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Just received an 
autism diagnosis

about autism

If you've recently received the news that your child is autistic, know that you are not alone. The journey ahead may feel daunting, and that's completely valid. The Shine Centre is here to offer support, and share insights to help you navigate this new chapter in your family's life.

1. Acknowledge Your Emotions: The initial assessment and identification can bring a whirlwind of emotions – from confusion and sadness to fear and oftentimes, relief. It's important to recognise that every emotion you're experiencing is valid. This is a significant moment, and your feelings are an integral part of processing the information. Give yourself the time and space to feel and express these emotions.

2. Embrace Neurodiversity: Autism should not be a limitation; it's a unique way of experiencing the world. Embrace the concept of neurodiversity, recognising that each individual, including your child, has their own strengths, talents, and perspectives. Celebrate the uniqueness that autism brings to your family and the world.

3. Connect with Supportive Communities: Building a support network is crucial during this time. Reach out to local or online communities of parents who have walked a similar path. Sharing experiences and insights can be immensely comforting, and you'll find valuable advice and encouragement from those who have faced similar challenges.

4. Focus on Strengths and Potential: Shift your perspective from what your child may struggle with to what they excel at. Recognise and nurture their unique strengths and interests. Autistic individuals often possess incredible abilities that can be developed and celebrated.

5. Seek Professional Guidance: Connecting with healthcare professionals, therapists, and educators who specialize in autism can provide valuable insights and guidance. They can help you understand your child's needs and develop strategies to support their growth and development.

6. Prioritise Self-Care: Taking care of yourself is essential during this journey. Acknowledge that your well-being directly impacts your ability to support your child. Find moments to rest, recharge, and engage in activities that bring you joy.

As you embark on this journey, remember that your love and acceptance are the cornerstones of your child's development. While the road may be challenging at times, it's also filled with moments of joy, discovery, and connection. Embrace the uniqueness of yourchild, find strength in the support around you, and know that you are part of a community that understands and celebrates neurodiversity.

Accessing public services

Children experiencing mild or moderate difficulties may be referred to one or more health professionals in their local primary care services. Children experiencing a range of significant difficulties may be referred to a children’s disability network team (CDNT). This is a team of professionals with expertise in disability who work closely together.


A referral can be made by a healthcare professional (GP or PHN). Or you can make the referral yourself.
To do this:
1. Complete the Children’s Services Referral Form (PDF, 149 KB, 11 pages)
2. Complete an Additional Information Form for your child
The Additional Information Form lets you describe your child and what your concerns are. It will help to refer them to the right service for them.
Complete the Additional Information Form for children aged:
- 0 to 12 months (PDF, 130 KB, 7 pages)
- 1 to 3 years old (PDF, 204 KB, 10 pages)
- 3 to 6 years old (PDF, 221 KB, 12 pages)
- 6 to 12 years old (PDF, 183 KB, 10 pages)
- 12 to 18 years old (PDF, 166 KB, 9 pages)
Find the Children's Disability Network Team for your area and where to send the referral

Our Family Support Team here at Shine will be happy to assist you or provide additional information if required.

You can contact our Support Team on 021 4377052 or email:


Brightening the future for autistic children & their families

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