Welcome to my new Autism Is…? Newsletter. Many of you are hearing from me after a long period of silence, while others are receiving this newsletter for the first time. In either case, I am so glad to be in touch, and I hope that the content will be helpful to you.
The topic this time is on the importance of [Early] Intervention. I am sure you noticed the brackets around the word early, which of course are there for a reason.
It’s true that early intervention has many benefits:
There is no debate or doubt: early intervention is your child’s best hope for the future. Early attention to improving the core behavioral symptoms of autism will give your child—and the rest of the family—several important benefits that you will not gain if you take a wait-and-see approach until your child enters school at age four or five. A good early intervention program has at least four benefits: It will provide your child with instruction that will build on his or her strengths to teach new skills, improve behaviors, and remediate areas of weakness. It will provide you with information that will help you better understand your child’s behavior and needs. It will offer resources, support, and training that will enable you to work and play with your child more effectively. It will improve the outcome for your child. For these reasons, an intervention program for your child should be implemented as soon as possible after he or she receives a diagnosis.
By Wendy L. Stone, PhD, with Theresa Foy DiGeromino, MEd
But what if your child was not diagnosed at an early age, and/or you did not have the opportunity to provide your child with therapy or treatment early on? Is it too late to intervene when a child is older? Of course not! All intervention is beneficial, and while there may be some catching up to do, with perseverance and consistency, there will be progress and improvement.
Regardless of your child’s age, it can be very overwhelming to receive an autism diagnosis. You may not know much about autism, and after processing the initial news, you may wonder what exactly this means for you and your child. While research recommends early intervention, please don’t panic or rush into action. Lisa Jo Rudy, a former About.com Guide says:
It’s tempting to leap into as many therapeutic treatments as you can. But until you know what’s best for your child, it’s a good idea to take it slow. A huge number of websites, books and resources are available about autism. Select a few and dig in. Find a local support group and get involved. Learn how other parents have managed situations similar to yours. By making changes slowly and observing your child’s reactions, you can see what works and what doesn’t.
To help you get started, I have put together a series of helpful articles in the first issue of Autism Is…? The Magazine, now available as a free download in PDF format from my new and improved website. This first issue includes basic information about autism, initial reactions to receiving the diagnosis, the importance of early detection and intervention, information about sensory processing disorder, do-it-yourself tips, and a short list of resources to help get you started. I hope it will provide the kind of real-world and practical information that you may be looking for and need, and that it will make your autism journey a little easier.
If you have questions, or would simply like to be in touch, please feel free to contact me and I will do what I can to communicate with you and direct you to helpful resources. I wish you and yours the very best, and look forward to staying in touch with you.