- Katie Hatmaker
It’s Time to Build a Team!
Your child was just diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Now what? The process of having your child assessed for a possible diagnosis can be stressful, validating, upsetting, and empowering; however, the next steps and what to do from there can be equally overwhelming. There are various organizations, state programs, federal programs, laws, websites, and providers to assist families. Building a strong support network can help you address financial, mental and emotional challenges that may arise from having a family member diagnosed with ASD, as well as promote advocacy and awareness.
You may find it helpful to utilize a priority checklist such as the one outlined below:
For kids ages 0-3, contact Bright Beginnings / Help Me Grow
For kids ages 3+, contact County Board of Developmental Disabilities
Contact your insurance company to inquire about coverage for therapies (e.g., Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy).
Ask if ABA is covered and, if so, how many hours per week.
Ask if speech/OT/PT is covered and, if so, how many visits per year.
For kids ages 3+, contact the public school district to request a special education evaluation.
Contact therapy providers (e.g., ABA therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy) to establish recommended therapies.
Listed below are other organizations and resources to assist you in building a solid foundation as you create your team:
Ages 3-22 - Ohio Autism Scholarship
Kindergarten - Age 22 - Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship
Remember, this is a process. Give yourself grace and compassion. You will call providers, leave voicemails, fill out paperwork, schedule appointments, and be on what feels like a never-ending waitlist. You are doing amazing. You know your child best and are your child’s own best advocate. Reach out to your village and your team. You got this.
Katie Hatmaker - Mom of two amazing young children. Registered Behavior Technician. Research Coordinator. Psychometrist. Autism Advocate.