Whether you sought a diagnosis privately or been on a waiting list forever until you got answers, an Autism diagnosis can still blow the wind out of you. Even if it’s something you were expecting.
What do we do? What will happen in the future? How will we cope? Do we have the finances for this?
So many questions go through your mind, so I’m here to hold your hand and walk you through it.
First of all, take a deep breath and remember this isn’t a death sentence. Life will be different than what you expected, but not bad. You will find a new normal.
My number one piece of advice for those in Quebec is to march over to your nearest CLSC and ask for a social worker. Not all are created equal, but for the most part they help open doors to funding and services. The tricky thing with them is they don’t always know all the available services so you almost have to know what to ask for in order to receive any help. Daunting, I know! But I will give you a few starting points:
You can ask for funding for:
-Communication aids and electronics
-Transit and accompanyment
You can ask for services, such as:
-Summer camps or after school clubs
-Playgroups or therapy
-Special educator visits or OT at home
-Help finding a daycare
This is a starting point. Now you get to think about the next couple of months. Don’t think too far ahead because we change quickly. Autistic people do develop at a different, sometimes slower, timeline, but we do eventually get there. What you’ll often see with us is no changes for a while and then a sudden spurt of development. That spurt may also cause us to lose some other previously acquired skills for a while, but don’t worry, they’ll be back!
So you can go from needing speech therapy 3 times a week to needing it once, and then needing it twice later. No worries, just try to go with the flow. Just plan out a few months at a time and reassess each quarter.
Try to plan out how many hours of respite (babysitting) you need each month, how much therapy you think your child needs and who will care for your child during the day (if you work). Then you check to make sure you have someone covered for all those things. Also try to have back up people on top of that (babysitters get sick!). Also make sure one person is not getting stuck with too much (including you!). You will need help and support! Ask for help, don’t try to go it alone!
Join online support groups, get references for reliable helpful services, and learn as much as you can from Autistic adults.
When you’re ready for extra resources and tips, call me 🙂
Also please remember, if you are ever so overwhelmed that you have thoughts or fears of hurting yourself or your child, go to a safe place and call 911 or head to your nearest CLSC or hospital. Don’t ever think there are no other options or no way out. You need to take care of yourself. You are not alone on this journey!