My Child May Have Autism, What Should I Do?
Since we don’t know the exact cause of ASD and each individual is unique, many families have found that treating the symptoms using a multi-faceted approach is most beneficial. Each child is unique; therefore, what works for some children with ASD may not work for your child with ASD. Be persistent in finding the specific resources and treatments that work for your situation.
Developed by Tina Taylor Dyches & Leeann Whiffen for the Autism Council of Utah (2008; 2009);
Tina Taylor Dyches, Ashley Stevens & Terisa P. Gabrielsen (2015)
Autism Fast Start Checklist
This Fast Start Checklist was created to help parents who are concerned that their child is exhibiting signs of an autism spectrum disorder. The full document, including active website links, can be found at: www.autismcouncilofutah.org
- Read information regarding how to detect first signs of possible ASD. CDC Learn the Signs: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/index.html
- Learn about early signs of ASD. Autism Speaks video glossary: https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/video-glossary
- Ask your pediatrician about developmental screening
If your child is 2 years old or younger:
- Complete a developmental screener such as the Ages and Stages Questionnaire
- If your child is between 16-30 months of age, complete the M-CHAT online and review results with your pediatrician.
- Contact your local Baby Watch Early Intervention Agency for an evaluation.
If your child is 3-5 years old:
- Contact your local school district’s special education pre-school program.
If your child is 5 years or older:
- Contact your local school district, which will have programs for students with disabilities ages 5-22.
Evaluation and Treatment:
- Obtain diagnostic testing and/or assessment. (Child Development Clinic, Valley Mental Health, Wasatch Mental Health)
- Visit the Utah MedHome Portal to access detailed information about the diagnostic process and other resources.
- Take videos of your child to help with the diagnostic process.
- If your child is diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, obtain a 100-Day Kit from Autism Speaks. www.autismspeaks.org
- Obtain the DVD My Next Steps: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Autism
- Create a filing system for compiling important information and documents
- Contact the Division of Services for Persons with Disabilities (DSPD)
- Apply for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income. ssa.gov
- Review various service delivery options. Resources–Autism Council of Utah, Autism Speaks, Autism Society of America
- Review various treatment options
- Determine which treatment(s) are most viable and beneficial given your unique family situation, your child’s circumstances, and assessment results.
- Implement as quickly as possible, observing one intervention at a time to measure effectiveness.
- Collaborate with professionals to monitor and evaluate progress by taking careful notes and daily logs of behavior to discern which interventions are providing the best results.
- Make necessary changes in your child’s treatment plan for optimal response.
Support and Education:
- Autism Council of Utah autismcouncilofutah.org
- Take an online introductory course such as the Autism 101 course through the Autism Society of America.
- Learn about the law and your rights in your child’s education.
- Utah Parent Center utahparentcenter.org
Families Living With Autism: Creating a Community and Solving Challenges http://www.utahparentcenter.org/training/videos/families-living-with-autism/
DON’T GET DISCOURAGED! Getting a diagnosis of ASD for your child can change your family’s life. Realize that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Take care of yourself and your other family members, and let others help you for the benefit of your child and your family.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this checklist should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult a professional to help guide you in your decision-making process.
See the entire document, long version here ~ http://autismcouncilofutah.org/autism-fast-start-checklist-entire-document