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Next Steps

What should I do if I'm concerned about my child's development?
See a pediatrician immediately. Tell the pediatrician that your child isn’t reaching all of the typical milestones or isn’t behaving as expected for his or her age. If your pediatrician thinks your child has a developmental disorder, he or she will refer you to a pediatric neurologist, developmental pediatrician or a similar specialist who will test for any genetic or neurological oddities, seizure activities, or brain abnormalities that may be contributing to your child’s delays. Depending on the findings of those tests, your child may be diagnosed with a developmental disorder such as an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).

If your child’s regular doctor does not refer you to a specialist but you feel that your child does indeed have a developmental delay, be persistent about requesting a referral. You won’t be able to receive the right services – or possibly any services at all – without a proper diagnosis.

My child has been diagnosed with a developmental disorder. Now what?
Upon learning of their child’s diagnosis, it’s normal for parents and guardians to feel a variety of emotions, which may range from feelings of sadness, disbelief and shock to relief, confusion and chaos. The journey ahead will be a bumpy one – and at times discouraging – but there are services available to help you and your child, and progress can be made.

The most important step is to act right away. Early intervention is the best measure to set your child up for future success, and you’ll want to find an intervention program as soon as possible. Depending on your child’s needs, an intensive therapy treatment featuring Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), the therapy proven most effective to work, as well as speech and occupational therapy, should be implemented. Talking with specialists and other parents who have children with similar disorders will also help you find the right support and guidance for your family.

I want to find the right services. How do I get help for my child?
It’s important to find a service provider who can meet all of your child’s unique needs. FACE offers a comprehensive educational program for children with moderate to severe autism, and as a public school, also follows the approved Hillsborough County curriculum. If you’re interested in finding out more about how FACE can help your family or would like to tour the school, call 813.621.FACE (3223).
What are some other online resources where I can learn more about ASD and other disorders?
The Internet is full of great resources to educate you and your family on developmental disabilities that may affect your child. Listed below are some of the local and national resources you may find useful before and after speaking with the FACE director.

Autism Inspiration
Autism Research Institute
Autism Society of America
Autism Society of Florida
Autism Society of Greater Orlando
Autism Speaks
Bright Tots
Families for Early Autism Treatment

First Signs
The Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership
Help Us Learn
Interactive Autism Network
Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders
Organization for Autism Research