I think my child has autism... What should I do?

By Step by Step Consulting

I think my child has Autism, what should I do? If you suspect that your child may have autism, the first step is to seek a diagnosis. The time preceding a diagnosis can be a daunting and overwhelming time. It is possible that there is the temptation to give your child more time to see if they will developmentally catch up with their peers. However, if you have any concerns regarding your child, it is important to take the first step of seeking a professional opinion. If your child has autism, obtaining a diagnosis and understanding their needs can be a positive thing.

An earlier diagnosis will mean earlier access to services that can provide the best possible outcome for your child. How do I get a diagnosis? Make an appointment to speak to you General Practitioner about any concerns that you may have and seek a referral for a formal assessment. It is possible that you will have to wait sometime before accessing a formal assessment. During this time, it is a good idea to keep a behavioural diary that contains notes of different characteristics and challenges faced, If you wish to seek a private diagnosis, ensure that the assessments are recognised by both the HSE and Department of Education and Skills. The reason for this is to ensure that you can access the same services as you would with a public diagnosis. It is suggested that if you are seeking a private diagnosis to also remain on the public waiting list.

My child has autism, what now? The time following a diagnosis of autism can be a very frightening and challenging time. There may be mixed feelings of grief, relief and denial. It is likely that you have many questions and concerns regarding what’s next for your little one. Decades of research has demonstrated that Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention can lead to significant gains across skill sets for individuals with autism. However, it is also important to note that it is never too late to begin intervention. In Ireland, it is possible to access the Home Tuition Grant. This is funded by the Department of Education and Skills. Children aged 2.5 -3 are entitled to 10 hours a week of home tuition. Children from 3-5 are entitled to 20 hours of home tuition a week providing there are no school placements available in the area.

A person who is garda vetted and registered with the Teaching Council may provide home tution. The home tutor is paid directly by the Department of Education. What should I look for in a home tutor? The ideal candidate for a home tutor should have: Understanding of Autism and what it is. Experience working with young children with developmental delays. Develop a rapport with your child. Analytic, patient, consistent, reliable and persistent. Ability to identify skill deficits and develop an individualised education plan to establish and teach these skills.

Manage behaviour of concern in a safe and efficient manner. How can Step by Step Consulting help you and your home program? Our goal at Step by Step Consulting is to provide your child with the best possible home or school based program. This program will take into consideration your own goals and priorities as parents and goals identified by our Behaviour Specialists. It is our aim to equip you and the home tutor with the training and support to implement these strategies on an ongoing basis.

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