Pursuing an Autism diagnosis may be challenging. However, a diagnosis will help to identify your child’s specific deficits and enable you to get on the road to improvement.
5 benefits of an autism diagnosis
- An autism diagnosis will provide you with vital information about your child’s strengths, deficits, behavior, and development. Knowledge is power!
- A diagnosis will inform decisions made by your care providers. These experts will partner with you to identify interventions that work. The result, over time, will be a reduction of problem behavior and increased social skills and life skills. ABA will enable you and your child to lead a fuller and more vibrant life.
- An autism diagnosis is necessary for you to acquire the services that you need. 34 states and Washington DC have mandates that require insurance to cover ABA services. A diagnosis will likely give you access to this funding. Furthermore, you could qualify for early intervention programs at your school.
- Time does matter! A diagnosis – now – will get you on the road to treatment faster. Several studies show that clients who have early intervention benefit greatly and show increased outcomes when compared to others who did not. Also to consider, many ABA providers have a waiting list that can last anywhere from days to months. The faster you have a diagnosis, the sooner you can begin therapy.
- An autism diagnosis will help friends and family understand your child’s behavior thus making it easier to attribute problem behaviors to the diagnosis rather than your parenting. It’s important to remember that your child is not the diagnosis. Parents should use labels when it benefits them, not when it hurts them.
Emotions after getting an autism diagnosis
One parent describes what it was like to receive a diagnosis . “We were handed a twenty-page evaluation, detailing all the things Norrin couldn’t do, all the milestones he had yet to reach. At two years and three months old, Norrin had the cognitive level of a fourteen-month old and the language level of a seven-month old… Nowhere in the evaluation did it talk about his dimpled smile or the sound of his laugh. Nowhere did it describe how his big brown eyes sparkled when he was happy. Or that he loved to read and was fascinated by letters and numbers…”
Parents who receive an autism diagnosis often experience a range of emotions. Some have reported feelings of stress, anxiety, anger, relief and sadness. In their First 100-Days toolkit, autism Speaks said, “There is… a difference between sadness and depression. Depression often stands in the way of moving forward. Allowing yourself to feel sadness can help you grow.
Who should give me an autism diagnosis?
In a lecture (see video below), Dr. Pamela Compart, a pediatrician trained in childhood development and behavior said that “If your child has a serious cardiac issue, your primary care physician will refer you to a cardiologist.” The same is true for autism. To get a proper diagnosis, one must go to a medical doctor who specializes in this field. Your primary care physician may not have the time, background or education to address your family’s needs.” Physicians, pediatricians, neurologists, and psychologists are a few professionals that may be able to give you the legal diagnosis you need.
Our Board Certified Behavior Analysts begin working with families after a formal diagnosis has been made, but we are familiar with the challenges of starting down this path.