Therapist / Autism

Updated on June 23, 2010
A.M. asks from Black Diamond, WA
12 answers

I'm a stay home mom with two beautiful boys one is 3 and the other one is 9 mo, well my question is for my oldest one ...
back in February we took him to the neurologist because we were concern about his behavior and after a few test the doctor mention that he score 80% for autistic , she give us some paper for the school district and private therapist anyway he got accept it in the school and the private for speech and occupational , twice a week for 45 min each, question is this he is not diagnostic yet with autism but I was talking with my friend that lives in Canada that she also has a boy with autistm and she mention that back there her boy get 6 hrs of therapist a day after he got diagnostic and it help him a lot in fact I was talking on the phone with him two way conversation and he wants able to to before ....
anyways is there anything that I should do to help my boy ?!!! or is all that we can get?
we have total cover in insurance !! or what should i do?
school is over and I would like to help my boy as much as I can , but is kind of difficult when I don't have the experience ...
he doesn't talk and his behavior is not the best
I love him to death and is painful not been able to help him when he gets frustrated
t ks for your help
I live in seattle by the way

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answers from Portland on

If it were my son, I'd go to Dr. Chapman in Sellwood. ###-###-#### very, very worth it, she's an expert in treating autism without drugs. good luck!

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answers from Houston on

Hi A.-

I believe you said you were seeing a private speech and PT therapists you could ask them for recommendations in your area or ask them if they will do a more intense therapy with your son. Sometimes therapists just go with the maximum that insurance will pay for in a year (for example my son with Asperger's is limited to 30 visits per year to each type of therapist, speech, OT and PT). If you are able to pay out of pocket they may be able to provide some additional help. Also, there may be an ABA therapist in your area that could help. You could also find a play therapist or a child psychologist that specializes in autism to help.

You could also try to find a DAN doctor in your area and start with them. They will provide some additional resources and suggestions for dietary changes and other therapies.

Good luck,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

If you child is in preschool, look into ESY (extended school year). It is for children that have needs in the summer, once school is out. It is NOT the same as summer school. It is free if your child qualifies. This year, my daughter will be getting speech therapy and occupational therapy through ESY.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

The school district won't provide the kind of therapy you're talking about. In California, we have something called Regional Centers. Once the child is accepted into Regional Center, they'll fund therapy called ABA, where the therapist comes to the house to work with the child. ABA can be quite effective. You should definitely look into what you state does and pursue this therapy. It's totally free, if your child is accepted into the Regional Center.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I am someone who has been doing ABA (applied behavioral analysis) with autistic kids for 10 years. Autistic kids need a lot of individual help and need things broken down into very small parts, in order for them to understand. They are not able to integrate or blend different bits if information the way most kids can.
I don't know what resources there are in your area. Sometimes there are schools/clinics that provide this, and sometimes there are individuals who contract to do this.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

The very first thing to remember is that you should own the evaluation that contains his diagnosis. You need a full, multi factored evaluation from a Developmental Pediatrician, you can find them at children's hospitials. This will take many months, and they will call in speech, OT, neurlogy, geneticists, ENT, audiolgy, PT and any other specialist he needs to get the full picture of what the diagnosis is and what the treatment plan should be. No public agency will ever do this, it is your responsiblity. You should NEVER know less about your sons condition or needs than the public agencies that serve him, and you should not rely on them to be his full care. Provide as many private services and therapies as you can afford, and suppliment with the pubic serives and let the public school educate him, but be the driving force and coordinator of his treament plan to be sure that he gets all that he needs.

Public services are great, but they are bottom line only responsilbe for seeing that your son is "functional" and I would be willing to bet that you are not setting out to get "function" for your son, you want him to reach his full potential. No public agency is required to do anything close to that!

Call the nearest childrens hospital and make the appointment with a developmental pediatrican, and then call a near by speech therapist and OT and make appointments for evaluation and therapy while you wait for the full diagnostic evaluation. You do not need a diagnosis to treat the issues that you see in these areas.

If your son will regress over the summer, or if he had emergent skills at the end of the year, he is entiled to extended school year services (ESY.) You may benefit from having an advocate go with you to your IEP meetings. Go to and go to the yellow pages on that site for your state and find an educational advocate who can help you get ESY and therapy during the summer. If a nonverbal 3 year old in a full time educational program was not offered these services, my suspsicion is that he is also not getting all that he needs in his educational plan and I would find someone to help you with it.

When the school put him in the program, they had to do an evaluation called an MFE, what did it say?


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Hi A., I hear your concern for your son.

Some great insight here. It is so interesting to hear how each state may have different programs and oversight agencies. As Cheryl noted, the county Regional Centers here in California do some wonderful evaluations. A school IEP could incorporate a number of services as well. Yet sometimes, due to a lack of funding, resources or even knowledge of needed resources, we do indeed have to be our own advocates. I would also contact the County and see what services may be available, including support for parents. Good luck! S. A. K., MFT!/pages/Chino-CA/S.-A-K...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Yakima on

Have you contacted Children's Hospital? I know they have specialist that work with Autistic children there. He should qualify for the school districts special needs preschool in the fall. Check if they are offering anything during the summer. Their are resources out there for you. Do you have a Peagusus Project in your area ? Find out if you do and sign up.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

Hi -
First I want to commend you about reaching out to learn as much as you can and getting early intervention for your child. Research shows that early intervention significantly helps children with ASD. Different programs have different philosophies (e.g. some say 10 hours a week, some say 40 hours a week some say 6 hours).

As far as therapy, it will depend on the state you live in and the facility you are at. Private therapy services can vary depending on the child. Some are weekly, 2x a week or 3x a week. You mention he was accepted to a school and receives private OT/speech. are the speech and OT services in addition to the services you are receiving at school? Is the school also providing OT, speech and other services your child needs (outside private therapies)? Does the school have a specialized program (eg ABA or TEACCH?)

You can look into alternative therapies – the research varies depending on the approach. There is A LOT of information, misinformation, treatments that do not help (and are a waste of money) and others that have limited research and have helped. It can all be very overwhelming and VERY expensive. If you find a good DAN doctor it maybe helpful to navigate is all. I would encourage you to interview the doctor carefully. I have had some parents report displeasure that some of the DAN doctors are very cookie cutter and follow the same protocol for every child – I would discourage going to a doctor like this. Every child is different and needs to be treated as an individual. If a treatment does not work within an allotted period of time the doctor should move on.

Unfortunately we are just scratching the surface of autism and we have a long way to go. I would encourage you to learn as much as you can about ASD, how to help with behaviors, if you child has sensory processing issues learning how to help/understand sensory processing, and of course how to most effectively communicate with your child (there is a VERY high correlation with poor communication and poor behaviors – thus many children who have a hard tim with communication may have more challenging behaviors) .

1. The Autism Society of America
The Autism Society of America is the nation’s premiere autism resource. It’s a chapter and member-based organization, which means you can join up and get involved at the local level. Start here for a good, unbiased introduction to autism, including information on diagnosis, treatment, and much more



5. - free on-line instructional modules on autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Information about characteristics, assessment, and academic, behavioral, communication, environmental, sensory, and social interventions
6. (compares different treatment methods)
7. - info on DAN doctors.

8. (rapid prompting method – one way to communicate)

Take care and hope that helps. Please feel free to message me with any questions.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Flagstaff on

I can understand ur frustration, I got 2 girls diagnosed with mild autism. I guess it depends on the state or country you live in. This whole autism and how to get help is frustrating you have to really look for the help. I enrolled my girls for SSI (Social Security) and we get a portion for them and that really helps. I use that to get some extra speech therapy for them cause our insurace only pays for so much hours. Plus I went to family services and I got help with respite care services (when someone comes to watch ur child while u rest or do things), that helps out alot for me. I usually spend my respite hours researching on how I can help my daughters. I don't really have experience with developmentally delayed children but its a learning process for me too. There's times I cry (not in front of them) and wonder why this happen to my beautiful babies. Autistic kids, well my girls function alot better with a repetitive schedule. One of them can't stand to sit still at the dinner table so I have to buckle her to the chair thats how she eats all her food. Everything is a struggle and a challenge for me and my husband. Every child is different and there's certain things that work for them. My oldest daughter came along ways with her jibberjabber language. She's going to be a 2nd grader and she does do to well with reading but math is her favorite subject. They're smart and unique in their own way. Your the role model the more you make learning fun the better they'll get good at it. Daycare is expensive for me for the summer so I had to put school on hold for the summer to be with them. I got 2 little boys too so I have to make up a schedule for that week. I don't know if I'm giving you any advice or answers but how this all started for me was WIC, I asked them and it went from there. I did everything from, gluten free diets (which helped a little) to Therapy. But look on different websites and your doctor can help you in the right direction. Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My son is 3, diagnosed with autism, and nonverbal. I will say that everyone receives different services and the different amounts of services. Your child does not need a diagnosis to receive services through WA state. The type and amount of services given are based solely upon the needs of the child. My child went through birth to three then upon turning 3 everything is done through the local school district. My son does get both speech and OT in school and he is going to extended school year starting Monday for a month. I would recommend you get a hold of your home school and go from there. If you must have a diagnosis(for whatever reason)seeing a developmental pediatrician might be a good place to go. If you would like to find other ways to communicate PECS are a great resource. It's a picture exchange set up that I actually use in home with my own son. Take some time to know that some of the time there is not a whole we can do however you can always enjoy each day with your child.



answers from Portland on

We live in Portland, OR. My grandson, after being evaluated by the school district was in a summer program paid for by the school district. He was in a therapeutic preschool one summer, too. Perhaps you're not getting help thru the school district because you use a private speech therapist? You can do both.

The office that administers the Early Intervention Program is open year around. My grandson received services in the summer tho it doesn't appear that he will be receiving any this summer thru the school district. It's time for me to be more proactive as a grandmother.

I suggest that you call the school district office that did the evaluation. Their funds are limited and they won't be able to provide as much therapy as he needs but every little bit helps. My grandson had behavioral issues as well as speech issues. The school district provided for both. He was assigned a case manager. I'm not sure of her exact title. He also had a social worker who came to my daughter's home and worked with him, showing her how to parent in a more successful way.

The Early Intervention program in our county doesn't seem to diagnose autism in the preschool years. Once my grandson entered kindergarten they began to say he has some autistic symptoms but I don't think that they're addressing those until after he's evaluated by a developmental pediatrician.

Three is the cut off age for some government paid programs but there are others for which a child is still eligible.

Have you asked your insurance if they will pay for speech therapy more often that twice a week? I've found that often one has to insist on services especially when they are not the routine sort of services.

My grandson, now 7, finally has an appointment with a developmental pediatrician, covered by insurance. We didn't know about this possibility until this year even tho he's been covered for this service prior to this year. I think that the parent has to be "out there".asking again and again about what is available.

Keep asking questions of everybody you can think of. Treatment still isn't "mainstream" and information is confusing. Even tho you don't live in the area, you could call people recommended by other posters and get info from them about similar people in your own area. You have received really good information so far. I especially found Martha's info helpful. I've read other posts from her on this subject and found them all to the point and accurate from my experience.

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