3 Ways an Early Autism Diagnosis Helped Our Family (and How to Get One)


Disclaimer :: This article is sponsored by As You Are to share its new services with Texas families. The article writer created this resource based on her own experiences with autism diagnosis.

Before we celebrated his second birthday, our son was diagnosed with autism. The decision to get him evaluated wasn’t easy, but it was important. Although we expected some sort of diagnosis, the results were still hard to receive. With time it became clear an early autism diagnosis validated our concerns as parents, it empowered us to become educated, and it provided a roadmap of possibilities.

Our Red Flags

Most of the people in our lives kept reassuring my husband and me that our son’s developmental milestones would eventually be met, including our pediatrician. 

Kids learn at their own speed.

Just give it some time.

He’ll start speaking when he’s ready.

A child and his parents look at a computer screen with a telehealth professional.

Instead of listening to what others said, I paid more attention to the nagging feeling in my chest. I remember laying down at night consumed with worry that something just felt different about our son’s behavior. There was a regression in speech; words that he used to say he was no longer using. He slowly started to respond less frequently to his name. The toys in the playroom were arranged in lines or grouped together. His eye contact was fleeting. 

Ultimately, we decided to pursue diagnostic testing because we had more questions than answers. We agreed if there was even a slight possibility our son might require additional support, we wanted him to have access to those interventions as soon as possible. We learned that some therapies, interventions, and services are only granted with a medical diagnosis of autism. 

>> RELATED READ :: Raising a Child with Autism: What I Wish I Knew in the Beginning <<

An Early Diagnosis Validated Our Concerns

I never wanted to navigate autism as a mom. I had dreams and hopes of what life as a family would be like, and it felt like the autism diagnosis shattered that picture. And while the emotions were raw, the reality was that in other ways the diagnosis provided a lot of comfort, too:

  • It reassured me that my mother’s intuition was real.
  • It validated the concerns my husband and I shared about our son’s delays.
  • The diagnostic assessment provided us an answer to the questions we had about our son’s behavior and development.

It wasn’t the answer we wanted to hear, but it was the answer we needed to hear.

An Early Diagnosis Empowered Us to Become Educated

As soon as the results were official, we determined to work together to understand autism as best as we could as parents.

We read books. We listened to podcasts. We reached out to local and national support networks. We connected with people whose lives were also impacted by autism. We met with all kinds of professionals, such as doctors, speech therapists, behavior analysts, and occupational therapists. We attended conferences.

My husband and I decided that we would need to become our son’s best advocate, and in order to advocate, we needed to become knowledgeable first. Not only were we learning about autism, but we were also forced to learn some tough lessons about patience and insurance coverage.

>> RELATED READ :: Saying the Word: There’s No Such Thing as a Typical Response to an Autism Diagnosis <<

A young boy grasps his hands and closes his eyes.An Early Diagnosis Provided Us a Roadmap

The diagnosis wasn’t the end of our journey. It was the beginning. While most parents were arranging playdates, we were touring therapy centers.

After researching and talking with professionals and other parents raising young children with autism, my husband and I formulated a plan of what we thought was best for our son and family. No longer was my brain stuck in the back-and-forth of wondering if my son was affected by autism. The early diagnosis allowed me to concentrate on future planning. It gave us the gift of time.

The diagnosis served as a way to focus on what was in our control. We had no control over the fact that our son was diagnosed with autism. But that didn’t render us helpless. Instead, we focused on things within our control, such as meeting his needs and partnering with professionals about next steps.

Where to Get an Autism Evaluation

If you suspect a child in your life may be affected by autism, I’d encourage you to seek an evaluation. I remember being confronted with the reality that just because I was finally ready for my son to be evaluated didn’t necessarily mean I could schedule an appointment for the next day. Many families report long wait lists for diagnostic autism evaluations, sometimes up to a year.

As You Are provides virtual diagnostic autism evaluations for children as young as 16 months old up to 10 years of age. Appointments are scheduled with board-certified physicians, and there is no need for a doctor’s referral. Parents or guardians can contact As You Are directly to set up the first visit. As You Are accepts insurance, including Medicaid and TRICARE EAST.

You can visit www.asyouare.com for more information about these virtual services in Texas. 

Our son is now six years old and attends kindergarten in a small private school in the North Dallas area. I’m convinced he is doing exceptionally well because of the years of therapy and intervention that an early autism diagnosis gave us. The hopes and dreams I had before autism wove its way into our story have revived, but they’re different. And I’m learning every day that different doesn’t always mean bad.

As You Are logoAs You Are is a virtual clinic providing autism diagnostic evaluations for kids between 16 months and 10 years old, using exclusively telehealth appointments. As You Are is breaking geographic barriers for families sitting on long waitlists, helping diagnose more children early in development. For the latest info, follow As You Are on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.


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