Planning For The Future: How To Support Your Child After An Autism Diagnosis

Tips for parents with autistic kids

Disclaimer: This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.

Autism is a chronic neurodevelopmental disorder that typically affects how an individual behaves, communicates, and interacts with other people. Most people with autism are diagnosed during childhood, but because the disorder affects each person differently, some aren’t diagnosed until later in life.

As a parent, it can be difficult to hear that your child has been diagnosed with autism, particularly if you aren’t familiar with the condition. The good news is that because autism is such a common disorder, there are plenty of resources and tools available to parents seeking to support their children effectively. In this article, we’ll explore how you can act as a critical source of support for your child and set them up for success in light of their diagnosis. 

Supporting Your Child With Autism

The following are some helpful tips, tools, and resources that may be useful as you navigate an autism diagnosis with your child.

  • Do your research: If you’re unfamiliar with autism, it’s essential to take some time to learn more about the condition and how it might affect your child’s life. You might browse trustworthy sources on the internet or read books about the disorder. Various resources can provide you with the information you need to support your child and understand how autism can affect their feelings, motivations, behaviors, and social interactions.


  • Inform relevant parties: If your child has been diagnosed with autism, it’s vital to let the people in their lives know. Relevant parties include family members, friends, educators, coaches, and anyone else who regularly interacts with your child. Letting them know about your child’s diagnosis can ensure they approach your child with understanding and patience.


  • Develop a routine: Children with autism typically function best when they have a consistent routine to follow, as change can be unsettling to them. Keeping the same schedule every day, even on the weekends, can reduce your child’s anxiety by helping them feel a greater sense of stability. For example, when it comes to bedtime, you might have them take a bath, put on their pajamas, brush their teeth, and go to the bathroom, then read them a story, turn down the lights, and have them go to sleep. For kids with autism, consistency is key.


  • Find extra support: Building a strong support system can be crucial when your child has autism. Trusted friends and family members may be able to watch your child when you need a break, while educators can help your child get the extra assistance they need in school. Depending on the severity of your child’s autism, you may also consider getting respite care, which involves a professional coming to your home to care for your child. This can give you a break and allow you to engage in self-care, spend time with your partner or other loved ones, or finish running errands and completing chores.


  • Consider therapy: Therapy can help children with autism learn how to express themselves effectively, manage their emotions, and learn life skills for daily functioning. Play therapy, behavioral therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy are just a few of the options available to children with autism. BetterHelp offers online therapy to parents who may be considering therapy for their children.


  • Practice self-care: It can be challenging to support your child without caring for yourself first. Engaging in regular self-care can help ensure that you have the energy and motivation to be there for your child. Examples of self-care include attending therapy, journaling, exercising, listening to music, and much more.

Autism runs on a spectrum, and children can be affected differently depending on how severely the disorder affects their daily functioning. The support provided to children with autism looks different from family to family, as individuals may need varying levels of support. As a parent, it’s important to find a balance between showing up for your child and allowing them to grow and flourish on their own.   

Finding The Beauty In An Autism Diagnosis

An autism diagnosis may change life as you knew it, but that doesn’t mean it has to define you, your child, or your family. Rather, it can give everyone the chance to experience more personal growth and insight, enriching life as you once knew it. By learning as much as you can about autism and creating a strong network of supportive individuals, you can approach an autism diagnosis with confidence and ease. Although there may be challenges along the way, support and resources are available to those who seek them.