Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
Parents take their children to a variety of specialists for all sorts of therapies the child on the Autism Spectrum needs. Then there are sporting activities, support groups, extracurricular events and everyday tasks that need adhering to.
Wouldn't it be nice if you could take your child to a one-stop facility where they could get their hair cut by someone familiar with autism, where the noise level would be appropriate, with lighting not too bright, chairs at the right level and the opportunity to get out of the chair for a break during the actual cutting.
This autism supercenter would be like the Walmart of autism facilities focusing on all aspects of the disorder while also taking care of the parent to get some rest while the child is being engaged in a therapy or activity.
For single parents this would be a dream come true, having a place where the parent can relax while the child is learning a new task, viewing through a two-way mirror and observing children.
I have both kids therapies scheduled at the same place around the same time, but I cannot be in both places at the same time and would like to take a break but am busy taking part in the feeding therapy for Matthew. I never have the opportunity to go look at how Nicholas is doing in his social skills group or talk with the other parents waiting for the session to end.
Some parents have the luxury of spending time alone during these moments or assisting siblings with their homework and giving them some quality time. I would like to see organizations have opportunities for children that parents of all means can afford.
The one clinic has summer and winter camps, but the cost is several hundred dollars per week. These camps also have the option of the child with the disability of bringing along a peer who does not have a disability at half the cost. This has disturbed me to the point where even if I had funding I would not participate for the principle reason that children of all abilities should have the same rate for the same service.
Years ago my kids had a three month session of music therapy funded through the Regional Center here in California. The Regional Center implemented a new program where the families had to include non disabled peers in the sessions, so I did not request to continue with the music therapy.
I am interested in learning more about karate for Nicholas since I think it could benefit him as he gets older and heads into Middle School. With Matthew in tow it would be impossible to participate in something like this without embarassing Nicholas.
Nicholas likes soccer, but needs assistance in meeting other kids and getting involved in activities. I cannot devote time to this without having Matthew around as well. I have thought about Special Olympics for Matthew, which would leave Nicholas out in the cold while we explore this option for Matthew.
There are many support groups and non-profit organizations devoted to autism in the Los Angeles area. They all meet at night without child care options. This is not possible for me as I cannot find a reputable respite care worker. This means someone who actually has knowledge and experience with autism. The agencies give me people they just hired off the street who cannot speak English. What good is that to me and my family? They in turn tell the Regional Center that I am picky. By all means let these people work in your offices and learn about disabilities before sending them to a household where the children would have to fend for themselves with strangers observing.
There are plenty of parents that are home during the day who cannot work outside the household because of the child who may have an emergency and need to leave school, have therapy appointments in the afternoon and three week school breaks. All the parents are busy going here and there with no outlet to meet other parents who are in the same circumstances.
Families need to meet with other parents who are seeking feedback on medication issues, dietary changes to implement and share stories of their children - both good and bad. Someday a supercenter devoted to children on the Autism Spectrum should be implemented in major cities across the country. These would have Dietitians, Chiropractors, Respite Workers, Therapists, Doctors, Nurse Practitioners, Interventionists, Facilitators and many more professionals.
This supercenter could be a network of services where the families pay a monthly charge to render the services. This would make it accessible to all income levels with everyone being a member and upgrading the membership for more services.
The facilities could also have book stores with the special magazines so parents can check out a single issue without having to spend fifty dollars for four issues per year. Special dietary food would be available in one space where families could buy gluten and casein free food, mixes and prepared foods. A bakery would be ideal. The families would not have to rush from appointment to session and then check homework. All this would be available with computers for parents and children to utilize while obtaining services for the whole family.
Autism affects everyone in the family unit, so having a place where everything can be handled in a relaxed atmosphere with meeting other families to share ideas, tips and hints is a perfect solution.
Together we can make autism supercenters a reality with services available for all types of families across the country and in other parts of the world.
An Impression of autism from a kid on the spectrum
Educational Autism Tips for Families 71 page resourceful ebook for families entering the school system with a recent autism diagnosis. Find out what issues take place over the course of a school day and meet these challenges head on.
Rules for a Respite Worker