New to Autism


Long before receiving the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, parents suspect that something is different about their child.  After testing and consultations confirm the parents’ suspicions, the first questions that arise are:  “Where do we go from here?  What do we do next?”



There is currently no cure for autism.  However, continued research has provided a clearer understanding of the disorder and has led to better treatments and therapies.  Studies have shown that appropriate educational intervention can lead to better outcomes for children with autism.  Early intervention can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals with autism; however, the majority of individuals with ASD will continue to exhibit some symptoms in varying degrees throughout their lives and may require lifelong care and supervision.

The most effective programs share an emphasis on early, appropriate, and intensive intervention.  To accommodate the diverse needs of individuals with ASD, effective approaches should be flexible, re-evaluated regularly, and provide the child with opportunities for generalization.  Parents should investigate any and all treatments thoroughly and use caution before committing to any particular treatment.



No two individuals with ASD are alike; therefore, treatment outcomes will vary.  Remember to research each therapy approach carefully.  Books and other information about these and other treatments are available, and much information can be found on the internet.  Networking with other parents is also a great way to find out what is working for other children.  Read more about the common approaches for treating autism …



Local state and county programs provide developmental and other supportive services to children with developmental disabilities from birth up to age three.  In Ohio, this federally mandated early intervention program is called Help Me Grow.  Learn more about Help Me Grow …



Once a child reaches the age of 3, your local education agency will assist in the transition to the public school-based Early Childhood Program.  If a child has not participated in a “Birth to 3” program or is over the age of 3 families should contact their local or county special education program to enroll their child in the local school-based program.  Some parents prefer to homeschool their young children with autism until they feel they are ready for a group setting.  Some choose to explore alternative schools utilizing the Autism Scholarship Program.  Read more about the Autism Scholarship Program and find Autism Scholarship Providers in your area.



All public schools must provide services for children with ASD from ages 3 through 21.  The public school must evaluate your child for a suspected disability, develop an appropriate educational plan and provide related services as indicated by the evaluation.  The role of the evaluation is to identify if an educational disability exists, not to make a medical diagnosis.  The educational evaluation team must include a professional with knowledge and experience in the area of autism.  A child must have an educational evaluation to receive services in the public schools.  Learn more about educational evaluations …



The term “transition” refers to one of the more critical times when individuals with ASD plan to leave the security of services through the public school system to the uncertainty of adult services.  The transition from high school to continuing study or employment can be made easier through transition planning, which must be included in the child’s IEP, beginning at age 14.  With good transition planning, a student with ASD can have an opportunity to experience higher education, employment, and independent living.  Parents, school officials, and agency personnel work together to make the transition as smooth as possible for the student.



Additional resources available at …

Autism Society of America
Centers for Disease Control
OCALI (Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence)
Ohio Department of Education


Portions of the information above were duplicated from the following: