1. You have concerns….

  • document, document, document. Write notes, take videos, ask questions and google.  No one will ever blame a parent or caregiver about caring “too much”.  If your concerns have no foundation you will be blessed!  If your worries have merit than at least you were alert and picked up on the problem early.  Early and intensive intervention is the ONLY THING that is proven scientifically to be affective in the treatment of autism. Almost every other intervention has it’s  merits but Early Intervention is PROVEN to be effective.
  • Speak to your pediatrician, developmental pediatrician, child psychologist, school counselor – talk to anyone willing to listen.  click here for directions to finding a diagnosis>>>>
  • Be prepared, this is not a speedy process.  It may take up to a year or more to get an appointment with a group that offers the full evaluation and diagnosis.

2. You are waiting for a diagnosis or decision..

  • While you are waiting for that appointment continue to google.  There are limitless entries on the internet related to autism and this is the time for you to start putting your concerns in order and try to find a common link.  Research as much as you can.
  • Take notes, videos, photos…. document as much as you can.  When you want to explain to the developmental pediatrician that your child has “meltdowns” it is so much more effective if you can bring a short video of what your are defining to be a meltdown.  Perhaps your child is really having a seizure or the professional will recognize a sensory problem that you are not aware of.  Take videos of those behaviors that concern you the most and bring them to your appointment.
  • Keep a diary and note things that other people have said.  Perhaps the lady that is in charge of the Sunday school nursery says “your son had trouble  – he really should be talking by now”.   Or maybe the next door neighbor says “your daughter reminds me of an autistic kid at my son’s school”.  These comments may seem benign or you may go the other way and take offense….look at it this way, it’s another clue on your hunt to find the answers.  Keep all of your clues in a spot that will begin to take on a bigger picture of your child’s development.  That picture may become your family portrait someday so take care and plan ahead!

3. Things you can do….

  • If your child is BIRTH TO 3 YEARS OF AGE you should contact to the local Public Health Department.

The New York State Early Intervention Program (EIP) is part of the national Early Intervention Program for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. First created by Congress in 1986 under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the EIP is administered by the New York State Department of Health through the Bureau of Early Intervention. In New York State, the Early Intervention Program is established in Article 25 of the Public Health Law and has been in effect since July 1, 1993.

To be eligible for services, children must be under 3 years of age and have a confirmed disability or established developmental delay, as defined by the State, in one or more of the following areas of development: physical, cognitive, communication, social-emotional, and/or adaptive.  Go to NYSTATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EARLY INTERVENTION PAGE>>>

Your child does not need to have a diagnosis to receive services, a representative will speak with you and ask questions related to your child’s development.  Based on their criteria your child may start to receive services such as: special education teacher, occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech therapy, nursing, vision therapy, nutritional therapy and more.    These are interventions that you can implement prior to the diagnosis so that valuable time is not lost in your child’s development.

If you are not in agreement with the Early Intervention representative or the decisions made, you have a right to Due Process.  Click here for more information>>>>>

  • If your child is 3 YEARS TO 5 YEARS OF AGE it is time to start thinking about preschool education. Locally there has been a shift of direction in the administration of special education preschool.  Your Early Intervention provider will help you navigate the changes that are currently happening as a response to changes in Albany and budgetary difficulties.  In previous years B.O.C.E.S. provided a large share of preschool education, this will probably no longer be the case and you will find smaller agencies stepping up their services to cover this gap.
  • The following FLOWSHEET may help you determine if your child is eligible for a preschool education and how to go about receiving these services.
  • If you do not agree with either the eligibility determination made for your child or for the level of services they are to receive you have the right to DUE PROCESS.  CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.