Finding out a child has Autism Spectrum Disorder can be a difficult experience for families. Your support is crucial, and effective communication to families can answer many potential questions and help them identify clear next steps. You can help by:
- Ensuring that comorbid conditions are identified and addressed.
- Emphasizing family participation in treatment and support from the beginning.
- Explaining that treatment will help their child reach his or her full potential. Avoid making negative long-term predictions or stating that treatment will ‘fix’ the child.
- Helping families focus on accepting and enjoying their child, while pursuing interventions and services that work for the family as a whole.
- Working together with parents and caregivers to set goals for growth through family assistance and professional interventions.
It is important for families to seek and find the best resources that will result in positive outcomes since there is an overwhelming amount of treatment information. It is important that families are guided to evidence-based care for ASD and that professionals have the ability to assist in this process.
Evidence-based practices for young children with ASD according to the National Professional Development Center (NPDC) on ASD:
- Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) / Behavioral Interventions
- Naturalistic Interventions
- Communication/Language Interventions
- Peer-Mediated Intervention and Social Skills Training
- Antecedent-Based Intervention (Prevention and Environmental Modifications)
- Parent-Implemented Intervention & Training (e.g. Project Impact)
Many resources and services are available to families. However knowing where to find the information and services can be overwhelming. It is imperative that families are guided to evidence- based information and care as soon as possible in order to have the most positive opportunities and outcome.
Behaviorally-Based Interventions: Be specific about the child’s needs and your recommendations such as intensive Applied Behavior Analysis or focal behavioral intervention.
Note: Home and clinic services are available through Medicaid, some private insurance and private pay.
- Early On® (birth through age 3)
Don’t Worry. But don’t wait. Call 1-800-EarlyOn
- Build Up Michigan (ages 3 through 5)
You may also call your Child Find Coordinator or call the Michigan Special Education Information Line at 1-888-320-8384
- Local school district for early childhood services (age 3 and up)
You may also call the local school district’s special education office and/or the school’s principal
- Autism Alliance of Michigan
Navigator Program: firstname.lastname@example.org you may also call 877-463-AAOM
- Michigan Alliance for Families Parent mentoring and learning for school services, you may also call 800-552-4821
- Michigan Protection & Advocacy Services Parent advocacy and legal assistance for disability services, 800-288-5923 or call Arc Michigan at 800-292-7851
- Local parent support group referral
- After a Diagnosis Information Guide
Provided by Michigan Autism Council
- Autism Speaks Toolkits