When your child receives diagnosis questions can (and usually will) begin to flood your brain to ask your doctor. In addition, before you know it you could very easily overwhelm yourself with questions of your own. What do I do? Who do I talk to? What about school? What about their future? What will my family do? How will I personally cope with this? It is important that when we hear a diagnosis, syndrome, or condition we remember what it means and do not give it more power than it deserves – i.e. it is simply that; a diagnosis. It is not a predictor of whether or not your child will be happy, and it is not a sign of bad parenting.
When we hear a diagnosis we may have a natural tendency to think about someone we know who has the diagnosis, or something we have read online or heard in the news. We do not want to fall into this “mind trap” though because a child with a diagnosis is like any other child; they want to play, laugh, smile, love, and be loved. A diagnosis does not take this away from them. Each child is still special and unique with or without a diagnosis, and each child continues to need Love and support from their family so they can continue to grow and learn about the world around them – a diagnosis does not change this.
If your child is diagnosed, feel free to reach out to your therapist and express any concerns you may have. It is in their training and caring nature as therapists that make them good listeners and eager to help. Oftentimes they may be able to give you some insight into the diagnosis in addition to ideas of things you can do at home to carryover and reinforce what is worked on with your child in therapy. Autismspeaks.org offers a family support kit that offers various guides for family members and helps explains the effects Autism may have on different people in the family (parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, etc.) (https://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/tool-kits/family-support-tool-kits)
Mike-Occupational Therapy Team
Photo Courtesy of: (http://www.bocatc.org/blog/2014/04/)