As you approach an appointment date, it is important that you are well prepared in advance, especially so if it is your first time meeting autism professionals. By providing as much information as possible in your sessions about your child’s behaviour and needs, the easier it will be to develop supports and strategies to aid in their self-development.
If you are meeting your GP or other medical professional because you feel that your child may be on the autism spectrum, there are several things you may wish to consider preparing:
- keep a diary or record of your child’s behaviour over a period of time (four to six months, at least) to illustrate patterns or concerns you may have noticed;
- make a list of questions to ask your doctor about autism, no matter how stupid you think they might sound;
Some autism professionals will ask you to keep a diary or a record over time, monitoring your child’s progress at home with certain therapeutic supports. This is often asked of a parent / guardian during a diagnostic assessment, so it is crucial that you are able to provide as clear a picture as possible of your child’s behaviour if you believe that they may be in need of particular care and or resources.
You may be encouraged to do your own independent research as your child is assessed. Building on your own knowledge of autism and neurodiversity is always a positive step forward, and the internet is full of useful information and resources on the subject. It is important to remember, however, that you receive your information from credible sources. Despite greater awareness about the condition, there still exist many myths around autism, its causes, and so-called ‘cures.’
When researching autism, it is also crucial that you are able to spot out hoaxes and scams from people pretending to be accredited autism professionals. Be vigilant whilst doing so and never take clinical advice from someone who does not have formal training as a doctor, a therapist or a specialist in autism.