Autism is a common disorder, with 1 in 68 American children born somewhere on the autism spectrum.  From AutismSpeaks.org, “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development.”  The signs of autism are usually apparent when a child is between 2 and 3 years old.  Symptoms are different for everyone, according to autism-society.org. “Some of the behaviors associated with autism include delayed learning of language; difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation; difficulty with executive functioning, which relates to reasoning and planning; narrow, intense interests; poor motor skills and sensory sensitivities.”  The cause of autism is still being researched and debated, although doctors generally agree that “There is no known single cause for autism spectrum disorder, but it is generally accepted that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function.”.  There are lots of programs available for children with autism and their families, ranging from summer camps to supplies and medications.

What

Read more

This winter may be dragging on and on for many of us, but summer is just around the corner! A fun past-time for many children and young adults is summer camp – a few weeks away from home, cooking over a camp-fire, s’mores and sing-a-longs. Many children with specific diagnoses, however, are unable to go to camp with their peers; their condition keeps them from going to summer camp. This can be very upsetting, telling a child they cannot participate along with their peers due to a medical condition. Luckily, however, there are now many camps and retreats specifically designed for people with certain diagnoses.

Who Do They Serve?

Every camp listed on the NeedyMeds site is different – serving different people based on their medical condition. In general the camps are designed for children and young adults with a specific diagnosis. There are also many camps available for children whose parents have a specific diagnosis, and a number of camps that are designed not just for children but for siblings or the entire family to enjoy. Most camps are funded by private or government run organizations.

What

Read more

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (also known as IDEA) is a federal program focused on providing financial aid for special education for children with disabilities. IDEA builds upon the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, which “intended to support states and localities in protecting the rights of, meeting the individual needs of, and improving the results for infants, toddlers, children and youths with disabilities and their families. IDEA takes things a step further and “requires that schools provide special education services to eligible students as outlined in a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). IDEA also provides very specific requirements to guarantee a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment (LRE). FAPE and LRE are the protected rights of every eligible child, in all 50 states and U.S. Territories.” In short, the law guarantees that all children with disabilities have access to personalized and quality education.

What about Part C? Who Does it Serve?

In

Read more

The Children/Youth With Special Health Care Needs (shortened as CSHCN or CYSHCN) is a program in each state that provides medical care and other related services for special needs children. These programs are funded by grants from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), commonly referred to as Title V, Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grants. Similar to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (or CHIP), the programs are federally funded but operate independently at the state level. It was originally enacted in 1935 as part of the Social Security Act, and converted to a Block Grant Program in 1981.

Who it Serves

The program assists with the cost of medical care specifically for special needs children. The HRSA defines special needs children as “those who have or are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional condition and who also require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required

Read more

I understand it’s tough to ask the question “Why?” to your child’s doctor when the she makes a treatment or testing decision. But if you are going to be an active and informed partner in your child’s health care you need to know when to pose that question.

I am not suggesting you question every decision the doctor makes, but sometimes it’s appropriate.

Here are a few hints as to when you may want to question the doctor.

What will happen if I don’t give my child the medicine? 
 This is usually a good question to ask if the medicine is just to treat a symptom and not the underlying cause of the problem – for example, a decongestant for a stuffy nose or cold, or an antibiotic for what may be a viral infection.

It’s important to remember that every drug has the potential for side effects. Even a drug a child has taken many times may still cause a problem.

Another thought is that perhaps there’s a reason for the symptom. For example, the body’s immune system works better at a higher than normal temperature. There may be a reason for a fever that accompanies many illnesses. Treating it with a drug may only prolong

Read more