Florida's First Choice for Autism Support

Posts tagged ‘assistance’

Why Would I Have my Child “Tested”?

I’m sure over the years you have been asked by either professionals, doctors or even the school if your child has ever been ‘tested’? What does this mean anyway and why would you want to have your child tested?
In the mental health world, undergoing testing usually refers to psychological testing or evaluations. These tests can be very comprehensive and can be a road map for treatment. Many therapists can give screeners, questionnaires and other types of evaluations but a psychologist is the doctor of choice to perform psychological testing.

Here are some reasons why psychological testing may benefit your child:
1. You have been in counseling for some time and little progress is being made.
2. You are not quite sure exactly what is going on with your child but you know something is just not right.
3. You have been given so many different diagnoses and just want to know, once and for all, what you and your child are dealing with.
4. You would like to formulate a treatment plan based specifically on your child’s needs and the areas that they are struggling.
5. You want to rule out a learning disability or uncover why your child is struggling in school.
6. Medication is not working and you are concerned that doctors are “missing something”.
7. You are curious if your child has an underlying disability or area of difficulty that has not been identified.
8. You are looking for an official diagnosis.
9. You would like to know how your child learns best.
10. You would like to rule out any areas of concern that may run in your family.

Psychological testing is able to assess many areas, some of which include:
*IQ testing/Cognitive delays
*Processing speed
*Short and long term memory
*Word Retrieval
*Personality features and types
*Learning styles/learning disabilities
*Mental health

In addition to psychological testing, the ADOS test is also a formal evaluation that can be given to people of all ages to diagnosis Autism. This very comprehensive test is considered the gold standard for diagnosing Autism and uses different modules to determine if a person is on the spectrum.

After testing, of any type, is completed, you should be provided a very detailed report with graphs and charts to show testing results as well as a detailed summary of what the testing reveals. A good psychological report should include:
*Background information
*Testing procedures and results
*Detailed summary
*Detailed recommendations

Written by Erica DuPont, LCSW

www.protherapyplus.com
www.seemyiep.com

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ABLE Accounts: A New Financial Tool for Individuals with Disabilities

By: Olivia Macdonald, MPH, CPH

On December 19th, President Obama signed into law the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. This now allows for people with disabilities to create savings accounts which would not affect their eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid.
These new ABLE accounts are expected to work similarly to existing 529 college savings plans. The individual with the disability, along with their family and friends, can contribute up to $14,000 a year to the account. While these contributions would be exempt from the gift tax, they would not be exempt from federal income tax. If more than $100,000 is in the account, SSI benefits will be suspended, but Medicaid eligibility will still be retained. Upon the death of the individual with the disability, the state will be able to recover funds from the account for some Medicaid expenses they have incurred for that individual. Only one account is allowed per person and the maximum funds allowed will be subject to each state’s decision. Funds from the account will be allowed to be spent on things such as healthcare, housing, transportation, and education.
To be eligible for an ABLE account, the individual must have a significant disability whose onset occurred before the age of 26. If they are also already receiving SSI and/or SSDI benefits, they will be automatically eligible to create an ABLE account. If they are not receiving SSI and/or SSDI, but the age of onset disability criteria is met, they could still create an account if they also meet SSI’s criteria for significant functional limitations.
The next step in the law’s progress will be for the Treasury Department to publish a set of final rules to guide state policymakers in establishing an ABLE account program for their particular state. These will inform each state’s guidelines regarding “a) the information required to be presented to open an ABLE account; b) the documentation needed to meet the requirements of ABLE account eligibility for a person with a disability; and c) the definition details of “qualified disability expenses” and the documentation that will be needed for tax reporting” (NDI, 2014). However, it is not required for a state to create an ABLE program, and some states may choose to contract with other states’ programs to offer ABLE accounts to its eligible residents.
ABLE accounts are expected to be available before the end of 2015.

You can learn more details about the new legislation, as well as steps you can take to prepare to open an ABLE account, by viewing the websites and video below:
“Congress Passes ABLE Act: Major Victory for Persons with Disabilities and Their Families”
http://realeconomicimpact.org/News.aspx?id=460

“Are Tax-Free ABLE Accounts The Right Financial Solution For People With Disabilities?”
http://www.forbes.com/sites/beltway/2014/12/04/are-tax-free-able-accounts-the-right-financial-solution-for-people-with-disabilities/

“ABLE Account Planning: Six Next Steps for 2015” by the National Disability Institute
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44d58G5GunA

Early Childhood Training Series

We have had great success with our “Early Childhood Training Series”. We originally geared this training for new parents of children diagnosed with autism, but we have had numerous professionals and parents join us. Participants joined us from CARD-USF’s 14-county region as well as from various other regions in Florida and even from other states! Our topics have included
“Positive Collaborations with Schools”, “Addressing Challenging Behavior”, and “Enhancing Communication”. Coming up next on our list of topics are “Creating Visuals”, “Addressing Feeding Issues”, “Addressing Sleep Issues”, and “Preparing for Summer”.
These trainings run on the first Tuesday of every month from 6:00pm to 7:00pm. To participate online via adobe connect visit http://usf.adobeconnect.com/card_ect at 5:45pm on the night of the training. Or you can join us in person. Please RSVP beverlyking@usf.edu one week before the date of the training as space is limited. We look forward to keeping this project an ongoing opportunity and welcome all feedback. If there are other topics of interest that you would like to see in the future please let us know.
Your Early Childhood Team

Transition Planning

transition

This is the fifth (and final) in a series of articles about transition planning. This article identifies some of the unwritten elements for a successful transition. Is your child learning and practicing these skills across grade levels and into adulthood? Prepare, strategize, implement, revise, evaluate, and enjoy your child’s journey on the yellow brick road to adulthood. (And remember to contact CARD if you are seeking additional guidance along the way.)

o Effectively communicate expressively and receptively. Communication is critical to learning and doing.
o Accurately interpret body language. Much of communication is non-verbal and can be easily misconstrued.
o Productively problem-solve. Analyze personal thoughts and actions and learn from mistakes.
o Prioritize, organize, sequence, and complete tasks. Every task and activity requires planning and follow-through.
o Maintain a high level self-esteem. A positive attitude is a foundational element for success.
o Respect others. Accept and celebrate diversity. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and brings something of value to the table. Learn to cooperate and collaborate within a team context.
o Set personal goals and self-monitor your progress. Gradually increase your independence over time.

Reward yourself. (You did it!!)

Tags To Help Non-Verbal Trick or Treaters

halloween badge

Created for those Trick or Treaters that may have difficulty saying ‘Trick or Treat’ or ‘Thank You’. Happy Halloween and Enjoy!

CARD & HIPPY Program To Be Featured on News Channel 8

The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at USF partners with the Florida HIPPY program (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters)

The HIPPY program offers a structured home based model focusing on parent-child centered learning. This international parent involvement school readiness program uses an evidence based curriculum for children 3-5 years old. Parents, as the first teachers, are provided with the developmentally appropriate materials and books to help teach and strengthen their child’s cognitive, literacy and social/emotional skills.

Four years ago, CARD approached HIPPY about the idea of expanding the use of their curriculum to children with disabilities, specifically children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. This had not been tried before and we felt that CARD constituents would greatly benefit from this opportunity. After HIPPY successfully received a grant from the Children’s Board in Hillsborough County, we were off and running to find 16 children for our pilot group. We have been tracking the data on the enhancements that CARD has offered to the HIPPY curriculum as well as child outcomes. Our goal is to have our participants school ready to attend the least restrictive classroom environment.

We had the honor of having Gayle Guyardo from Channel 8 news join us for a session with a local family that CARD and HIPPY serves. This story will be featured on September 23 on the evening news. I hope you can take a moment to watch and if you know a family in Hillsborough County with a child aged 3 or 4 who can benefit from this program, please have them contact Beverly King at beverlyking@usf.edu.

Jossie3                             (Jossie, a HIPPY graduate, with Gayle Guyardo)

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CARD USF – Video Business Card

Learn more about CARD and what we can offer families, businesses and individuals impacted by autism.

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