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Things I wish I'd known when my son was diagnosed with Autism

The Autism Website

Autism Resources

Contributed by Lydia Nelson

 

Here's a list of resources that helped me after my son's diagnosis.  It's most helpful to people living in Florida, or the Pensacola area.

1.          Child Find- a state program that got him in ESE with speech and occupational therapy at his elementary school.   http://www.fdlrs.org/child-find.html

2.          Pediatric Therapy Center- offers speech and occupational therapy.  We have two different therapists that see Micah for each and could not love this place more.  Very professional, and he's made tons of progress.  http://pediatrictherapycenterflorida.com/

3.          ABA Therapy- he just started at BTEC but there are lots of programs out there.  Just be diligent in selection as some do use interns and some require Master's Degrees.  Be selective.  I want my son to have the best therapy offered, so I had to do this step a few times to find the right spot for him.  (He does 3 hours a session, so I wanted to make sure it was beneficial to him).  https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment/applied-behavior-analysis-aba

4.          Autism Pensacola- local office in Pensacola that has resources galore!  Awesome sweet, staff and also they do an Autism Summer Camp.  It is expensive but the support here is amazing so they are able to offer financial aid.  http://autismpensacola.org/

5.          Captains for Kids- a once-a-year event put on that is FREE to families with children with special needs/ disabilities.  Our kids loved it- we did a pirate cruise and dolphin sail trip, all free and all 4 of us got to go as a family last year.  It was one of our most precious memories.  http://spotate.wixsite.com/captains-for-kids

6.          Autism Surf- a free surfing group that usually meets in Navarre that teaches surfing for free.  They provide teachers and boards.  It was started by the owner, who has a son that is autistic.  https://www.facebook.com/AutismSurfs

7.          Look into SSI (Supplemental Social Security Income).  You may qualify for benefits based on severity and income.  Same goes for EBT (food stamps).  https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10026.pdf

8.          APD- Agency for Persons with Disabilities.  Florida state run program that will help your child in the future.  There is an extensive waiting list so get signed up as soon as possible.  It required me to fill out an application and then to meet with one of their workers to do an interview.  I am waiting for a psychological/doctor screening from their doctor to assess my son’s severity and then if we get approved and on waiting list, it will give some peace of mind into his adult life.  There seems to be little support for when an autistic child is grown.  Where do they go?  What do they do?  This will help prepare you for those questions!  http://apd.myflorida.com/