Autism: What You Should Do Before and After the Diagnosis

BY: - 8 Oct '13 | Parenting

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FacingAutism

The fact that autism is diagnosed later in minority children saddens me. It saddens me, but it also motivates me to be even more diligent about spreading autism awareness in my community. Our children are beginning the race when children of other races are already on their third lap. Angel was not diagnosed with autism until he turned four.

Here is the action plan that I wish I had years ago:

Before the Autism Diagnosis

  1. I implore parents to learn about the various childhood developmental milestones. This knowledge will empower you with the information needed to tell if your child is developing normally.
  2. Maintain an open dialogue with your child’s pediatrician about their development. If you believe that something is just not right, trust your instinct and follow up on it.
  3. If your child is missing developmental milestones, contact a developmental pediatrician or pediatric neuro-psychologist and request an evaluation for your child.
  4. Do your homework and act promptly. Procrastinating can deprive your child of crucial early intervention services that can make a big difference in their development.

After the Autism Diagnosis

  1. Learn all you can about your child’s autism diagnosis. An informed parent is an empowered parent.
  2. Become a staunch advocate for your child.
  3. Know that it is okay to feel varying emotions after learning that your child is on the autism spectrum.
  4. Contact your state’s Parent-to-Parent coordinator to get a support-parent referral.
  5. Find a support group in your neighborhood.
  6. Join online forums and support groups for parents of children with autism. These outlets can be a valuable source of support and resources.
  7. Be an active participant in finding an appropriate educational placement for your child. If your child is under three, look into your state’s Early Intervention program. A special-needs advocate can be a big help during this process.
  8. Be an active participant in the development of your child’s Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) or Individualized Education Program (IEP).
  9. Attend parent workshops and trainings.

Taking these steps after your child is diagnosed is crucial. When I attend autism-related trainings and seminars, I can count the minorities in attendance on one hand. This has to change. We need to start seeking information and doing our best to become a strong voice in the autism community.

We can’t leave it all to celebrities. I am grateful for the awareness that celebrities bring to autism, but we ALL have to do our share. Promoting autism awareness and acceptance are causes that we all need to embrace because we can help our children and each other by seeking and spreading knowledge.

BMWK – What would you add to my action plan?  Are you active in the autism community?

Check back every other Tuesday for additional articles from Kpana Kpoto as she shares her experiences and what she learns as she raises her son that has been diagnosed with Autism.

About the author

Kpana Kpoto wrote 38 articles on this blog.

Kpana Kpoto, also known as Miz Kp, is a special needs advocate and blogger. She provides resources and support for autism parents through her blog, Sailing Autistic Seas and her support group, Bronx Parents Autism Support Circle. Kpana lives in New York City with her husband and only child, six-year old "Angel" who is conquering autism one milestone at a time.

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    I will also add that it’s so important to find your child’s strengths. Center activities around those strengths. Encourage him when he engages in that certain activity. You may find that he excel in areas where a child without autism is not as advanced.

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    I strongly believe that family support is important before and after diagnosis. Promoting a nurturing and caring environment for the child is also crucial.

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Why Every Successful Family Needs a Mission Statement

BY: - 9 Oct '13 | Parenting

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TNMFamilyPicture_mission statement

by Nathaniel A. Turner

If you are going to be part of a successful family you owe it to yourself and your family to have a mission statement. After all, when you say “I do” and when you decide that you are ready to hear the “pitter patter of little feet”, you are setting your sails for life’s two most important and challenging missions.

“Happily ever after” is a destination that requires proper planning and execution.

Many of the problems family’s face today occur because there are no formal directions to determine who the family is, who the family will become and how the family will be remembered. Yet, we are surprised when we don’t get our “happily ever after”. “Happily ever after” is a destination that requires proper planning and execution. Proper planning and execution begin with a family mission statement.

Religious Saying is Not a Mission Statement

Full disclosure, I was raised in a Christian household and I was married in an A.M.E. Church. Neither of these two highlights qualify as a family mission statement. Too often, we mistakenly believe that our religious pronouncements and the location where we “joined hands” is a family mission statement. Add a few religious sayings like “hold on to God’s unchanging hand” and “put your faith in the Lord” and the error in our thinking is magnified.

We can be the most fervent Believers, but without proper planning and execution and a plan of action that has quantitative and qualitative measurements, we are just another family on the brink of disaster. The family that fails to plan, plans to fail!

All Great Businesses Have a Mission Statement

Whether you recognize it or not, your family is a business. And no, I’m not talking about being nosy. Although, being nosy has become a gargantuan industry (see TMZ, People Magazine, reality TV, etc.) Instead, what I’m talking about is business – a going concern. An enterprise that has an altruistic motive combined with financial realities.

Transcendent, long-lasting businesses, before they ever considered profit, began with a desire, a goal to do something noble. Look at the world’s most successful companies today and you will find an altruistic commonality. Apple and Google don’t exist merely to make money, they exist to improve the world and the quality of life.

Why does your family exist? What plans does your family have to improve the world?

If Google and Apple have mission statements, shouldn’t your family? Successful families, like the great companies, don’t take the importance of a mission statement for granted.

A Successful Mission is Quantifiable

An objective of your family mission statement, just as it is with any great business, is to report a profit (operate in the black) and increase shareholder wealth. In short, a successful family doesn’t spend more than it earns and it always endeavors to increase the family’s value – net worth. And if for some reason, I have not made this plain and simple enough, I will say it another way, a successful family does not indebt themselves purchasing depreciable items (i.e. cars, clothes, jewelry) nor refuse to save anything for a rainy day.

The success of any business is always quantifiable. And like all businesses, your family’s success is measurable. Like Apple and Google your family has an income statement and a balance sheet. Whether your family is quantifiably successful can be partially answered by examining the family income statement and family balance sheet.

Remember profit and black are good; loss and red are bad.

On A Mission

For those families who have a mission statement already, congratulations. For those families without a mission statement, it is time to develop one immediately.

If you don’t know how or where to start, I’ll share that the next time. In the meantime, if you can’t wait and are eager to get started organizing and managing your family like great businesses and successful families do, feel free to contact me.

BMWK – does your family have a mission statement? What are some of the elements of a good mission statement?

Nathaniel A. Turner, J.D. blogs at The Raising Supaman Project, a dad blog for children of all ages.  Nate shares thought-provoking, educational and entertaining ways to raise children who will maximize their God-given ability and encourages children of all ages to become great adults. Connect with Nate on Twitter: @Supamans_Dad; 

About the author

BMWK Staff wrote 1219 articles on this blog.

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