Financial And Community Supports For Children With Autism
Having a child with autism can be such a difficult thing for parents. You love that child because they are your own flesh and blood, but that child may or may not be able to return that affection or even eye contact. They may shirk and shy at your touch, being tactile defensive. They may have issues you don’t even know where to begin to deal with. It’s hard, but there is a lot of help out there if you know where to turn.
If you have all the right documentation from diagnostic specialists and pediatricians, the first place to go is your local Social Security Administration office. Applying for disability funding only takes an hour of your time, and in most states, Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is applied for at the same time. Within two to six months, you will know if your child has been approved. The amounts vary as much as a $1,000 per child per month, depending on where you live, but the standard monthly allotment is about $2,000-3,000. This includes the amounts of Disability plus SSI from both the state and federal levels, and can be direct deposited into your checking account to help you take care of all the special needs your child has. This, of course is a great comfort, to say the least, as you can hire specially trained people to come in and take care of your child giving you a little more freedom to focus on things that might otherwise be difficult with an autistic child in tow.
Additionally, the sooner you enroll your child in a State Birth to Three Early Intervention service the sooner your child can start getting therapeutic care at home. From there, early learning classes for four and five year olds in local elementary schools can continue what the birth to three therapists have started. There is hope for every child, but only if you start as soon as possible. Regular visits to the pediatrician will help you recognize if your child is behind developmentally and may have autism and be in need of services.
Also, many states have Long Term Care or LTC services, that will continue to care for your autistic child when they reach young adult years and can’t care for themselves. Each situation is different and needs to be evaluated by a specially trained intake worker at the county level to determine if your child qualifies. This type of service also has therapeutic services provided by a separate autism therapy office that sends autism line therapists into your home to work with your child a certain number of hours a week for as long as they need it. Because the parents do not need to be present during these therapy sessions, this is also a good time for a little respite for stressed parents. The downside to this is that most states require that you apply for such services before the child turns eight. It’s a race against the clock, because the application process can take up to a year, so applying as soon as you can means everything.
Lastly, there are support groups out there and in your community for parents undergoing some of the same problems and issues with their children who have autism. No one could expect you to do this alone, and these groups are a great place to safely vent everything you need to. The other parents there understand what you’re going through, and will be of comfort to you. You have to take care of you just as much as your child; remember that.
Next time, we will discuss assistive technology for children with autism.