At the point you're told your loved one is autistic, your first reaction is likely extreme fear, absolute confusion, uncontrollable anger or overwhelming guilt. More likely, you're feeling each of these simultaneously, along with emotions I have yet to, can't or prefer not to mention. Once you're able to get a handle on what you are feeling (we'll talk about that in an upcoming chapter), it will be important to think about your (and more specifically your child's) needs.
The Same Child, Different Day chapter entitled "Now That You Have a Diagnosis" shares a brief but practical road map of sorts, a kind of information booth with suggestions about where to start looking for services. I didn't go into great detail about any of the services available, as you'll likely want to start looking for assistance at your state level. But you are provided with key phrases to use in your search, information about local (voluntary) autism databases and a story about a single-mother friend who took the time to make sure her son is protected when she can't be available.
As always, if you want someone to talk to who's on the front lines, (we aren't doctors or professionals; just loving parents) please contact me. You can also email email@example.com if you'd like to order booklets for your group or organization.
We wish you all the best.
(Next chapter: "Now, About Those Lifestyle Changes")
In the Red Tent
9 hours ago