Home > Family Services > Advice for Asking Questions and Advocating for Your Child

Advice for Asking Questions and Advocating for Your Child

We are so thankful for the outpouring of advice that has flooded in for us to share with the Autism Speaks Community. Who better to give advice than you all, the people that know best! We have heard from people on the autism spectrum, parents, siblings, teachers, therapists, and beyond. Your advice has been broken down into categories, and we will post accordingly!

YOU are your child’s best advocate. YOU are their voice when they need it. YOU know your child best. It’s not about them; it’s about your child. –Marisa

The best advocator and educator for your child is you. So educate yourself on different forms of therapy and treatments. Find a great pediatrician. And learn to laugh and enjoy the journey, that little person needs you. And love them for who they are…an awesome child who just happens to have Autism. –Deanna

Believe – in yourself, in your child, and most of all in the bond you share. –Keith

Early Intervention is Key.  The sooner your child receives therapy, the better chances the child has to grow. Check out the public schools to find out which has the best special education program and do everything in your power to go to that school. –Caroline

People with Autism do not plateau in their learning abilities.  They will keep growing and learning with time, patience, and consistency. That is what I have found in my son. –Doreen

Know your school system and the services that are available for you and your child.  Fight for your child; do not let the school system bully you or your child.  Insist that your child be allowed to become the best that they can be. -Linda

Do NOT assume that school personnel know more than you do about your child or autism.  I am a special education teacher whose certification program only briefly covered children with autism.  There is no state teaching license, in Wisconsin, for the area of autism.  Visit your child’s school, unannounced, and observe the programming and interaction between students and staff, students and students.  Many times special education aides are the staff members responsible for your child’s day-to-day functioning.  Do not overlook them – they are a vital piece to your child’s success. –Sheryl

Remember, you’re not alone.  There are many untapped resources to help fund your child’s road to recovery.  Know your rights, and the rights of your child when looking for these State, Federal and School District funded programs. -Ian

Have lots of mirrors and practice social situations BEFORE you go.  One step beyond social stories…don’t script them…’improv’ any new situations and talk about possible feelings and reactions.  Practice making your body match your feelings AND practice hiding your feelings when necessary. –Mary

I got the best advice to embrace my son’s autism.  Never give up, and embrace it along the way. –Kristi

Stop trying to fix them, they aren’t broke. –Ruth

You will hear so many theories and receive so many suggestions about therapies that you MUST try. Proceed with an open mind. Proceed with caution. Look for objective evidence (data, proof) of claims that treatments are effective. But above all, do what works for your child and your family. –Kelley

I wish I’d known colic is not “normal.”  Although food intolerances are not the source of our son’s problems, having stomach aches and headaches certainly made it much more difficult for him to focus on our world.  If your baby/toddler has stomach problems or cries for “no reason”, have him/her checked for food intolerances, and if you are breast feeding, eliminate the major problem foods from your diet (milk and gluten are a good starting point) to see if it helps.  It may have a major effect on your child’s behavior. -Deniz

Be patient, go with the flow, seek the best therapy you can find, and love them through it all. –Sharon

Following the GF/CF diet has cleared up my son’s cloudiness….he became much more interactive with his environment and family.  It is important to be 100% all day every day to get results!  Set a time frame and gently ease into the diet so your child does not feel penalized, there are a lot of great recipes available and people to support you! Remember to keep carbohydrate intake low if you are GF/CF! –Dens

Don’t blame yourself. –Jon

  1. December 30, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    There are some good comments here. I would like to add that often overlooked is understanding what the child’s brain needs for proper development. Seldom do the professionals look at the adequacy of the diet. What in the diet will provide for the choline, serine, phosphorous, cholesterol, and the fatty acids found lacking in those with autism? The USDA Nutrient Databnase has the answers for that question and advises what the brain needs or contains as well. A comparison of the nutrients needed by the brain to the nutrients in the various foods makes it possible to ensure that the child is being well nourished. This relationship between autism and nutrition holds the answer for autism. The foods that will meet those needs are the foods that contain cholesterol, like meat, whole milk, and regular eggs.

  2. Stephanie
    December 30, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Noone will fight for your baby like you will. When it comes to school get a parent advocate to help copaa.org. It’s nice to have someone on your side. Best money I ever spent!!

  3. January 3, 2011 at 8:38 am

    I really liked the opinion on checking other public schools for the best possible program for autism. When I started looking I went to all the private out of district schools. I did hear that there is a great program at another in district school but I already have my child in another school. He is doing well there and I don’t want to change him at this time. I just wish I knew that back then.

  4. Katharine
    January 5, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Early intervention was so important and KEY for our son’s developmental progress. He started intervention at age one and now he is 5 years old in kindergarten with friends and doing very well. We are so proud of him. We have our challenges sometimes, but also our many joys.

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