Have you recently received a new diagnosis for your child? Are you feeling overwhelmed with the information you received and are unsure of where to turn next to seek out the best support for both your child and your family? We know that a new diagnosis can be challenging to process and even more confusing to know which therapy, specialists, or resource you should contact first in order to provide what your child needs to succeed. Below are a list of steps and resources to contact, as well as topics of importance to consider when you receive a diagnosis.
Special thanks to Collaborative Corner and their help in providing this resource.
What Do I Do First?
- Contact your state’s Early Intervention provider if your child is birth to 3 years of age.
- In the state of Florida, this program is called Early Steps. For further detailed information, visit one of our previous blog posts specifically about this topic here.
- If your child is not reaching developmental milestones schedule an appointment with your pediatrician to discuss a referral to therapy.
What Type of Therapy Does My Child Need?
- If your child is specifically struggling with meeting overall gross motor skills, they may benefit from physical therapy. To learn about what a physical therapist can do to support your child, visit our informational page here.
- If your child is specifically struggling with meeting overall fine motor skills, have difficulty with sensory integration, or visual motor skills, they may benefit from occupational therapy. To learn about what an occupational therapist can do to support your child, visit our informational page here.
- If your child is not yet meeting speech and language milestones, he or she may benefit from working with a speech-language pathologist. For specific information about speech and language milestones within the first year, visit this blog post. Additional information about speech and language milestones that your child should be demonstrating can be found here.
- There is also additional information available for your review about feeding therapy and Applied Behavior Analysis.
- In many situations, a multi-disciplinary approach is needed, which means your child may benefit from one or more therapies at a time as each therapist works together to support your child as whole.
Should I Apply for Medicaid?
- Even if you have private insurance , children with disabilities may qualify for Medicaid, which can provide additional insurance coverage.
- Further details can be found here.
How Do I Establish a New Routine?
- If you work consider a Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care (PPEC). A PPEC is a medical day care center dedicated to the care of medically fragile infants and children.
- If your child is 3 years old or above, he/she may qualify to receive services in a Preschool Exceptional Education Program.
- Preschool Diagnostic Intervention Services for Orange County
- Pre-K Disabilities Program in Seminole County
- Pre-School Education Evaluation in Osceola County
- Additional information about Child Find can be found in a previous blog post here.
- Use respite services like Buddy Break
- Don’t forget to take care of you so you can best take care of your child!
Should I Contact a Special Needs Attorney?
- A special needs attorney can help you plan for your child’s future.
- ABLE United is an option for families that provides an economical way to save with the potential for tax-free growth.
What Specialists Do I Need For My Child?
This list is brief and does not include all possible specialists a child may need given a new diagnosis. If you have specific questions, please reach out to a member of our Panel or visit our resource page here.
- Developmental Pediatrician
- They diagnose and treat children with developmental, learning and behavioral problems.
- Pediatric Neurologist
- They treat problems with the central nervous system including the brain, spinal cords, nerves and muscles.
- Pediatric Orthopedist
- They treat problems with the bones and musculoskeletal system.
- Otolaryngologists (ENT -Ears Nose and Throat Physician)
- Pediatric Gastroenterologist
Remember you are your child’s BEST advocate! Don’t be afraid to fight for what you feel is best for them!
What Should I Do If I Am Worried About My Child’s Development?
Prenatal and Postnatal Diagnosis Conditions
Resources for children with Down Syndrome
Resources for Visual Impairments in Central Florida
Resources for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
If you have additional questions, please contact one of the members of our Panel.
Susan Robins, PT
Pediatric Physical Therapist