Tips for Bringing Up a Child with Autism

Autism changes everything, but not always for the worse

Contrary to media presentations, autism isn’t a pediatric disorder.  It’s a lifelong disorder that just happens, most of the time, to be diagnosed in early childhood. Parents and people on the spectrum work hard to minimize difficulties and build on strengths, and often they are quite successful. But the reality is that, with very few exceptions, autistic kids become autistic teens and adults.

What does this mean to the parent who has just learned that their child is autistic?

From the moment you learn of your child's diagnosis, you'll start thinking in a different way. You may become overwhelmed or worried. You'll probably become very involved with your child's education and therapies. You're likely to discover that many of the people you know and love have a hard time accepting or interacting with your child. You'll certainly need help and resources to move forward in helping your child to reach his or her potential.

Coping with an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis

Parents are often overwhelmed by a child's autism spectrum diagnosis. Some parents experience grief; others are overcome by guilt, and still others are determined to cure their child no matter what it takes. If you're coping with a new diagnosis, you're not alone, and your feelings are perfectly understandable.

How to Have Fun with Your Autistic Child

Yes, you CAN have fun with your autistic child, but it may take a little imagination and a lot of patience.  Here are a few tips for preparing your child for ordinary activities, and discovering some activities that are perfect for him or her.

Autism and Family Matters

Sooner or later, autism will have an impact on your family. While moms and dads often have the most immediate and intense response to their child’s diagnosis, siblings, and grandparents may also be overwhelmed. Some families are brought together by the challenge of autism, but others actually crack under the strain. 

What does it take to help the whole family grow and thrive with autism? Whether you're coping with a mother-in-law's judgment or a spouse's Asperger's syndrome, you'll probably need some advice and insight.

Education and Autism

From preschool to college and beyond, education is a complex issue for people on the autism spectrum. Schools just aren’t set up to support children who have challenges with speech and social communication – let alone unusual or difficult behaviors. Luckily, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act does mean that a free and appropriate public education is available here in the United States.  Here are resources, ideas, and information to help you manage the challenges, pitfalls, and opportunities.

A Word From Verywell

Life with autism is a marathon, not a sprint. There is no magic elixir that will cure your child, but equally there is no "window of opportunity" that will shut on your child as she grows and learns. It's important to remember that your child will continue to advance, develop new skills, and learn new ways to enjoy and benefit the world. As the parent of a child with autism you can help make all this happen. The big difference is that you will probably be an active parent throughout your life.

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