The First Year: Autism Spectrum Disorders: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed Child


When parents learn that their child has autism, the news can be devastating, even paralyzing. Meanwhile, the first 12 months after diagnosis are the most important when it comes to intervention.

As a parent of a child with autism, Nancy D. Wiseman knows firsthand how difficult it can be to unravel complex issues, discover what questions to ask, and find effective treatments. In this landmark guide, Wiseman offers both compassionate insight and ...

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The First Year: Autism Spectrum Disorders: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed Child

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When parents learn that their child has autism, the news can be devastating, even paralyzing. Meanwhile, the first 12 months after diagnosis are the most important when it comes to intervention.

As a parent of a child with autism, Nancy D. Wiseman knows firsthand how difficult it can be to unravel complex issues, discover what questions to ask, and find effective treatments. In this landmark guide, Wiseman offers both compassionate insight and a wealth of information for diagnoses from Asperger’s to classic autism.

Day by day, week by week, month by month, The First Year®: Autism Spectrum Disorders walks parents through a wide range of medical and lifestyle concerns, helps them navigate the healthcare, insurance, and educational systems, and ensures the best possible outcome for their child.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Ira Glovinsky, PhD Psychologist, Interdisciplinary Center for the Family; Co-author of Bipolar Patterns in Children (2002) and Mood Swings in Babies and Children (2007)
“Nancy Wiseman has provided us with a classic and a treasure. Her book belongs in the hands of every parent who is going through the journey of parenting a child with an autism spectrum disorder and every professional who works with families with children on the autism spectrum. She does a remarkable job of presenting the sequence of steps that evolves into a comprehensive treatment plan. No one whom I have read has provided such a comprehensive guide. This is a major contribution to the field and will be invaluable to all families and professionals.”

Karen Levine, Ph.D., Psychologist and Developmental Specialist, Helping Children with Challenges, Harvard Medical School Teaching Faculty
“Nancy Wiseman’s The First Year: Autism Spectrum Disorders is like a very wise and caring best friend who has “been there,” in the form of a book. Wiseman sustains a calm, reasoned, and logical step by step tone, tackling all angles of what parents need to know and do. While comprehensive, this book is informative without being overwhelming. In a time where there are more questions than answers about autism, and parents of newly diagnosed children are often presented with insistent “Do’s and Don’ts” from well meaning professionals and friends, this book serves as an anchor and island of sanity.”

Ricki Robinson, MD, MPH, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine of USC; Co-Director, Descanso Medical Center for Development and Learning
“Nancy Wiseman's book provides straightforward yet compassionate information for parents and families affected by autism. She clearly outlines what to expect and how to organize the journey to maximize a family’s effort to help their child be all that he can be. This book should quickly become a classic. She has done a superb job of mapping out the first year in a family’s life once a child has been diagnosed with an ASD—which can be overwhelming and frightening. Every parent with a newly diagnosed child with ASD should have this book on their shelf.”

Barry M. Prizant, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Director, Childhood Communication Services and Adjunct Professor, Center for the Study of Human Development at Brown University
“OVERWHELMED. This is the first experience of most parents when they receive a diagnosis of ASD for their child. Where to go, what to do? Nancy Wiseman has provided clear direction for parents in this essential resource that will be of great value for parents and professionals.”

James Swanton, Harlem Hosp. Lib., New York (Library Journal Xpress Review, 3/27/2009, Starred Review
Verdict: A comprehensive guide for parents coping with their child’s recent autism spectrum diagnosis. Strongly recommended for consumer health collections.
Background: Wiseman’s excellent hands-on overview of the first-year following a child’s diagnosis is based on her experience as president of First Signs, Inc., a national organization she founded to educate parents and professionals about the early signs of autism syndromes. Like Bryan Jepson in Changing the Course of Autism, Wiseman tries to stretch the understanding of autism from purely neurological/behavioral impairments to encompass "the entire body, including the brain, gut, and immune and metabolic systems." The book lays out day-by day, month-by-month guidelines for emotional acceptance and handling the details of home care, special education, insurance and medical costs, and negotiating with medical agencies and social bureaucracies., 10/13
“I highly recommend this book to the parent who has already dealt with the initial autism diagnosis, found an acceptable setting for their child, and is ready to dig deeper.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781600940651
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 3/23/2009
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 914,690
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 3.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy D. Wiseman is the founder and president of First Signs, Inc. Her 12-year-old daughter, Sarah, was diagnosed with autism at age two. They live in Merrimac, Massachusetts.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Kenneth Bock, MD, FAAP, FACN, CNS xiii

Introduction xvii

Day 1

Learning: What Are Autism Spectrum Disorders? 1

Living: Affirming the Diagnosis 15

Day 2

Learning: Are You Doubting the Diagnosis or Denying It? 19

Living: Getting a Quick Start and a Second Opinion 24

Day 3

Learning: The Top Ten Most Essential Actions 33

Living: Living with Autism, an Olympic Challenge 37

Day 4

Learning: Is Recovery Possible? 40

Living: Understanding, Accepting, and Embracing the Diagnosis 47

Day 5

Learning: Getting Organized, Informed, and Connected 50

Living: Managing the Business of Recovery 57

Day 6

Learning: Navigating Long Waiting Lists 62

Living: Begin to Assemble Your "A" Team 64

Day 7

Learning: Defining Your Role and Your Family's Role 79

Living: The Journey Ahead 84

First-Week Milestone 87

Week 2

Learning: Diagnosis Is Not Enough 89

Living: Understanding Your Child's Individual Profile 94

Week 3

Learning: Autism's Underlying Biomedical Factors 101

Living: Finding the Right Biomedical Specialist 105

Week 4

Learning: Early Intervention 110

Living: How to Access Early Intervention Services 115

First-Month Milestone 121

Month 2

Learning: Know Your Rights; Know Your Insurance 123

Living: The Financials: Planning Ahead 144

Month 3

Learning: Taking a Balanced, Integrated Approach to Intervention 154

Living: Getting to Know the Treatments Available 160

Month 4

Learning: Making Observations and Understanding What They Mean 188

Living: An Example of Integrated Therapy 193

Month 5

Learning: UnderstandingYour Child's Educational Needs 203

Living: Finding the Appropriate School Program 210

Month 6

Learning: Preparing for the Educational Planning Process: Getting Your Ducks in a Row 214

Living: Navigating the Public School System 217

Half-Year Milestone 231

Month 7

Learning: When You're Not Getting What You Need from Your School District 233

Living: Learning How to Advocate for Your Child 239

Month 8

Learning: Identifying Coexisting Conditions 254

Living: More about Peeling Away the Layers 258

Month 9

Learning: Feeling Isolated, Staying Positive 265

Living: Finding Resources and Building Your Support System 270

Month 10

Learning: Refining Your Child's Treatments 276

Living: Assessing Your Professional Team and Using It Wisely 282

Month 11

Learning: Defining and Measuring Success: Assessing Your Mission and Goals 286

Living: More about Goals: Is There a Difference Between Your Stated Goals and Your "Real" Goals? 290

Month 12

Learning: Finding Balance, Knowing You Have Made a Difference 292

Living: Feeling Empowered, Finding Joy and Humor in Your Life 296

Appendix 1 The Early Indicators of Autism 303

Appendix 2 A Strawman Treatment Development Process 309

Glossary 313

Notes 321

Acknowledgments 331

Index 335

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