Receiving a developmental diagnosis of any kind can be extremely stressful for children as well as their families. In addition, prioritizing next steps and navigating community resources can present another unique set of challenges.
The information below provides a starting point for obtaining appropriate services for your child. The resources provided do not represent an endorsement by Texas Children’s Hospital of any agencies or providers listed.
If you have a child between the ages of 0-3, and are concerned about his or her development, you can request an in-home evaluation of your child. ECI may be able to offer early intervention such as developmental services, occupational therapy or speech therapy. Click the link above to learn more about ECI services and to locate your local ECI provider. Requesting an evaluation can be done by contacting your local ECI provider and does not require a physician referral.
If you have a child over the age of 3, and are concerned regarding his or her development and/or school performance, you can request an evaluation for special education services through your local public school. This evaluation will help determine the types of interventions that may be offered to your child at school. Appropriate school services can help to address your child’s educational needs and can be requested prior to your child receiving a medical diagnosis.
Availability of financial resources will vary based on your child’s diagnoses and individual needs and your family’s financial situation. Financial assistance is not available to all families, but we encourage all families to be aware of the options available for financial assistance, as some of the applications may be time sensitive. All of the options listed require your child to have an established intellectual and/or developmental diagnosis.
As your child grows and develops, you may notice behaviors that become more challenging. These behaviors can often be addressed through a combination of medical and therapeutic treatments. In addition, there are several programs within the community that help to teach parents strategies they can use at home to increase desirable behaviors and reduce those less desirable behaviors.
Social skills interventions, although not typically covered by insurance, can be useful in helping your child build the appropriate skills needed to make and maintain friendships and to help prepare them for greater success in school and the workplace. Social skills training may be provided in a group or individual setting depending on your child’s needs.
Support groups provide a safe environment for parents and/or children to come together and share their lives, experiences, and stories. Support groups are a great way for you and your child to build a strong and supportive network of friendships. Research has shown that having a strong support system helps to improve coping and reduce caregiver stress.
Respite care allows caregivers of children with special needs the opportunity to have time away from the demands of caregiving. These services can be provided at a variety of public locations such as churches or community organizations, where children have the opportunity to socialize, or can take place within your home. Respite care can provide both parents and children a much needed break and the chance to relax and recharge.
Many parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities will begin to plan for their child’s transition into adulthood as their child enters adolescence. This transition may affect not only the social and emotional well-being of their children, but their child’s medical care and financial security as well. While this may cause a lot of stress for parents and children alike, it is vital that parents have a plan in mind prior to their child’s 18th birthday. Transition options will vary greatly depending on your child’s development, but their medical providers, therapists, and school can take an active role in the transition process as well.
Afterschool and summer recreational activities may help children develop social skills, learn teamwork, build self-esteem, create friendships, and feel a sense of belonging. There are a number of recreational opportunities throughout the Houston and surrounding areas that may be of interest to your child.
If you are thinking about harming yourself or another person, or have thoughts about suicide, tell someone who can help right away:
- Call your doctor’s office.
- Call 911 for emergency services.
- Go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
- Call the toll-free, 24 hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Ask a family member or friend to help you make these calls or take you to the hospital.
Reading and keeping up with current information and resources within the community is one of the most important steps that parents can take in accessing current services for their child, as well as preparing for the future. Click the link below for more information on websites and books of various topics.