Can I Put My Autistic Child Into Care

Explore care options for your autistic child, from therapy techniques to possible residential care.

judah schiller
Judah Schiller
June 4, 2024
Published On
June 4, 2024

Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder

When it comes to understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), there are several important factors to consider. ASD is a complex developmental disorder that can impact a person's social interactions, communication, and behaviors. This section will provide an overview of autism and highlight the importance of early intervention in managing the disorder.

Overview of Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurological and developmental disorder that begins early in childhood and lasts throughout a person's life. It affects how a person acts, interacts, communicates, and learns. While there is currently no one standard treatment for ASD, there are many ways to help minimize the symptoms and maximize abilities. People with ASD have the best chance of using all of their abilities and skills if they receive appropriate therapies and interventions.

The most effective therapies and interventions for ASD are often different for each person. However, most individuals with ASD respond best to highly structured and specialized programs. In some cases, treatment can greatly reduce symptoms and help individuals with ASD with daily activities.

Importance of Early Intervention

Research indicates that early diagnosis and interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorder, such as during preschool or before, are more likely to have major positive effects on symptoms and later skills. This is why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends starting to research therapies as soon as you suspect your child has autism, rather than waiting for a formal diagnosis. It can take a lot of time, tests, and follow-ups with specialists to get a formal diagnosis.

Early intervention is crucial for children with ASD, as research shows that early intervention services for children from birth to 3 years old can greatly improve their development and result in better outcomes, including improved communication, social skills, and overall well-being.

Ultimately, understanding the complexity of Autism Spectrum Disorder and the importance of early intervention can provide parents with valuable insights. This knowledge can assist them in making informed decisions about their child's care, whether it's exploring various therapies or considering residential care options for their child.

Therapies and Interventions for Autism

When considering the question, "Can I put my autistic child into care?", it's important to remember that there are many therapies and interventions available that can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These treatments are often most effective when tailored to the individual's specific needs and challenges.

Individualized Treatment Approaches

The most effective therapies and interventions for ASD are often different for each person. This is why individualized treatment approaches are so important. They allow for the creation of a personalized care plan that addresses the unique needs and goals of each individual with ASD.

Several therapeutic approaches have shown promising results in improving the social, emotional, and cognitive skills of individuals with ASD. For instance, play therapy, such as Floortime, can help individuals with ASD think in different ways, enhance their language or communication skills, and expand the ways they play with toys and relate to other people [2].

Other effective individualized treatment approaches include Integrated Play Groups (IPGs) and Joint Attention Symbolic Play Engagement and Regulation (JASPER). IPGs combine children both with and without ASD to foster learning and engagement, while JASPER focuses on improving attention, social engagement, and play skills.

Benefits of Structured Programs

While individualized approaches play a crucial role in the treatment of ASD, so too do structured programs. In fact, most individuals with ASD respond best to highly structured and specialized programs. This is likely due to the predictable nature of these programs, which can help reduce anxiety and improve skill acquisition.

One such structured program is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. ABA therapy uses rewards to reinforce positive behaviors and teach new skills to children with autism. This form of therapy can often lead to significant and lasting gains, particularly when started early.

In essence, whether considering in-home care or external support for a child with ASD, it's crucial to focus on individualized treatment approaches and structured programs. These types of interventions can greatly reduce symptoms and improve daily functioning. As always, decisions regarding care should be made in consultation with healthcare professionals and based on the unique needs and best interests of the child.

Resources for Families with Autism

Families with children on the autism spectrum often face unique challenges. Thankfully, there are several resources, both at the state and federal level, to provide support and guidance.

State and Federal Support

Every state in the United States has its own autism resources and benefits available. Additionally, the federal government provides resources that are accessible to everyone, regardless of their location.

Federal programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid Waivers provide financial support to families with special-needs children, assisting in managing the financial burden associated with caring for a child with autism.

According to Apex ABA, Medicaid has higher total healthcare costs, higher ASD-specific costs, and coverage for more therapy visits for children with ASD compared to private insurance plans, making it a valuable resource for families seeking financial support for their child's autism care.

Support Program Support Provided
State Resources Varies by state
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Financial support
Medicaid Waivers Financial support and therapy coverage

Navigating a New Diagnosis

Receiving an autism diagnosis for a child can be overwhelming. Parents may have many questions and uncertainties about what this means for their child's future. Resources are available for parents of teens and pre-teens with autism to help them provide support and ensure that their children feel accepted during the social and educational changes that come with the teenage years.

In terms of childcare, centers must comply with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including those on the autism spectrum. Childcare centers cannot refuse care based solely on an autism diagnosis and must provide accommodations if the child poses no direct threat to others [5].

In conclusion, there are numerous resources available for families navigating a new autism diagnosis. Whether it's understanding what the diagnosis means, finding the right support services, or learning about the educational rights of a child with autism, help is available. It's important to remember that each child is unique and that the most effective approach to autism care varies from person to person.

Support for Children with Autism

When caring for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), there's a wealth of resources available to parents. From tools to aid daily life to guidance for social and educational facets, these resources can provide much-needed support.

Tools for Parents

Parents have access to a variety of tools and resources to support their child's journey with autism. Every state in the United States has its own autism resources and benefits available, and the federal government also provides resources that are accessible to everyone, regardless of their location.

One very important recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is to start researching therapies as soon as autism is suspected, rather than waiting for a formal diagnosis. The process to get a formal diagnosis can involve significant time, tests, and follow-ups with specialists [2].

Therapies such as Floortime, a type of play therapy, can improve the social and emotional skills of children with ASD. It can help them think in different ways, add to their language or communication skills, and expand the ways they play with toys and relate to other people.

Support groups are also an invaluable resource for parents. They offer safe environments for individuals with autism to connect with each other, fostering mental health and building social skills. Online support groups are available, and in-person options can be found through state health departments or disability agencies.

Social and Educational Guidance

The teenage years bring about significant social and educational changes for all children, including those with autism. Resources are available for parents of teens and pre-teens with autism to help them provide support and ensure that their children feel accepted during these transitions [4].

It's important to work closely with your child's school to ensure they're receiving the necessary support. Many schools offer special education services and accommodations for students with autism. Additionally, extracurricular activities and social groups can provide opportunities for your child to connect with peers and develop social skills.

Parents can also consider working with a social worker or psychologist who specializes in autism. These professionals can provide guidance on navigating social situations, dealing with bullying, and managing the emotional challenges that teenagers with autism may face.

In conclusion, there are many resources available to support children with autism and their families. By utilizing these tools and guidance, parents can help their child navigate the complexities of autism and lead a fulfilling life.

Therapeutic Approaches for Autism

Deciding on the best care for a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be a complex process. Several therapeutic approaches can help children with ASD enhance their social, emotional, and communicative skills. In this section, we will discuss two widely recognized and effective therapies: Play Therapy including Floortime, and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy.

Play Therapy and Floortime

Play therapy, such as Floortime, is a therapeutic approach that focuses on improving the social and emotional skills of children with autism. This type of therapy encourages children to think in different ways, improve their language or communication skills, and broaden their ways of playing with toys and relating to others [2].

Two notable play-based therapies include Integrated Play Groups (IPGs) and Joint Attention Symbolic Play Engagement and Regulation (JASPER). IPGs combine children both with and without autism, allowing those with ASD to follow their peers' lead and learn how to play. Research has shown that children with ASD who participated in two 30-minute IPG sessions a week for four months improved their quality of play, used their toys in a more typical way, and showed improved social interaction with their peers.

JASPER, on the other hand, aims to improve a child's ability to focus on a toy and a person simultaneously, play with other children, engage more in pretend play, broaden their way of playing with toys, speak more with others, and improve other social skills [2].

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy is another effective intervention for children with autism. This therapy uses rewards to reinforce positive behaviors and teach new skills. Studies have shown that children who receive early, intensive ABA can make significant and lasting gains.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends starting to research therapies as soon as you suspect your child has autism, rather than waiting for a formal diagnosis. It can take a lot of time, tests, and follow-ups with specialists to get a formal diagnosis [2].

In conclusion, both Play Therapy and ABA Therapy provide effective approaches for helping children with autism develop critical social, emotional, and communication skills. As a parent, your child's needs may lead you to consider one or both of these therapies. Always consult with a healthcare professional when deciding on the best therapeutic approach for your child.

Placing a Child in Group Homes

The decision to place a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in a group home or residential care is one that is often fraught with emotion and uncertainty. It can be a difficult choice for parents to make, especially when they are grappling with the question: "Can I put my autistic child into care?"

Considerations for Residential Care

The decision to place a child into residential care should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Many factors come into play, such as the child's level of functioning, the severity of their symptoms, their behavior, and the family's ability to provide appropriate care at home.

In some instances, parents may face increasing challenges in managing their child's behaviors at home. For example, Michelle O'Reilly made the difficult decision to place her nonverbal autistic son, Justin, in a group home with 24/7 support due to his increasing aggressive and violent behavior.

Group homes or residential care facilities can provide a structured environment with trained staff to manage and support the child's needs. They can also provide opportunities for the child to participate in activities and social interactions that might not be possible at home. These opportunities can contribute to the child's well-being and personal growth.

Emotional Impact on Families

The decision to place an autistic child into care can have a significant emotional impact on families. Parents often experience a range of emotions, including guilt, sadness, relief, and even hope.

There are instances where parents, despite the emotional toll, believe that residential placement was the best decision for their child. In a story shared on Quora, a parent placed their child in a group home at the age of 16 due to the child's medical needs. Although the child was institutionalized for the rest of their life, the parent maintained involvement and believed that the group home provided the best care for their child's needs.

Another parent shared their story of placing their adopted child with special needs in foster care and treatment programs due to the child's violent behavior and self-destructive tendencies. Despite initial resistance to out-of-home placement, the escalating situation made them recognize the necessity of a different level of care and support.

These narratives underscore the complexity and difficulty of navigating the process of out-of-home placement for children with autism. They emphasize the importance of seeking support, utilizing available resources, and prioritizing the best interests of the child when determining the most appropriate care setting.

The decision to place an autistic child in a group home or residential care is deeply personal and challenging. It requires careful consideration, support from professionals, and a focus on what is ultimately best for the child's health, well-being, and development.

References

[1]: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/autism/conditioninfo/treatments

[2]: https://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/therapies-to-help-with-autism

[3]: https://www.yellowbusaba.com/post/can-i-put-my-autistic-child-into-care

[4]: https://www.healthline.com/health/autism/autism-resources

[5]: https://www.apexaba.com/blog/can-i-put-my-autistic-child-into-care

[6]: https://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/difficult-decision-place-my-autistic-son-group-home-247-support