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New Autism Diagnosis

I am Newly Diagnosed. Now What?

Our beautiful, neurodiverse community includes the 1 in 36 individuals diagnosed along the autism spectrum. To help families navigate the sometimes lengthy process of initial evaluation, as well as support and advocacy, Cap4Kids has an entire section dedicated to this amazing community.

Get a Developmental Evaluation For Your Child:  




Understand Your Child’s Autism Diagnosis:

Resources & Tools


Get A Service Coordinator through Your Local Board of Developmental Disabilities to Access Autism Scholarships and Other Services:

County Board of Developmental Disabilities



□ Get Educational Supports:

Autism Scholarship

  • Provided by the Ohio Department of Education. If a child has an IEP under the Autism Classification and/or a medical diagnosis of autism, they may qualify for this scholarship, which can be used to help pay for Autism-specific services through a registered private provider, rather than the child’s resident school district. Information on the Autism Scholarship, and locations where the scholarship is accepted, can be found at:


  • Contact your child’s local school district & let them know that you have a child within their district that may meet the criteria for special education services. Ask to schedule an Evaluative Team Report (ETR)/ Multifactor Evaluation (MFE). This will be used in compiling an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
  • CAP4Kids | Columbus City Schools Special Education:

Special Needs Schools

Resources & Tools


Get Autism-Specific Therapies and Coordinate with Your Child’s Healthcare Team:

ABA Therapy

  • Applied-Behavior-Analysis (ABA), or behavior-based intervention is most recommended at this time. It is the type of intervention with the most comprehensive research support in long term improvements in learning/communication, behavior, and social skills. This teaching method breaks down complex skills into smaller pieces and then teaches these pieces using specific prompts and frequent repetition. Then, as the child learns the individual steps, they are taught how to put them together and then generalize them. ABA therapists work with the family to set and work through goals across different domains (e.g., academics, behavior, adaptive, and social).

Traditionally, ABA is implemented at home or at a center under the direction of a behavioral consultant (preferable a qualified licensed psychologist or a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst – BCBA) and delivered by therapists who are trained by this consultant

Speech Therapy

Psychology & Psychiatry

  • Individual at-home or outpatient treatment where a therapist works with the family on specific goals such as reducing problem behavior and increasing specific skills like play skills.


□ Start Using Positive Behavioral Supports at Home

  • Build Communication Skills
    • Use simple words to narrate actions throughout the day: Narrate your child’s play and daily events using simple words and phrases.
    • Give a choice between two: Hold up two options, pause, and wait for your child to communicate which one he wants such as reaching for object, directing eye contact, or directing vocalizations. Respond naturally by providing what he wants.
    • Encourage gesturing and vocalizing for familiar routines to continue: Use gestures, such as waving goodbye, pointing, blowing kisses, to help convey meaning. To encourage more use of vocalizations and facial expressions, try “pausing in a familiar routine.” For example, pause while reading a book together, wait expectantly for your child to communicate through vocalizations or eye contact, and respond naturally by continuing to flip the pages once they communicate.
    • Imitate all forms of communication: Caregivers are encouraged to imitate your young child’s vocalizations, facial expressions, and body movements in a playful and animated way. This helps to teach your child that their communications are meaningful and can encourage positive engagement and learning.
    • Create opportunities for communication: To encourage your child to communicate with you, caregivers may create opportunities such as putting preferred objects in sight and out of reach (to elicit gaining your attention) or controlling access to items/giving small portions (to elicit asking for more).
  • Diversify Play and Object Interactions
    •  One of the primary ways children learn is through interaction with objects and play. Diversifying your child’s play will help build and maintain cognitive skills as well as fine motor skills. We encourage caregivers to use hand-over-hand modeling when teaching new skills or asking him to complete a task (e.g., when you ask him to put the block in the box, you can help him to grab the block with your hand placed over his hand and move it there with him). When your child engages in any new activities, even for a short while, offer positive praise and natural rewards.
    • PEEKABOO- Place a toy or book under a blanket. Then ask, “Where is it?” and encourage him to look for it.
    • STACKING Encourage your child to stack large blocks or cups. Progress to stacking smaller blocks.
    • READING- Regularly read books to your child, pointing to the pictures as you read and engaging him by changing your voice for different characters. Invite your child to participate by encouraging them to laugh or act surprised by the story, touch the pictures, and turn the pages.
    • CONTAINER PLAY- Start with a big container with a large opening (e.g., basket, box, bin) and encourage your child to “put in” and “take out” toys one by one. These toys can include easy to grasp toys such as blocks. Progress by selecting a container with a smaller opening.
    • IMITATION – Encourage your child to imitate your actions. For example, when singing a song, demonstrate clapping and encourage them to clap along with you.
    • PRETEND PLAY – Use everyday objects (e.g., banana, toy) to pretend to talk on the phone. Then, offer the “pretend phone” to your child and encourage them to vocalize to develop pretend play skills. Other pretend play can include feeding a stuffed animal or making a toy airplane “fly.”
    • CAUSE AND EFFECT TOYS: Encourage play with cause and effect toys, such as pop-up toys, simple ball drop toys, oversized piggy banks, etc.
  • RUBI Parent Program: Nationwide children’s provides a therapy based, behavioral parent program designed to reduce disruptive behavior and improve adaptive behavior in children. The class meets virtually and is designed to serve families with children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Find information and get registered here:
  • Milestones | Visual Supports Toolkit:


□ Get Support for You and Your Family


□ Get Ready for Life Transitions


Scholarships/Financial Help



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