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What to Expect After an Autism Diagnosis

If your child was just diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, you're likely wondering what to expect next.

Outcomes for children with autism are quite individualized, and depend on many variables. These include, but are not limited to: how severely the child is affected by autism, what other conditions (such as mental retardation, attention deficit disorder, etc.) may be affecting the child, what age the diagnosis was made, what types of interventions have been utilized, at what age the interventions were implemented, the degree of intensity of intervention, etc.

It is simply impossible to tell what kind of progress any child with a developmental disability will make throughout his or her lifetime. Some children with autism are able to benefit from interventions (such as Applied Behavior Analysis) to the point they no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for autism. Some learn to communicate relatively effectively, and others may struggle significantly with the symptoms of their disorder throughout their entire lives.

The one thing we know is this: all children are capable of achieving and learning new skills. All children are capable of demonstrating reductions in problematic behavior. The children who achieve the most are generally those who received a diagnosis and began intensive services early in their development. Additionally, children whose parents have been actively involved in their treatment tend to fare better. However, effective services can lead to improvement no matter when they are first implemented.

At the Achievement Center, our mission is to Maximize the Potential of Children. Whether it be through our Behavior Analytic Services (BAS) program or another service, we are here to support children and families. If you have a question about your child's development, please contact our Intake Services Department at 814-459-2755.