Think of the best present you’ve ever received. What made it so wonderful? Chances are, that memorable gift made you feel seen, known, and valued. Accepting a well-chosen gift from a trusted friend triggers a sense of renewed strength and hope.

When your child receives an autism diagnosis, it’s important for you and your family to receive specialized support and encouragement. Feelings of disorientation and isolation are common in the post-diagnosis period, but know this: you are not alone.

1 in 68 children in America have an autism spectrum diagnosis, and that number continues to climb. Millions advocate for autism awareness and support each year, and myriads of free resources are available to you as a parent.

That said, you probably have plenty of work and family responsibilities without adding in extensive online research. As such, we’ve compiled a user-friendly list of essential resources for the post-diagnosis period. Consider it our gift to you.

At FirstPath Autism, we’re committed to standing with you through every stage of your child’s development. We understand the challenges of an autism diagnosis, and we’re here to help. All of the autism resources listed below are free, concise, and readily accessible.

1. First, check out “After the Diagnosis”, a four-page introductory Autism Society article by Carin Yavorcik. Practical and concise, it’s a helpful place to begin as you navigate the post-diagnosis period. The piece encourages you to begin thinking creatively about next steps, and serves as a crash course in peer support, pediatricians, funding streams, self-care, autism advocacy, and more.

“The single most consistent piece of advice you’ll get is to find other parents who have been through the process. The services available through any given school system, local and state government are about as varied as people on the spectrum, so it’s important to talk to people who have similar challenges to your loved one with autism, and are dealing with them in the same geographical location.”
– Carin Yavorcik
2. Next, be sure to explore the free Family Services Tool Kits provided by Autism Speaks. We recommend downloading the free 100 Day Kit, created especially for newly-diagnosed families of young children with autism. The kit includes chapters on family dynamics and autism services, as well as form templates and a week-to-week calendar to help you track everything you’re doing to support your child in this time. If you need a comprehensive game plan for you and your family, this is the resource for you.

“It took everything I had to have that conversation, but it was such a relief. This other mom was reaching out to make a connection – to find someone else who struggles on a daily basis like she does – something I myself had been desperate to do for weeks and months. I was instantly welcomed into a community of people who ‘get it.’”

– Alysia K. Butler

3. In addition, review the Partington Behavior Analysts Newly Diagnosed? page. This well-respected organization offers a framework for post-diagnosis evaluations, which will help you to identify skill gaps and develop a plan to teach your child. Read this piece for an outline of physical, educational, and developmental concerns, and links to helpful assessment tools as well.

“Don’t put-off the educational program while you explore medical issues! It is very important to have both programs working simultaneously. Get started immediately on learning how to teach your child.”

– Partington Behavioral Analysis

4. For daily doses of inspiration, check out The Mighty. The site features real-life stories of special needs families who turned their challenges into opportunities for personal growth and public service. The Mighty was created to “improve the lives of people facing disease, disorder, or disability”.

You’ll face difficulties in your parenting journey — after all, what parent doesn’t? — but you’ll have moments of tremendous grace, too. For a hope-filled glimpse into the life of a parent of a young son on the autism spectrum, read this post by Tricia Rhynhold.

“And I want you to know that because of you I can get through another day. Because of you I can get through another appointment. Because of you I can take more stares and more questions. Because of you I have hope for Timothy’s future.”

– Tricia Rhynhold

5. Finally, this list wouldn’t be complete without a mention of our very own FirstPath video library! Our collection includes fifty-plus professional ABA videos, created to help your children succeed. Topics covered include social skills, transitions, inappropriate behavior, safety skills, and much more. Plus, we offer a live helpline, staffed seven days a week.