Navigating a new Autism Diagnosis
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Navigating a new Autism Diagnosis

A new Autism Diagnosis can be overwhelming for the family.  Knowing what to do and how to help the child is not just emotional, it is a pretty big adjustment.

Most parents of newly diagnosed Autists are quick to turn to the internet. Here they get bombarded with promises of cures for Autism, information and products. However, we recommend research to start a little closer to home.

Autism in South Africa – you have options!

In South Africa there are Autism Therapy Centres, Autism Treatment Centres, Autism Schools, Autism Early Intervention Centres, Autism Academies and Schools for Autism Spectrum Disorders or Pervasive Development Disorders – however, you as a parent can still choose to Home school an Autist.

Before you decide on the next steps… what does your autistic child need?

All parents want the same thing for their children and that is the “absolute best” but most people also have financial restraints.  Fees for Autism Schools in South Africa can vary from R2000 per month to as much as R2000 per day. 

When it comes to a diagnosis of Autism in South Africa make sure you place a higher value on the programmes a learning centre offers. Look past the “the-more-you-pay the-better-the-product” myth. Make an appointment with Autism Therapy Centres, Autism Treatment Centres, Autism Schools and Autism Early Intervention Centres to ensure you find the best fit for your child.

My advice to you as your journey starts with an Autist:

  1. Research as much as possible! Just because something is published on the internet does not make it true.
  2. Because Autism is a long journey – look at a centres or Autism schools that are within a reasonable proximity to where you stay;
  3. Don’t get into dept just because somebody promised you a cure or quick fix for Autism;
  4. Take it one step at a time and seek only what you are ready to assimilate.
  5. Focussing on the present and what the child’s immediate needs are will help make decisions easier.
  6. Listen to your gut Mom and Dad! You are the expert on your child.
  7. Read everything you can on Autism Early intervention, Autism Care, Autism Therapies, Alternative Autism Therapies and know everything there is to know about Autism.
  8. Learn the jargon related to Autism – understand Autism terminology.
  9. Understand the development challenges a child with autism faces holistically. Do not just focus on one aspect such as a speech delay.
  10. Autism treatments that are touted as being equally effective for everyone with Autism may not be as great as promised. Each Autist is unique and what works for one may not work for the other.
  11. Above all else – do not be intimidated by people, professionals or family in any way. Even if they are experts in the field of Autism they are not an expert on your child. You are!

Ilse Kilian-Ross founded Amazing K, a School for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Centre for Applied Behaviour Intervention (ABA), in Johannesburg in 2014.

Amazing K offers Individualized Education Programs, ABA, Speech- and Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) therapy as well as a full and adapted Academic Curriculum.

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