What to do when you first receive a diagnosis of Autism

Lisa Weiderlight Safe Minds EDSafe Minds Executive Director Lisa Weiderelight shares the following to help anyone dealing with the shock of a recent Autism diagnosis.

Autism is a national health crisis affecting nearly two percent of American children. Most of those with autism live with poorly-treated disability and serious, sometimes life-threatening medical conditions.

These include but are not limited to seizure disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, mental health disorders and wandering/elopement from safe environments. The cost to society is now estimated at $268 billion annually.

Autism can be prevented. Worrisome changes in our environment are primary contributors to the vast majority of new autism cases. Growing chemical exposures, poor nutrition, alterations in our biome, expansion of medical interventions with side effects, and indoor lifestyles take a toll on health and put babies at risk. The good news is these worrisome changes are modifiable. The autism epidemic can be reversed by accelerating environmental research and demanding reform in public health policies.

SafeMinds refuses to accept the current autism paradigm that permits an unchecked epidemic and widespread suffering. Our model embraces risk-taking and experimental approaches to accelerate breakthrough research and practices that will make an immediate difference. The crisis of autism demands this approach. Safe Minds is having a wonderful fundraiser called Fashion Rocks Autism in September 2016, which is a night of inspiration, glamor, fashion and more. To get information about the event or purchase tickets click here.

Four ways you can help:

1)  It’s important for caregivers to get the respite they need so that they can give what they must to their child with autism. Raising a child with autism can be stressful, exhausting, and emotionally overwhelming, so parents must take care of themselves to stay the course on this marathon.

2)  If you know someone who is raising a child with autism and want to help but don’t know how–ask. It’s that simple, but often people don’t know how to help so they don’t. Offer to babysit, go grocery shopping, make dinner for the family, ask if you can run some errands, and be there to listen with an open mind and heart.

3)  Seek out those who have walked the path you are now on. You can learn from them, and they can help to guide you.

4)  Think critically about what you hear, see, and read about autism. There is a lot of misinformation and information out there, and taking the time to research what is right for your family is important.

Some other resources:

The Safe Minds Website: www.safeminds.org

The Johns Hopkins Wendy Klag Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities

The Autism Speaks Website: www.austismspeaks.org

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