If your child has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), it’s okay to feel this news brings a daunting new challenge or a setback to navigating your parenting style. Although ASD is a chronic lifelong condition that your child will never outgrow, there are various ways to help them develop to their full potential and accomplish their goals, wherever they may sit on the autism spectrum.

Early Diagnosis

Giving yourself and your family the time to prepare and come to terms with your child’s ASD diagnosis may take some time and adjustment, and the best way to give yourselves that time is to receive a diagnosis as early as possible. If your child shows any signs of delay in their early development, it’s best to seek medical attention and identify the problem.

Fortunately, Applied Behavioural Analysis therapy, or ABA therapy, can be initiated when your child is as young as 18 months. These programs are incredibly beneficial to both children and parents facing ASD, as they help to improve a child’s coping mechanisms, communication skills, social capabilities, and understanding. Beginning these programs early can help your child better adapt to a life with ASD and reduce symptoms throughout their lifetime.

Become the Expert

The initial diagnosis may seem like a blow, and it’s okay to take your time coming to terms with your child’s condition. However, remember that a formal diagnosis is good news — it allows you to understand better how your child thinks, communicates, and responds to situations. With this information, as a parent, you are better equipped to foresee their needs and help them interpret the world around them.

Your next step is to become the expert on your child’s condition: every child experiences autism differently and has different triggers, behavioral quirks, communication styles, likes, and dislikes. Outbursts that once seemed random or unprovoked can now be better understood and prepared for. Determining what makes your child feel calm, anxious, afraid, overstimulated, or restless will allow you to understand their behavior better and ultimately make you more patient with them. Researching and speaking to other parents of autistic children can also help you learn more about the disorder in a general sense. However, your child may experience autism in a precise and individual way, and it is essential to be mindful of this.

Create Structure and Routine

All children, especially children with ASD, develop and cope best with a strict daily routine that dictates their activities. Creating a schedule for your child that includes their meal times, playtime, therapy, school hours, and bedtime routine can help them predict and foresee what the day holds for them and what challenges they may have to try and overcome. If there is a necessary deviation from this schedule, explain this to your child ahead of time so that they know what to expect.


Consistency is essential, and it helps if you can work the techniques your child has learned in ABA therapy into your daily structure. While your child may progress well during therapy sessions, it can be difficult for them to translate what they’ve learned to the outside world. Maintaining consistency helps reinforce what they’ve learned, especially when they’re struggling with behavioral challenges. You can also speak to their therapist about how to adapt therapy techniques to your home environment.

Celebrate Their Uniqueness

Children with ASD often have focused areas where they excel, and they may show increased enthusiasm about a particular topic or activity early in their development. Now that we know of many accomplished composers, scientists, entertainers, and artists who have all been diagnosed with ASD, it’s easy to see that leaning into your child’s strengths and interests can lead to great success!

Holding space for your child’s talents and abilities allows them to explore what they’re passionate about and increases their self-esteem. Still, it helps you focus on their gifts rather than just their behavioral deficits. You must face their diagnosis with optimism and celebrate every small win.

It helps to remember that your child’s ASD is part of what makes them unique and individual. Comparing your child to their neurotypical peers is unfair to them and will make it appear as though they are never progressing. Accepting their condition and the limitations it may come with is a lifelong journey, but it’s vital for both you and them that you don’t give up or lose hope.


ASD may be a lifelong condition, but it doesn’t necessarily have to place any limitations on your child. There isn’t anything “wrong” with them, and they aren’t inherently “missing” anything — their diagnosis simply means that they might need more time to develop and overcome specific obstacles than neurotypical children. They still have all the potential to live an independent, productive, and successful life; you mustn’t lose sight of this.

Parenting a child with ASD comes with unique challenges and obstacles, and it’s okay to admit that you’re struggling. Coming to terms with a different parenting experience from what you may have once expected is a part of the journey, and some days will be easier than others.

It’s important to remember that many other parents have walked a similar path, and there are support groups and resources to help you and your child. Surrounding yourself with parents who have navigated or are currently navigating the journey of parenting a child with ASD will show you that you’re not alone and will allow you to share your child’s triumphs and challenges with a community that truly understands your experience.