R E S O U R C E S
To Help You Get Started
Information for families of children that have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder,
N O W W H A T ?
Start at the beginning
Receiving an autism diagnosis can be daunting. You know you need to make some changes and locate services, but it's not always easy to know where to begin. The research is clear that early intervention is important for your child's success in the future, but where do you start?
Make sure to get a copy of your child's diagnosis. This typically comes from a developmental pediatrician, a neurologist, a psychiatrist or a psychologist and is required by most service providers.
Check out Autism Speaks and their great resources. They have a 100 Day Kit to help you get started, as well as lists of resources and providers in your area.
Find a support group near you or online. These support groups can be instrumental in navigating the first year following an autism diagnosis. It can be helpful to learn from parents that have already walked the road you're about to go down.
Do your research. Before moving to Step 5, spend some time researching providers in your area. Ask other families about their experiences and speak directly to the providers to see if they're a good fit.
Assemble your team. Children with autism benefit from a team of providers that include (but are not limited to) a Developmental Pediatrician, Behavior Analyst, Speech Therapist, and Occupational Therapist. Assembling this team may take some time, as you want to make sure you find quality providers.
Be patient, but persistent. If your child was placed on a wait list, follow up frequently to find out whether his position has moved. Find out if alternative service delivery models are available while you wait. For example, some providers will provide parent consultation until more therapists become available. This can be a great way to start learning more about the therapy that your child will be receiving.
Once your team is assembled, be an active participant. Observe the sessions and take advantage of any parent trainings!
Work with your child's school to develop appropriate IEP goals. Your team of providers should be able to help you navigate this process.
If you take these first 8 steps, you and your child will surrounded by a supportive network of professionals that can help you when other questions arise.
There are many helpful resources available for families of children with autism. We've compiled a list of the top resources that we recommend for families that are new to autism and new to Applied Behavior Analysis. Some are online resources and some are books that we've found helpful.
The Autism Speaks website is a wealth of information. This specific section of the site provides more information about what ABA is, how it works, and who can benefit from services. It also provides detailed information about what to expect an ABA program to look like in your home.
Published by the regulatory body for Behavior Analysts and Behavior Technicians, these guidelines provide comprehensive information for parents about the education requirements for certification levels, as well as access to best-practice guidelines for quality ABA programs. This tool can be used by families to assess ABA providers in their area and determine whether they are abiding by the best-practice standards in the field.
Behavior Analyst Certification Board
This toolkit provides even more information about Applied Behavior Analysis and can be used to help parents navigate the process of finding a quality ABA provider.
These are books that other parents have found helpful when navigating a new autism diagnosis
Let Me Hear Your Voice: A Family's Triumph over Autism
by Catherine Maurice
The Verbal Behavior Approach: How to Teach Children With Autism and Related Disorders
by Mary Barbera
The Parent's Guide to In-Home ABA Programs: Frequently Asked Questions about Applied Behavior Analysis for your Child with Autism
by Elle Olivia Johnson