The moment when your child is diagnosed with autism is difficult. Therefore, it is very important that during this period you receive support and information that will help you cope and project a positive future for the child and the family.
Reactions to diagnosis
- Shock - the impact of the diagnosis can be overwhelming. You feel confused, in a first phase, and you probably do not accept it.
- Sadness or pain - like most parents whose children are diagnosed with autism, it pains you deeply to see the hopes and dreams you had for your child shattered.
- Anger - finding the diagnosis results in an acute sense of loss, and anger against the whole situation is a natural reaction.
- Denial - is as normal as you can not reconcile, from the first moment, with the idea of autism diagnosis made to your child, therefore you will probably reach a denial point. But denial is a way in which, in a first phase, you deal with the situation.
- Insult - you feel like you don't have time to connect with your friends or family and you live with the feeling that others wouldn't understand what you're going through.
- Acceptance - is the state you reach later. But when you get here, it means you're ready to support your child.
The emotions you go through after finding the diagnosis are varied and very intense. You will probably swing between different states, but the natural evolution over time is toward acceptance.
What can you do for yourself?
- Don't overlook it!
- Appreciate and value everything you have achieved so far!
- Focus on the positive things!
- Continue the usual activities of the family!
- Ask for help!
- Talk to someone (don't shut yourself up or isolate yourself)!
- Give yourself time to adapt to the new context!
- Join a support group!
- Find out! Learn to be the best supporter of your child.
- Don't annihilate your feelings! Talk about what you feel.
- Try to direct your anger against the disorder, not against your loved ones.
- Celebrate the little victories the child has. Love him and be proud of every result he has. Focus on what you can do and not make comparisons with a typical developmental child.
- Get involved in the autism community. Make friends with other parents who have children with autism.
The material is part of "Autism - a mini-guide for the family" booklet, realized through the project "And they must have a chance!" - Support program for the social and professional integration of people with autism spectrum disorders.
Through this project, 40 counseling centers and free assistance for people with autism were opened in the country. Visit www.autism.raa.ro for the addresses of the centers and more details about the project.
The program is carried out by the Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation in partnership with the Ministry of Labor, Family, Social Protection and Older Persons - The Directorate of Child Protection and the Association of Cognitive and Behavioral Psychotherapies in Romania, was started on October 1, 2010 with a duration of 3 years and benefits co-financing from the European Social Fund, through the Sectorial Operational Program Human Resources Development 2007 - 2013, "Invest in people!".