Autism Q & A: Where can I get help?

By Daniel B. Kessler

If parents once had too little access to information about autism, they now have too much! Everyone on the Internet is an “expert.” Everyone has an opinion! Everyone wants you to do what they do for their child. (Sorry, Jenny McCarthy, but no two children are alike and what may have worked for your child is not automatically right for another, even if it sells books).

In part — and my apologies to all the well-meaning and truly dedicated parents out there — the advice may also be helping them to justify what they have chosen to do for their child. That was their choice. Please make your own. I have provided below my preferred Internet sites for autism information.

Where should you go? Start by seeing your pediatrician (or family doctor) and tell him or her your concerns. If they are your concerns they should automatically register as their concerns. If they do not, if the physician tells you something like, “Let’s wait and see how it goes in six months,” get another doctor. This cannot wait.

At the same time, call the Arizona Early Intervention Program if your child is less than 3 years of age and call your school district if your child is almost or older than 3 years of age. Then find another pediatrician who will work with you and for your child and find out the names of the developmental and behavioral pediatricians in town. The good news is that there are more now than ever. The bad news is that there still aren’t enough.

PREFERRED WEBSITES/LOCAL

Arizona Autism Coalition

Arizona Center for Disability Law

Arizona Early Intervention Program 

Autism Society of America, Greater Phoenix Chapter

Division of Developmental Disabilities

Raising Special Kids

Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center

PREFERRED WEBSITES/NATIONAL

American Academy of Pediatrics Autism Toolkit 

Association for Science in Autism Treatment

Autism Speaks

Autism Society of America 

First Signs

Indiana Resource Center for Autism

National Center for Disease Control and Prevention Autism National Center

Wrightslaw.com

Next: What specialists should my child see?

Daniel B. Kessler, M.D., is a developmental and behavioral pediatrician and medical director of the Children’s Developmental Center at Easter Seals Southwest Human Development. His private practice, where he provides evaluation and treatment for children and adolescents, is located at Southwest Human Development.

The views he expresses in this series are based on his training, his reading of the literature and his more than 30 years of experience taking care of hundreds of kids on the autism spectrum. The series begins here.

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