I was in the same place just 7 months ago when my daughter was diagnosed with Autism. I don't know about you, but I felt like my world had been turned upside down. I didn't really know what Autism was or what that meant for her future. I just knew that I finally had a name for what was making her withdraw from communicating with us. The best news is there is a lot that can be done especially when Autism is diagnosed early.
My recommendations are to take a few deep breaths, hug your son, and know that there is so much that can be done to help him live a full and happy life. Someone else mentioned First Steps. If he isn't already enrolled with them, contact them as soon as possible. They are wonderful. They are covering all of my daughter's much needed therapy, and he will qualify for them to cover your son's therapy services until he is 3. My daughter gets 10-15 hours of Behavioral therapy a week, 2 hours of Speech therapy, and 1 hour of occupational therapy every other week. My daughter could be the poster child for why early intervention and behavioral therapy work.
When we got her diagnosis in January of this year, she had not only stopped learning words, she had lost most of the ones she had. She didn't respond to her name, and she acted like she couldn't hear much of what went on around her. Now she is very responsive to her name and other sounds, she has learned how to imitate, point, and request. She can say and sign so many words that I've lost count. Much of what she does is still repeating what we say, but she is beginning to request things spontaneously as well. She still has a long way to go, she has to be taught how to learn and other skills that other children develop naturally. Learning those skills now will benefit her for the rest of her life. So the first step is to get him started with therapy as soon as possible.
The next thing I would do is to find local support groups. Some good websites to check out are www.mo-feat.org and www.judevine.org. It can help so much to talk to other parents who have been through what you are going through. Developing a support network will be helpful for many years to come.
There is tons of information out there online and through the library. I know I'm still learning about it and I probably will be for the rest of my life. Just know that as you take it a day at a time things will work out. You will find that you are the one helping someone else through a new diagnosis, and you will find that having an autistic child can be a blessing when they help you slow down and learn to treasure simple things like how cool the pattern in a fence looks, or how symmetrical so many things around us are. Find his strengths and encourage him. Feel free to contact me with any questions or if you want more specific help. Just know that as awareness about autism increases, there continues to be more and more help out there for our children. They still have a bright future ahead.