Finding Help for My Autistic Children

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My 5yo has been diagnosed with severe ADHD, Autism, ODD. He is on medications and has been doing so well until about the last three months. He has always had more problems with ADHD but now it seems like Autism is taking control of him! My 3yo is very delayed and does not speak due to 18q syndrome & Autism. We are all of a sudden having major problems with both of them. I’m wondering what we need to be looking for or many what to expect next.. Thanks

A: You have children who have big challenges and who can be very challenging. I hope you’ve had some help from an Early Intervention (EI) Program. In Florida, this is run by the state’s Early Steps program. Early Steps is administered by Children’s Medical Services (CMS) of the state’s Department of Health. Early Intervention programs both diagnose children under age 3 who have special needs and provide guidance about how to get further services. The phone number is (800) 654-4440.

Children over the age of 3 in Florida who need significant modifications in their educational programs may be eligible for special education services through their school district. About.com has a page that describes how to obtain these services. Check out this site.

In addition, ask your pediatrician if there is a local support group for parents of children with autism. Other parents are often our best resource to find out what services are available. Just as important, they completely understand what it is like to love a child who has special needs.

I don’t know what it is that is making your children act up these days. I do have a guess that they react to each other and also to your stress. Often things get going in families where people start to react to each other’s reactions. So it’s very important that you parents do everything you can to de-stress and take care of each other – even while caring for the kids. That’s another good reason to get to know other parents who can commiserate and offer practical advice.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 May 2013

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). Finding Help for My Autistic Children. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/05/21/finding-help-for-my-autistic-children/