“Where can I take my child to be evaluated for autism?”
“Who do I call to get Early Intervention services for my child?”
“Where can I find a support group in my area?”
“Where do I find support services for my adult child with autism?”
These are just a few of the numerous questions that families of individuals affected by autism regularly seek answers to. In response to this urgent need, the newly-formed Autism Speaks Family Services Committee is developing an online nationwide comprehensive resource database, providing individuals and families with local resources that service a variety of needs from early intervention through adult care. This inclusive database will provide users with information such as health care facilities, educational services, legal entitlements, recreational and community activities, and adult support services. According to Brian Kelly, chair of the Family Services Committe, "Our resource database is an ongoing initiative to provide current resources for individuals and families affected by autism. It's crucial that these resources are inclusive of all age ranges; from the initial diagnosis through adulthood, so that we can continually support the needs of individuals and families affected by this disorder."
Other committee initiatives in progress include:
- The creation of a “100 Day Kit”, which will serve as a “roadmap” for parents of newly diagnosed children.
- An online reference library
- Tool kits for professionals such as doctors, law enforcement officers, and teachers. Each tool kit will provide specific information to enhance the interaction between individuals affected by autism and the professionals working with them.
The committee, formed in June 2006, focuses on empowering families and individuals to make informed decisions that maximize the quality of life and development potential of those affected by autism. It will also promote research funding that yields evidence for the best practices in the treatment of autism and associated disorders, and serve as a catalyst and advocate for the implementation of best practices in autism treatment, education, and services from early intervention through adult care.
For more information about the Family Services Committe, please click here.