The First Step in Working With Autistic Children


It may seem overwhelming to receive a diagnosis of Autism. You may think that the diagnosis is not right. You may feel that this could not happen to your child. You may experience many different feelings and emotions when you are faced with a diagnosis of Autism. You will almost certainly have a lot of unanswered questions about Autism. However, coming to an acceptance of the diagnosis of Autism is a very important first step in working with autistic children.  Here are some of the ways people typically react, and some suggestions about how to come to terms with the diagnosis.


Denial is a common first reaction to almost any medical problem. It may seem easier to refuse to believe that there is a problem. Parents would rather not think that anything could be wrong with their child. So they react against the idea that their child could have a problem and pretend that nothing is wrong. They will feel that the doctor was wrong, that their child is perfectly normal. Of course, denying that the diagnosis could be right will not change anything. The sooner the diagnosis of Autism is accepted,  the better it will be for both your child and you. Ignoring the condition will not make it go away. It will be a big step for you as a parent to accept the diagnosis and move on. The more quickly you do this the sooner you can begin evaluating treatment options.


Another of the emotions you may feel when you hear a diagnosis of Autism is anger. Parents often are angry with themselves, and they may be angry with God, demanding to know Why their child is Autistic. You may be surprised to find yourself angry with other parents whose children are healthy. It is normal to experience feelings of anger. Remembering all the wonderful things about your child will help while you are feeling angry. Also, don’t keep your anger locked up inside yourself.  Talk with others about your feelings. Bottling your anger up inside can be a very bad thing.


Parents often go though a period of grieving when they get a diagnosis of Autism. They are sad ot learn that there is something wrong with their child. It will be sad to them that they may have to change the dreams they had for their child.  They may be sad to know how their child will be treated and the hardships they will have to face. Grief is a normal emotional process to go through. The important thing is to work through the grief and go on to accept the truth. Try not to get stuck looking just at all of the things that are wrong. You will have to make some adjustments in your plans for your child’s future. But, remember that change is what life is all about. If you are unable to move past the grieving stage, you may want to talk with someone who can help you.  Some parents find it very helpful to have a few therapy sessions to help them deal with the feelings they are experiencing. Getting past the grief is necessary for working with autistic children.


It may take quite a while to finally coming to terms with the diagnosis of Autism. Having an answer to what is wrong with their child is all that some people need.  They are just glad to have that answer. For others, it is very hard to accept the fact that their child is different from other children. Acceptance that your child is different, and that it is okay, will come eventually. Once you come to the point where you can accept the diagnosis of Autism, you will be able to begin finding ways to help your child. Learn all you can about Autism. Do the research.  Think about the difficulties your child will experience and look for ways to help them with those difficulties. Your child will need you to be behind him or her one hundred percent. Acceptance is the first step and it is vitally important if you are going to be effective in working with autistic children.