February 20, 2024
Parent and child with autism

What to Do After An Autism Diagnosis

Posted February 20, 2024

Did you or your child just recently get an autism diagnosis and you’re not sure what to do now?

Receiving an autism diagnosis can be a confusing and overwhelming event whether it is for yourself or for your child. Although it is scary to know how to handle it, there are ways to help you in the processes of adjusting to your new normal.

Let’s talk about how you can give yourself time to accept a diagnosis, find help and support, make connections, and create a structured environment after an autism diagnosis.


Give Yourself Time


Receiving an autism diagnosis can be a life-altering moment that brings a wide range of emotions. It is completely normal to feel overwhelmed, confused, or even resistant to accepting the diagnosis. Adjusting to this new understanding of yourself takes time and patience. Here are some suggestions on how to give yourself time to accept an autism diagnosis:


Educate Yourself 

Take the time to learn about autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Understanding the condition can help demystify it and provide insights into your own experiences. Read books, research online, and seek information from reputable sources. This knowledge will empower you to make informed decisions about your well-being. 

Seek Support 

Reach out to others who have gone through a similar experience. Support groups, both in-person and online, can provide a safe space to share your feelings, ask questions, and connect with individuals who have faced similar challenges. Sharing your journey with others who understand can be incredibly validating and comforting. 

Allow Yourself to Grieve 

Receiving an autism diagnosis can trigger a grieving process as you may mourn the loss of certain expectations or the “neurotypical” identity you or your child may have identified with. It’s important to acknowledge and honor these feelings. Allow yourself to grieve, express your emotions, and give yourself permission to process the changes this diagnosis may bring. 

Take it One Step at a Time 

Accepting a diagnosis is a gradual process. Break it down into smaller, manageable steps. Focus on understanding and accepting one aspect at a time, rather than trying to process everything at once. This approach can help alleviate overwhelm and give you the space to process your emotions. 

Practice Self-Compassion 

Be kind to yourself throughout this journey. Remember that everyone’s path is different, and it’s okay to have mixed emotions or conflicting thoughts. Treat yourself with patience, understanding, and self-care. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, and practice self-compassionate self-talk. 

Communicate With Loved Ones 

Share your feelings and concerns with trusted family members and friends. Open and honest communication can help them better understand your experience and provide much-needed support. Educate them about autism, answer their questions, and let them know how they can support you in your acceptance process.


Accepting an autism diagnosis is a personal and individual process. Give yourself permission to go at your own pace and trust that with time, self-compassion, and support, you will find acceptance and embrace your unique strengths and qualities.


Find Help and Support Services


Access to resources and information: Support services can connect you with a wealth of resources, including educational materials, workshops, therapy options, and community programs. These resources can help you stay updated on the latest research, therapies, and interventions available for autism. Having access to relevant information equips you with the tools necessary to make informed decisions about your treatment and overall well-being. 

Kids On The Move’s ABA Therapy Program 

Kids On The Move is a non-profit organization that provides a range of support services to children and families in Utah. One of the key areas of focus for the organization is providing autism support services. 

Kids On The Move recognizes the unique needs of children with autism and their families. We offer a range of services that are designed to help children with autism develop the skills they  need to succeed, while also providing support to parents and caregivers. 

One of the core services offered by Kids On The Move is Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy. We employ highly trained ABA therapists who work one-on-one with children to provide individualized therapy that is tailored to their specific needs. 

Kids On The Move also provides support to parents and caregivers of children with autism. We  offer parent education and training programs that teach parents how to support their child’s development and behavior at home. We additionally provide respite care services, which give parents a much-needed break from their caregiving responsibilities.

Kids On The Move is a great resource for someone who was just diagnosed with autism and needs additional help and support. 

Go to this link for more information about Kids On The Move and see how you can volunteer as a respite care provider.


Make Connections


Making connections after an autism diagnosis can make all the difference between feeling alone and feeling supported by others. Here is a list of suggestions on how to make connections after an autism diagnosis:


1. Participate in Autism Events and Activities 

Attend autism-focused events, workshops, or conferences in your area. These gatherings offer opportunities to meet and interact with individuals who have a vested interest in autism. 

2. Seek Out Autism Social Skills Programs 

Look for social skills training programs specifically tailored for individuals on the autism spectrum. These programs can provide a structured and supportive environment to practice social interactions and develop connections with others. 

3. Utilize Online Communities 

Engage in online communities and forums dedicated to autism. Websites and social media platforms often have groups and communities where you can share experiences, ask questions, and connect with others. 

4. Volunteer or Work for Autism-Related Organizations 

Consider volunteering or working for organizations that focus on autism. These opportunities allow you to engage with like-minded individuals, build connections, and contribute to the autism community. 

5. Attend Events and Activities 

Participate in community events, clubs, or classes that embrace inclusivity. Look for activities that align with your interests, such as art, music, sports, or hobbies. These shared experiences can facilitate connections with individuals who have similar passions. 

6. Seek Out Mentorship Programs 

Explore mentorship programs that connect individuals on the autism spectrum with mentors who have successfully navigated similar challenges. These programs provide guidance, support, and opportunities to develop meaningful connections. 

7. Communicate Openly With Family and Friends 

Share your experiences and aspirations with family and friends. They may have connections or suggestions that can help you connect with like-minded individuals or organizations.


Building connections takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself and others, and embrace the opportunities that come your way. Each connection you make can contribute to your personal growth, support network, and overall well-being.


Create a Structured Environment


Creating a structured environment after an autism diagnosis can be immensely beneficial in promoting a sense of stability, reducing anxiety, and supporting overall well-being. Here are some suggestions on what to do to establish a structured environment:


Establish Consistent Routines 

Create daily routines and schedules that provide a predictable framework for your day. Establish regular times for waking up, meals, work/study, leisure activities, and bedtime. Consistency in routines can help reduce anxiety and provide a sense of order. 

Use Visual Supports 

Visual aids, such as schedules, calendars, or visual timers, can be powerful tools for individuals on the autism spectrum. These visual supports provide clear and tangible cues about activities, transitions, and expectations. They help in understanding and navigating daily routines and tasks. 

Create a Designated Workspace 

Set up a designated workspace that is organized, comfortable, and free from distractions. This space can be used for work, study, or engaging in hobbies. Having a dedicated area for focused activities helps create a structured environment and promotes productivity. 

Use Visual Organizers and Labels 

Utilize storage bins, shelves, or drawers with clear labels or pictures to categorize and organize belongings. This helps create an organized environment and facilitates independent living skills by making it easier to find and put away items. 

Break Tasks Into Manageable Steps 

Complex tasks can feel overwhelming, so breaking them down into smaller, more manageable steps can make them more approachable. Create visual or written lists that outline each step of a task or activity, providing a clear roadmap for completion. 

Utilize Visual or Auditory Reminders 

Use visual or auditory reminders to support transitions or prompt specific actions. This can include alarm clocks, timers, or smartphone reminders that signal when it’s time to start or finish a particular activity. 

Incorporate Sensory Supports 

Consider sensory preferences and sensitivities when creating a structured environment. Provide options for sensory regulation, such as noise-cancelling headphones, fidget tools, or a designated quiet space for relaxation. 

Regularly Review and Adjust the Environment 

As your needs and preferences evolve, regularly review and make adjustments to the structured environment. Assess what is working well and what may need modification. Flexibility and ongoing evaluation are key to maintaining an environment that effectively supports you.


Tailor these suggestions to your specific preferences, needs, and sensory sensitivities. Experiment with different strategies, be patient with yourself, and find what works best for you in creating a structured and supportive environment after an autism diagnosis.




Receiving an autism diagnosis is a significant turning point in one’s life. It is a journey that encompasses various emotions and challenges. However, by taking the time to accept the diagnosis, seeking help and support, and creating a structured environment, individuals on the autism spectrum can embark on a path of self-discovery, growth, and empowerment. Acceptance allows for embracing one’s unique neurodiversity, while seeking support provides invaluable guidance, understanding, and connection. Establishing a structured environment fosters stability, reduces anxiety, and promotes overall well-being. By combining these essential steps, individuals can navigate the post-diagnosis journey with resilience, confidence, and the knowledge that they are not alone. With the right support and self-care, a fulfilling and meaningful life is within reach for individuals on the autism spectrum.