first steps guide

Welcome to our First Steps Toolkit

Welcome to our First Steps toolkit - a resource designed to help parents and carers of autistic children to navigate their journey in the early years. These days there is a staggering amount of information about autism available online, in books or through word of mouth. Much is reliable, some less so - but the sheer volume of information can feel overwhelming, difficult to sift through and hard to verify. This is why Autism Edmonton has created this toolkit - to provide practical and straightforward information in one place that will guide families with young children through their autism journey.

Although every effort has been made to describe this journey accurately, we know that, at times, your own 'journey' may be very different. This toolkit should therefore be considered a 'guide book' rather than a timetable - one that has been designed to be helpful and relevant for your travels, whatever stage you are at. We use the word 'parent' throughout the toolkit but we understand that the range of people caring for a young child is much broader than that. By 'parent' we mean any primary carer of a young child, including adoptive or foster parents.

The sooner you understand your child's needs, the sooner they will have the support they need. Early identification of your child's needs and early intervention (therapies and support strategies) can provide:

  • a better understanding of your child and how best to help them
  • access to the correct services and supportive educational settings
  • knowledge of the skills needed to enhance your child's education, friendships and quality of life
  • a chance to prepare yourself emotionally and mentally for the future
  • the opportunity to take advantage of early brain development, maximising the potential impact of interventions
  • an opportunity to get the support your child needs to help them learn and develop to be ready for school and adult life.