Parent advocacy for autism can be a challenging and emotionally taxing journey. As a parent, it can be difficult to watch your child struggle with social interactions, communication, and behavior. However, with compassion and empathy, parents can become powerful advocates for their children with autism.
One thing we have learned along the way is that you are not alone. Seek out support systems when you can. Most states have early intervention programs that can be completely free. In the state of Connecticut, their program is called Birth to Three, which is a government program that supports families when they have concerns about their children's development. They will come into your home or community settings to help and support you. They will also help you come up with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for your child when your child ages out of the program and help you transition into the public system.
If you decide not to do the public system, you can go private. Check your insurance to see what ABA centers are covered. ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) centers are specialized facilities that provide behavior therapy services to individuals with autism and related developmental disorders. These centers are staffed with trained and certified professionals who are skilled in providing individualized therapy plans to meet the specific needs of each client. One example of an ABA center we decided to go to is Prism Autism in Connecticut. We have decided to go this route and the results have been amazing.
Seek out an autism diagnosis from a Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician. Be warned, waitlists can be long, so we suggest signing up early. Some insurance plans require a Developmental Pediatrician to accept an autism diagnosis.
It is important to start researching and exploring available resources, as these can provide invaluable help and support for both the child and the parent. It can be reassuring to know that you are not alone on this journey.