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Support Services for Emotionally Impaired Special Needs Students: Autism, Tourette’s and Asperger Syndrome

Do you know a child with autism, Asperger Syndrome, Tourette’s Syndrome or other emotional impairment? Special needs children require special assistance and understanding. If you or someone you love has autism, Asperger Syndrome or Tourette’s Syndrome, they need and are entitled to special services. Whether you parent, teach or care for a special needs child with autism, Asperger or Tourette’s you need and deserve support and help.

Knowledge is power and also builds compassion. Sadly, the autistic, Asperger or Tourette’s Syndrome child is often ridiculed, wrongly disciplined or avoided. This is due to fear and misunderstanding. Autistic, Asperger and Tourette’s children usually talk different, act different and display emotions differently. Let’s explore ways to understand our autistic, Asperger and Tourette’s children. We will do this in the same way a scientist explores new data — by asking six fundamental questions.

WHAT: If you suspect that a child may have autism, Asperger or Tourette’s Syndrome, visit a pediatrician. What do these conditions look like? Discuss your concerns. Ask to be referred to a neurologist, psychologist or other specialist.

WHO: Now that we understand ‘what’ we consider special needs, we can consider ‘who’ — both who has special needs and who we can approach for help. When people study a special need, it is not uncommon to start looking for that special need in everyone that they know. (Your author did this, to the annoyance of the family!) But it is important to pay attention to signals. Here are several ways to identify signals:

- Know the family risks; are there conditions that ‘run in the family’?

- Know the family history; What is the home life like? It’s about awareness, not shame.

- Watch the child’s development and behavior.

- Ask pediatricians and family practice nurses, health department officials, and the child’s teacher or care-giver. Use the internet to ask questions. Check out the resources at the end of the article.

When? It is never to early to explore concerns, especially when it is your own child. Genetic counseling can help you prepare for issues based on your family history. If you have concerns, don’t panic. Do ask and read and research until you get the answers that you need.

Where? Talk to professionals. Get specific information about your child’s condition. DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is a huge compendium of detailed information. Read literature published by respected sources. Check internet resources. Connect with other parents whose children have similar conditions. Seek out a support group from the websites listed. Talk with teachers and school officials. Schools get special funding to help special needs children. The Family Independence Agency (FIA) are usually very good resources. You will need your physician’s verification of condition to receive special services. But if your child has a special need, you are entitled to assistance. Get all the help you can for your child and for yourself. You need and deserve it. If you have problems getting services, find care-givers who will help you. You are your child’s best advocate. I can’t overemphasize the need for a support group. If you can’t find one, start one.

Why? You can’t care for a special needs child alone and you shouldn’t have to. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help and take it.

Here are some internet resources to get you started.

National Autism Association

Tourette’s- Disorder

Asperger Syndrome

Support Group Directory

I wish you all the best for your special needs child.

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