The diagnosis of Autism is life changing but there is information and support that can make a positive difference in the lives of the individual with Autism and the entire family.
Autism is a neurological disorder that affects the individual’s ability to communicate, understand language and relate to others. Autism is called a “spectrum disorder” because people may have some or all of the following characteristics, varying from mild to severe:
- Communication problems
- Difficulty relating to people, things, and events
- Playing with toys and objects in unusual ways
- Difficulty adjusting to changes in routine or to familiar surroundings
- Repetitive body movements or behaviors
While parents and family want to know what autism is and how their child came to be diagnosed, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that your child is a child first, above and outside of the word autism. “Autism” or “Autism Spectrum Disorder” attempts to describe the ways that the child perceives and relates to the human and natural environment. Your child still has a personality and traits you may recognize in yourself or other family members, your child still has abilities and potential. Try to get to know the child without focusing only on the label, remembering all children need the same things: love, attention, interactive nurturing and play!
- Autism Michigan Alliance for Families webpage
- START Statewide Autism Resources and Training
- Autism Parent Center Hub
- Autism Evaluation Centers in Michigan
What comes after an Autism diagnosis?
Parents’ experience and research shows that early intervention and a variety of treatments and therapies can lead to better outcomes in life for people on the autism spectrum.
How do I get them help at school?
Evaluation is the beginning step in the special education process. Before a child can receive services, a comprehensive initial evaluation must be conducted. Evaluations are provided at no cost to the parent. All areas of suspected disability should be assessed.
- Evaluations Resources include sample letter, timelines, eligibility criteria, and answers to FAQs
What about ABA and autism insurance coverage in Michigan?
Most insurance companies regulated by the state of Michigan are mandated to provide an autism benefit. This includes services related to the diagnosis and treatment of ASD. The Michigan Autism Program also provides children ages 18 months through 5 years old with Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services.
- Specifics can be found on the Michigan Autism Program Website
- Michigan Autism Benefit Parent Resources
- ABA Overview
With the high numbers of children and youth diagnosed with autism, there is support around the state of Michigan, in person and online.
- Autism Michigan Local Resources
- Map of Michigan Parent Support Groups/Options for Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Autism Alliance of Michigan
- Autism Support of Michigan
- Autism Council- State of Michigan