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Autism (cont.)

Autism Follow-up

Once treatment begins, the multidisciplinary team will recommend regular assessments to check your child's progress. These should be built into the treatment plan.

The best thing you can do to help your child is to work with the professional team. Be informed of the issues surrounding your child's treatment and outlook. Be sure you are clear about the goals of therapy and how they are to be achieved. Be organized and cooperative in supplying all information required by the team. Communicate your questions and reservations about the treatment plan so they can be addressed.

Autism Prevention

There is no known way to prevent autism. Research into the genetics of autism may eventually offer interventions that can correct genetic errors before the signs and symptoms of autism develop.

Autism Prognosis

Although, to different degrees of severity, the core features of autism are life-long, predicting the course for an individual with autism is very difficult. Many different variables enter into each person's experience with autism, including the symptoms and associated behaviors and their severity, the family environment, and the types of interventions used. An individual's IQ (particularly verbal IQ) is often a predictor of future functioning, with increasing IQ and communication skills associated with an increased ability to live independently. Some people with autism are able to develop their communication and social skills to a degree that allows them a fair degree of independence. Others can learn some skills but still require ongoing support from their family and others throughout their lives.

Support Groups and Counseling

Having a child diagnosed with autism can be a devastating experience for many parents and families. They may feel frustrated, confused, and afraid-they may even "grieve" for their "normal child."

Living with autism presents many new challenges for the person with autism and for his or her family and friends.

Parents of autistic children certainly have many worries. They wonder if their children will be able to achieve, if they will be able to be independent, and if they will be able to be happy and enjoy life. Parents also probably have many worries about how the autism will affect them and their ability to live a normal life, that is, to care for their family and home, to hold a job, and to continue the friendships and activities they enjoy. Many people feel anxious and depressed. Some people feel angry and resentful; others feel helpless and defeated.

For most people who have a child with autism, and even for some with autism themselves, talking about their feelings and concerns helps.

Friends and family members can be very supportive. They may be hesitant to offer support until they see how you are coping. Don't wait for them to bring it up. If you want to talk about your concerns, let them know.

Some people don't want to burden their loved ones, or they prefer talking about their concerns with a more neutral professional. A family therapist, social worker, counselor, or member of the clergy can be helpful if you want to discuss your feelings and concerns about your child's autism. Your health care practitioner should be able to recommend someone.

Many people who have a child with autism are profoundly helped by talking to other people in the same situation. Sharing your concerns with others who have been through the same thing can be remarkably reassuring. Support groups for families affected by autism may be available through the organizations providing treatment and education for your child.

For information about support groups in the area for families with an autistic child, contact the following organizations:

Medically reviewed by Margaret Walsh, MD; American Board of Pediatrics


Arehart-Treichel J. Autism treatment arsenal expands, with more options on horizon. Psychiatric News 2010 May 21; 45(10): 20.

Williams E. A comparative review of early forms of object-directed play and parent-infant play in typical infants and young children with autism. Autism 2003; 7; 361-377.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/11/2015

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