Your Child Has Been Diagnosed with Autism, Now What


Receiving a diagnosis of autism for your child can be overwhelming and emotional. However, it’s important to remember that early intervention and support can make a significant difference in your child’s development and quality of life. Here are some steps you can take after your child has been diagnosed with autism:

  1. Learn About Autism

Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that affects social communication and behavior. There is a wide range of symptoms and severity, so it’s important to educate yourself about autism and how it may impact your child. Read books, articles, and blogs written by autism experts, attend support groups, and consult with your child’s healthcare provider to understand your child’s specific needs.

  1. Create a Support Network

Having a support network can help you and your child navigate the challenges of autism. Reach out to family and friends for emotional support, and connect with other parents of children with autism through support groups or online communities. Consider hiring a therapist or counselor to help you and your family cope with the emotional stress of the diagnosis. If you are concerned about the cost of caring for a child with autism, a financial professional with expertise in special needs planning can help you sort out various options available to you to pay for the care your child needs.

  1. Seek Early Intervention Services

Early intervention services are crucial for children with autism, as they can help improve their social, communication, and behavior skills. Contact your state’s early intervention program or your child’s healthcare provider to learn about available services in your area. These services may include speech therapy, occupational therapy, and behavioral therapy.

  1. Create a Routine and Structure

Children with autism often thrive on routine and structure. Establish a consistent daily routine and schedule, and use visual aids, such as picture schedules or charts, to help your child understand and anticipate daily activities. Provide clear and consistent expectations, and use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior.

  1. Advocate for Your Child

As a parent, you are your child’s best advocate. Be involved in your child’s education and healthcare, and speak up if you feel your child’s needs are not being met. Stay informed about your child’s rights and legal protections, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and work with your child’s healthcare provider and school to ensure they receive appropriate accommodations and support.

  1. Take Care of Yourself

Caring for a child with autism can be challenging and exhausting, so it’s important to prioritize self-care. Make time for activities that you enjoy, such as exercise, hobbies, or spending time with friends. Seek support from family and friends, and consider joining a support group for parents of children with autism.

Receiving a diagnosis of autism for your child can be overwhelming and emotional, but taking action early on can make a significant difference in your child’s development and quality of life. Remember that every child with autism is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to autism care. Work with your child’s healthcare provider and education team to develop a personalized plan that meets your child’s individual needs.

What Is Special Needs Planning?


What is special needs planning? Different people have different definitions. We believe the goal and purpose of special needs planning is to assure individuals with physical, cognitive, or developmental impairment a place in the community appropriate to their capabilities, resources, and their needs.

Developing a Comprehensive Plan

Special needs planning is not just about creating legal documents. It’s about developing a comprehensive plan that takes into account all aspects of the individual’s life, including healthcare, education, employment, housing, and social activities, etc. The plan should encompass four elements: the life, resource, financial and legal plans. The plan should be flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances and should involve the input and involvement of the individual with disabilities and their caregivers.

Understanding Government Benefits

Individuals with disabilities may be eligible for government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. These benefits provide financial assistance and healthcare coverage, but they also have strict income and asset limits. Special needs planning takes into account these limits and helps to ensure that the individual does not lose eligibility for these benefits.

Creating a Special Needs Trust

A special needs trust is a legal tool that can be used to protect assets and ensure that the individual with disabilities continues to receive government benefits. Assets placed in a special needs trust can be used to pay for expenses not covered by government benefits, such as education, transportation, and recreational activities.

Planning for Caregiver Support

Caregivers play a critical role in the lives of individuals with disabilities, providing emotional, physical, and financial support. Special needs planning should take into account the needs of caregivers, including financial support, respite care, and legal protections.

Special needs planning involves understanding government benefits, using legal tools such as a special needs trust, planning for caregiver support, and developing a comprehensive plan. Special needs planning can help to ensure that the individual with disabilities receives the care they need while preserving their eligibility for government benefits and protecting their assets. It’s important to work with professionals who specialize in special needs planning to create a plan that meets the individual’s specific needs and goals.