Steps to Take If You Think Your Child is on the Autism Spectrum

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Your Child and Autism

Many parents have that ‘a-ha’ moment when they realize their child may have a more profound challenge than previously expectant. Unlike your friend’s kid at the same age- your child has trouble maintaining friendships, struggles to communicate, or demonstrates repetitive body movements. Perhaps they have difficulty relating to the world around them and seems inflexible with their thoughts and behaviors. If you notice these characteristics, don’t ignore them. While your child could be delayed, it may be wise to seek a professional opinion and check if your child may be on the autism spectrum.

Learn the Milestones

Many children with autism show developmental delays early on and don’t meet typical milestones. For instance, by 6-9 months, most babies can sit up without support, babble sounds, and respond to their name. By 9-12 months, babies typically grab objects and toys, crawl, and stand independently. Most children can walk independently between ages 1-3, climb stairs, jump, stack objects, speak in short sentences, and follow basic directions. Between ages 3-5, children can typically toss a ball overhand, get dressed independently, and draw a full person with all features. Children ages 6-12 generally have developed strong friendships with peers and are usually independent in completing their school work. If you notice delays or regression in any of these milestones and your instincts tell you something is off, your child may be at risk for autism.

Identifying Autism

If you think your child has autism, take action. The sooner you identify and address autism, the better it will be for your family. Speak to your child’s doctor; he or she may inquire as to whether all developmental milestones have been met and may recommend an autism screening. This screening typically consists of a series of yes or no questions regarding symptoms. If your doctor suspects that your child may have autism, your child may need to have a full diagnostic evaluation by an ASD specialist.  Typically, the evaluator will observe your child, ask you as the parent a series of questions, fill out questionnaires, and administer a series of tests to your child. These factors will allow the evaluator to identify whether or not your child may have autism so you can take appropriate action for a concrete diagnosis.

Your Child Receives an ASD Diagnosis — Next Step

First off, don’t panic. There are many resources and a great deal of support available for children with autism, and your child is certainly not alone! However, the earlier you intervene and seek your child’s services, the more gains you will see. Once you receive the diagnosis, which typically includes a full report, read it thoroughly and review the evaluator or doctor’s recommendations. Reach out to your child’s school to let them know about the diagnosis and inquire about creating an IEP (Individualized Education Program) to map out the services your child will receive based on their needs. These services may include special education classroom placement, speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral therapy, physical therapy, social skills groups, etc. Also, learn what you can do at home to help your child, such as creating a set structure and routine and rewarding good behavior. The more you can work as a team with your child’s doctors, educators, and therapists, this will help provide consistent support to your child.

Many children with autism are kind, loving, high-achieving individuals who have countless gifts. With the right support, your child can succeed academically and thrive in life.

Special Needs Resources in New York

Advantage Care Health Centers

Long Island – Nassau County
189 Wheatley Road, Brookville, NY 11545
230 Hanse Avenue, Freeport, NY 11520

We are now offering Tele-Health services to all new and current patients through our secure online platform visit: to see how it works.  Tele-Health Services for Children and Adults include the Following: Primary Care, Psychotherapy, Psychiatry.  Advantage Care is taking proper measures to keep our patients, community and staff safe during these uncertain times. Advantage Care Health Centers are Long Island’s premier Federally Qualified Health Centers. We accept Medicaid, Medicaid Managed Care Plans, Medicare. Together we provide quality medical, dental and mental/behavioral health services to all members of the community.  The mission of our centers is to provide the highest quality comprehensive primary, dental, mental and behavioral health care services.  We offer these services to all members of the community with a commitment to those who might otherwise be excluded from the health care system, while still remaining cost-effective and efficient. The health center specializes in providing services to children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Autism Behavioral Consulting Services

Karen Bottalico, SAS, SDA
516- 851-8330

An Educational Consultant serving Queens and Long Island and the NY Metro area.  Working directly with families, services include: Evaluating placement and service options; Accompanying parents throughout the entire CPSE or CSE process which includes meetings, screenings, observations and extensive education history reviews.  Other services include Staff Training, School -Based Consultation, FBA Assessment and BIP Implementation, ABA and Verbal Behavior Training Techniques, Behavior Management Strategies, Home/School Intensive Behavior Intervention Services, Crisis Intervention and Prevention, Home-Based Services and Parent Education Training.  Call for more information.

Biondi Education Center

463 Hawthorne Ave., Yonkers

K-12th Grades. Their nurturing setting and individualized therapeutic support help students build their academic skills, grow their self-esteem, and learn to overcome frustration – all skills necessary for success.  At Biondi they use evidence-based approaches to work with students, which allows them to continue their academic and emotional progress. Certified Teachers and Teaching Assistants, Clinical Psychologists, School Social Workers, Speech-Language Pathologist and an Occupational Therapist support students at their Elementary and Secondary Schools. Contact Dr. Angela White, Superintendent, [email protected].

Charter School of Educational Excellence 

260 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers NY 10701

CSEE encourages parents of students with special needs to apply as it provides Special Education Services for students with Individualized Education Plans (IEP).  The school employs full-time certified resource room teachers, a school psychologist and counselors.  For other mandated services such as speech, occupational and physical therapy, CSEE works collaboratively with the student’s district of residence to provide these services at the school. CSEE’s director of special education services meets with each new family to review their child’s IEP and mandated services at the time of enrollment to ensure all mandated IEP services can be provided by the school.

Family Speech Center

Several locations in Astoria and Flushing

Their certified speech-language pathologists are trained professionals who evaluate and diagnose adults and children to identify specific speech, language or swallowing difficulties. Services include speech-language evaluations and treatment for individuals with articulation and stuttering problems. Assessment procedures depend on the age of the client; very small children are assessed in an informal play-based environment. Medical plans and Dept. of Ed IEPs are accepted for both preschool and school age children. Operated by Niki Stagias-Coulianidis, MA, CCC-SLP and Errika Nathenas-Dimitrakis, MS, CCC-SLP, speech language pathologists.

Long Island Center for Speech

Locations across Suffolk and Nassau Counties

Specializing in the treatment and correction of language disorders, memory and auditory processing difficulties, fluency, voice disorders, motor planning disorders, deviate swallowing, tongue thrust, feeding problems/aversions, thumb sucking, articulation disorders and oral facial muscle weakness. Janine Stein, speech-language pathologist, is the owner and operator of the Suffolk Center for Speech and Myofunctional Therapy. Along with her exceptional group of therapists, she supports families and children across Long Island and Queens. There are seven affiliated offices across Long Island, all participating with most major health insurance companies and offering flexible hours and scheduling, including evenings and Saturdays.

SteppingStone Day School, Inc.

7740 Vleigh Pl., Flushing, NY

2826 Westchester Avenue

Established in 1983, as a private, not for profit, infant and preschool program for children with/without special needs for children ages 3-5.  Their mission is to provide collaborative evaluation, education, therapy, and family support services so children can develop to their full potential and become members of the community. They are able to provide services to children with varying degrees and severity of disability. They’ve been in the forefront in providing integrated classrooms since the early 1990’s. Licensed/certified special educators, therapists, social workers, and psychologists are part of a multidisciplinary team dedicated to their philosophy that all children are entitled to an education that is safe, nurturing and in an enriched environment. They are fully licensed.

Dr. Emily Levy is the founder of EBL Coaching, a tutoring program that specializes in one-on-one home and on-site instruction for students in grades preK-12 in NYC, NJ, and Westchester. She is also the author of Strategies for Study Success, a study skills workbooks series emphasizing test taking, note taking, reading comprehension, writing, and executive functioning strategies, and the Flags and Stars Orton Gillingham student workbook series. These books are currently used at schools nationwide. Dr. Levy studied at Brown University and later received her Masters Degree in Special Education and her Doctorate Degree in Education. She has spoken nationwide on research-based methods for teaching students with and without learning disabilities. Dr. Levy is currently the Director of EBL Coaching’s learning centers.

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Asphalt Green

<p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;" data-sheets-value="{" data-sheets-userformat="{">Asphalt Green’s high-quality sports programs start at 4 months old. Two beautiful facilities in vibrant Manhattan neighborhoods provide the optimal space for children to learn the fundamentals, play for leisure, or compete at the highest level.<br />As the leading sports and fitness facility in Manhattan, Asphalt Green’s never-before- seen training methods focus on improving your mental and physical game. Whether participating in swim, soccer, flag football, martial arts, basketball, baseball, tennis, or volleyball, coaches instill values that set athletes up for success in life and bring out their full potential in sports.</span></p>

CK Kids

<p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;" data-sheets-value="{" data-sheets-userformat="{">CK Kids offers various classes and programs, including Afterschool Program, Lil Chefs, Boys Hip-Hop, Ninja Starz, Lil Artists, CK Kids Athletic Programs, Acrobatics, Dance and Drama, and Karate. </span></p>

Speakitaly NYC

<p>SPEAKITALY NYC offers stimulating and entertaining lessons for children 0 to 16 years through a wide combination of activities based on the communicative approach anchored in the Common European Framework of Reference: active learning (group work, role plays, etc.) and practice exercises aimed to improve listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Kids will start speaking and using Italian in a very natural way.  Small classes capped at 6 students to make sure each one gets the needed attention and facilitate learners' progress. </p> <p>Our method is driven by a didactic method that is the result of constant updates, professional certifications and more than 10 years of experience in working with non-native speakers from different native languages and levels of knowledge.</p> <p>Our aim is to develop a range of Italian language skills while improving accuracy that will enable the students and participants to interact without stress or feeling rushed. We want to help those in the community really embrace not only the true culture in Italy but the Italian culture within New York City… Who doesn’t love what Italy represents in the kitchen, in history & in the arts?</p> <p>Speakitaly wants to support multilingual families who want to learn a new language or pass along their ancestor’s heritage and culture. Raffaella, the founder said: "We see language awareness and intercultural sensitivity as the milestones for an inclusive society. Italian, like all other languages, is an enrichment and a growth in every way. Vi aspettiamo!"</p>