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Steps to take when your child receives an autism diagnosis

 Founder and CEO of Kenya Autism Alliance, Cyndy Muchine.

Receiving a diagnosis of autism for your child can be overwhelming and emotional. Some parents go through a "denial, or grieving" period. Here's how to cope if you find yourself in this situation.

Educate yourself:

Learn as much as you can about autism and what it means for your child. There are many resources available, including books, websites, and support groups. However, do not overwhelm yourself in the process.

Seek out professional support:

Consult with a healthcare professional who specialises in autism, such as a developmental paediatrician or child psychologist who can give you more information and advise you on the next steps.

Access early intervention services:

Early intervention services can make a significant difference in your child's development and future outcomes. Professionals can provide a comprehensive evaluation and help develop a personalised treatment plan for your child.

Connect with support networks:

Joining a support group or connecting with other families who have children with autism can be a valuable source of information, guidance, and emotional support. I joined several support groups that helped me to be where I am now.

Advocate for your child:

As your child's parent or caregiver, you are their best advocate. Speak up and advocate for your child's needs, whether that means working with your child's school to develop an individualised education plan (IEP), seeking funding for therapies, or working with healthcare professionals to access necessary treatments.

Prioritise self-care:

Caring for a child with autism can be physically and emotionally demanding. It's important to prioritize your own self-care, whether that means taking time for yourself, seeking support from friends and family, or seeking therapy for yourself.

- The writer is the Founder and CEO of Kenya Autism Alliance and a parent

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