At Autism Ireland we understand that the period following a diagnosis of Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be a very difficult time for parents, caregivers, and of course the individual. We recognise that trying to navigate the many pathways of support such as education, service providers, benefits and entitlements, as well as therapy can be a very overwhelming and time consuming experience.
Take a deep breath! Be kind to yourself and your own self-care first. You may want to consider personal counselling, and/or joining a local parent support group in your area. Joining a Facebook group, or other online forum may also help you connect with people who are going through a similar experience.
To find a talk therapist, or other counselling services in your area visit the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy website.
If your child has been given an early diagnosis, and you have a clear recommendation from the HSE (or other ASD professional service provider) stating that your child requires special education, the first thing you should do is:
- Research and find out all the schools in your local area (and a reasonable distance away if necessary) that are equipped to teach children with special needs.
- Contact each school and register your child’s name on their roster
- If your child is already attending school, contact your school and ask to speak with someone to get comprehensive information on how they are equipped to provide special education, and how to access additional resources if necessary. Our Education page may also have information you may find useful.
If your child is in pre-school, and is in the interim period of diagnosis and starting school; your child may be entitled to home-schooling through the The Department of Special Education.
If this is something you’d like to avail, you will need to fill out the appropriate forms[NEED LINKS] and advertise on Rollercoaster.ie and related Facebook groups [NEED LINKS] for a tutor.
If your family situation allows, you or your partner may need to take a carer break, or be a stay-at-home parent. If this is the case, there are several benefits and entitlements that you should apply for immediately.
Unfortunately, waiting lists for Autism related services can be as long as 2 years or more. If you are financially able, it is recommended that you seek private therapy for your child. There are many private practitioners that can be found online, though it is important to ensure that they have well documented experience working with Autism and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder. A great way to find reliable information is to ask other parents in the Autism community, on online forums and boards, or support groups for recommendations.
Know that you can always access support and resources through Autism Ireland, and that we are here to help you every step of the way in any way we can.
You can contact our support line at 044 937 1680 or send us a message. You are also welcome to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we will be sure to get back to you as soon as possible.