By: Ronit Molko
When a family receives a diagnosis of autism, their vocabulary begins to change. Suddenly there is an array of clinical terms, abbreviations and acronyms to become familiar with. Assessments, IEPs, ABA (…which may be provided by a BCBA), OT and SLP and the list goes on. One of the most important words parents need to understand is ADVOCACY.

And it is not enough to know it, you have to practice it. As parents, you are THE advocate for your child. Your child’s diagnosis is the starting point in your education to become an expert in the needs, rights and options for your child. We often say in our company, “there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to treating a child with autism.” This puts the parents in the position to help navigate, choose and if necessary fight for the course of their child’s treatment and education.

Sound daunting? It is. There is no way around it, this journey through autism is full of challenges but is also full of triumphs. The good news is that today we have a lot more options for how we connect with resources, information and each other. With the internet, many families can gain access to information across the country or in their own backyard.

The next word to add to your new autism vocabulary is DISCERNMENT. Parents can easily go from uninformed to overwhelm. Discernment and trusting your best judgment for your child’s plan is essential.

Which leads us back to one of my favorite words, COMMUNITY? I encourage you to utilize the gained knowledge of others. Let people support you and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Nurturing relationships within the autism community and building awareness outside of the autism community will benefit you, your child and those you bring into your circle.