Six Tips for Autism Parents
If you are here, someone in your life has gotten the diagnosis of Autism. Now, you are navigating the health care and education system. As a health care lawyer for many years, and with family with the diagnosis, there are tips for autism parents to share from my experience.
Tips for Autism Parents
Know What You're Advocating For.
I will say that parents need to come armed with information when advocating for their child. If you don't know the depth and the aspects of your child's diagnosis, you cannot adequately advocate. It is called the Autism "Spectrum" for a reason. There are many nuisances. Parents should know which apply to their child so they can get, and plan, the best services for their child. Doing so will have the most impact. I suggest a neuropsychological evaluation as one option.
Parents need to work with teachers and therapists as a team. Don't just drop a child off for an appointment and pick them up. Checkin and know what the professionals are working on, and why, to make the most out of the therapy. Also, if your child is getting services in school, that does not mean you shouldn't pursue services outside of school. Schools work on certain things and outside therapists work on others. Your child has a life in school and outside of school. So get the services you need for both.
Make sure you keep open lines of communication between all caregivers. Teachers should be aware on what you are doing outside of school and vice versa. Thus, all the professionals can be taking a team approach for the maximum benefit for your child. If the outside OT therapist knows that the school OT is working on pencil grip, they may want to focus on scissor work to supplement it. Alternatively, if they know the OT therapist is working on shoe tying, they will teach it the same way as the school.
Don't Go It Alone.
Join Autism parenting groups so you can have the support system and understanding you need to raise a child with that diagnosis. Search Facebook for local and national groups. Also check in with your town as many cities have Special Education Parent Advisory Councils/Committees (SEPAC)s.
Get inside scoop.
Checkin with your insurance company. Many insurance companies now have Autism Advocates that can help you, from within the insurance company, with referrals, claims, etc. It will enable you to have a direct line with an experienced personnel that knows you, your child and your insurance plan. No more generic 800 number!
Take time for yourself. It can be tiring, stressful and alienating with having a child with Autism. Taking time for you can help you be the best Mom, and advocate, you can be. Are these best practices? Not necessarily, but they are autism tips for parents to help you get your child the managed care they need - for the benefit of them and the whole family.
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