Question Two: Where do I begin?
If you aren’t sure, grab a cup of coffee, tea or what ever your pleasure. Sometimes wine can help but make sure you wait for that in the evenings. 🙂 Begin by sitting down at your computer and just Google away. Google terms, “Autism” and (your state). See what pops up on the screen. Usually that can get you to a good starting place. Don’t Google too much or you might suffer from information overload.
Do your research: I highly recommend this. Depending on how old your child is it can be frustrating or satisfying. From my experience, at the time my son was diagnosed I didn’t have the resources to do much of anything.
I spoke with my child’s pediatrician and he was able to give me a referral to my Area Regional Center and that’s what got the ball rolling. With this referral I knew this meant he might be qualified for services. Fair warning though, the process can be quite daunting. There are a few steps you have will go through to be qualified; Required written documentation, assessments, interview and orientation.
Things I discovered through this process:
1. Paper Pusher Extraordinaire:
You will accumulate an incredible amount of paperwork. If you are organized I envy you, because I am not in the least. The skill of organization will come in handy through your journey.
2. Be Patient:
I can’t emphasize this enough. During the entire process you will be doing a lot of “hurry up and wait.” Don’t be discouraged by this and throw in the towel. The outcome is well worth the wait 100 times over. You will acquire a vast amount of patience over the years.
3. Ask a lot of Questions:
Before my child was diagnosed, I was not one for asking questions. Now seven years later, I question every single issue that arises. If you are not sure, always ask. It is your child and you have every right as a parent. http://www.wrightslaw.com/ Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
Stay tuned for the third question in part three: What is Autism Exactly?