In support of National Autism Awareness Month in April, the authors of Navigating Autism: The Essential How-to By Parents for Parents—Andrew and Melissa Areffi—are sharing 10 tips with parents who are faced with a diagnosis of autism for one or more of their children. The Areffis are parents of three youngsters diagnosed on the autism spectrum, and wrote Navigating Autism as an empowering “how-to” guide to help parents work through educational, governmental, and medical obstacles to obtain critical assistance for their autistic kids. It offers warm, honest anecdotes about the Areffi’s own experiences, providing inspiration and support to any parent going through the autistic journey.

1. Manage expectations – This is a marathon, not a sprint; you're not going to fix this overnight.

2. Get early intervention ASAP – All studies have shown the earlier the better.

3. Learn the techniques – The therapist won't live with you 24/7; you will have to do this, too.

4. Learn the lingo – Autism experts use a boatload of acronyms, and you need to communicate with them.

5. Take care of yourself – You're allowed to have fun and you can't advocate for your child if you’re burnt out.

6. Don't lock yourself away – You need and your child needs to be exposed to the world outside.

7. Watch out for each other – Divorce and caregiver depression is a big concern.

8. Don't try to go it alone – Have a support system of family and friends who can help out.

9. Give up services when you're done – There are 50,000 kids diagnosed every year and limited resources.

10. Don't blame yourself – When you can forgive yourself, you put the focus on them.


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