When I found out I was going to have a child, I immediately began picturing our lives together. I thought about where he would go to school, what activities he might enjoy, what places we would visit together. I thought of all of my childhood experiences I wanted him to experience. I began to make plans before he was even born. Those plans changed when he was diagnosed with autism.
My son was diagnosed later than what is ideal, at age 6. For an autism diagnosis, there are many professionals who can diagnose: psychologists and medical doctors. Some professionals keep a list of resources for families. Some make the diagnosis, and give little direction as to treatment. I felt like we were already so far behind in treatment, three years later than what is ideal for this diagnosis.
Like many other developmental disorders, autism affects many aspects of an individual’s life. I had to address where he would go to school, if he needed an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), and what should that IEP look like. I needed to find social opportunities for him, and safe care for him when he was not at school or home. I needed to find therapy that could help him with his particular struggles, and appropriate medical and dental care. All of these are concerns that families of individuals with special needs have to address, and are often difficult resources to find.
The Greater Toledo Community Resource Guide (“The Resource Guide”) is an amazing tool that connects individuals with disabilities and special needs with community resources in our area. It is more than just a list of doctors. The Resource Guide includes resources for advocacy, legal help, dental providers, education, early intervention, transportation, social opportunities, and much more. Resources that are utilized by many people with special needs are listed, as well as resources for specific diagnoses.
The Resource Guide lists the resource by category, such as “Dental Providers”. Within each category, each provider is listed in alphabetical order, with a paragraph explaining the service that the provider offers. Contact information including phone number, address and website are listed as well.
The Resource Guide is funded by several community organizations. For questions about the Resource Guide, please contact Sherri Rogers, Patient and Family Care Specialist at ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital, at 419-291-1563.
The Toledo Area has a lot to offer individuals with special needs. The one challenge has been finding the resources that are available. The Greater Toledo Community Resource Guide makes this much easier for families. I hope it helps you as it has helped my family.
Aurora Dayne is the chairperson of the Family Advisory Council at ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital where she works to foster communication and relationships between patients, their families and caregivers.