Letter to a Parent of a Child Newly Diagnosed

Welcome to the Autism Community!

You may not have wanted to join, but now that you are here, you will connect to and develop friendships with a lot of cool people that understand what you are going through. The experience will definitely change you, and if you let it, you'll become more accepting and understanding of the differences in everyone. Remember that you child is still the same wonderful child as before the diagnosis. Appreciate his or her uniqueness, differences, and gifts just as you would if your child did not have a diagnosis.

Autism is a neurological difference in the wiring of the brain. It's not a disease or sickness and usually the developmental level of a child with autism is 2/3's their chronological age. Keep this in mind because your son or daughter will most likely take a bit longer to reach their milestones and maturity level. With a lot of love and support, your child will get to where he or she needs to be. It will just take longer than you would have expected or sometimes want.

One of the toughest things that you'll experience is how your child is treated and perceived by others. You are your child's best advocate, so become educated and knowledgeable about the best schools, therapists, and resources in your community. One of the best places to find this informatoin is from other parents, especially the ones of older children who have been in your exact same situation. Seek them out and ask for their advice.

Most important, the journey with your child is a marathon not a sprint. Make time to have fun, laugh, and experience joy on daily basis - the last one can be the most challening sometimes! Share positive experiences with your entire family. Take care of yourself both physically and emotionally, find a good parent support group, and stay connected to the things that you love and have a passion. Your child will benefit if you practice self care on a daily basis. Meditate, talk a walk, or read a book - do something you enjoy each day, even if it's only 10 minutes before bed. Be kind to yourself at all times and don't judge yourself for something you did or didn't do.

Best of luck in the next chapter of your life. It won't be what you expected, but you will becoame a better and more patient person from the experience.

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