diagnosed with it can make significant progress with the right interventions and support. Parents of children with an autism diagnosis are encouraged to remember the child’s entire journey of growth, rather than fixate on a cure that does not exist.
Lastly, parents and family members attempting to understand their child’s autism diagnosis should be aware that they can receive support from services too. Aspire Child and Family Services recognizes the importance of providing support and resources for parents and siblings to navigate any challenges and celebrate the successes together.
Understanding your autism spectrum disorder diagnosis also means recognizing the common misunderstandings associated with the disorder.
What’s Next After a Diagnosis
Understanding your autism spectrum disorder diagnosis makes obtaining treatment much simpler. Aspire offers applied behavioral analysis (ABA) because it uses data and research to address any needs uncovered during the diagnosis process.
Contact the team at Aspire Child and Family Services with your questions or concerns about autism diagnosis, or explore our ABA Services page to see how we could help your child.