After the diagnosis of autism

Despite the gap between what we know and what we don't know about autism, a few things are for sure: autism is not the result of poor parenting, it is not infectious, it is not caused by vaccines, and it cannot spread from child to child, and there are ways for you as a parent to empower yourself and your child.

My child has been diagnosed with autism. What's next? Next steps include finding out what your treatment options are and building a medical and social support network for your child and your family. Going forward, you are going to work very closely with the team of health care professionals who will help your child relearn skills that they have lost or learn new skills they never had. Be prepared for long hours ahead for you as a parent, too. See "Getting help and support for a child with autism" to find out more.

Will my child always be this way? At this point, there is no cure for autism. But because autism is being diagnosed at earlier ages (from birth to 2 years of age), there is hope that this may lead to better intervention. And with regular observation and screening and a strong treatment program, it is possible for your child to grow up to lead a normal or near-normal life. This involves a consistent and multi-layered approach of therapies and support.

What kinds of treatment options are available to my child? Treatment usually involves a combination of behavioural therapies (such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, applied behavioural analysis (ABA), and physical therapy), along with educational or community interventions. And for some people with autism, there are also options for medication therapy for symptoms associated with ASD. Some parents are also looking into alternative therapy (e.g., song therapy, a change in diet, vitamin supplements), most of which still require further studies.

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