FAU CARD Experience

CARD stands for Center for Autism & Related Disabilities

I recently was told about CARD by a client of mine. Every county has a CARD program in Florida. If you live in Broward County, you can contact NSU CARD. And if you live in Palm Beach, you can contact FAU CARD. Everything that is in BOLD are key factors that were talked about during my meeting.

I called the FAU # on the website, and within a day got a call from Kerry. She set me up with an appointment to come see her. IF YOUR CHILD HAS RECENTLY BEEN DIAGNOSED, PLEASE USE CARD AS A RESOURCE!!!! They will help you immensley! Luckily I knew/use about 75% of the resources Kerry told me about. But it was defiantly reassuring to hear from a 3rd party that I am doing a great job with Brielle. We talked about Wandering Safety For Elopement, which scares my husband and I. Brielle listens to us when we are out in public, but we do notice her not paying attention to her surroundings & she will keep walking with the crowd. One night we were watching the news, and a child with ASD had drowned because they wandered from their home. According to the National Autism Association (NAA), about 48% of children with ASD attempt to elope from a safe environment. Kerry told me about a Lost and Found tracking device in Palm Beach County associated with Project Life Saver. We most definitely will be looking into that! Also we talked about Water Safety. Brielle is fearless when it comes to the water. We put her in swimming lessons early on & just thought she was a natural. But in reality when she goes under water I don’t think she realizes she’s under. I think she feels free & it relieves her sensory sensation. According to the NAA drowning is among the leading cause of death of individuals with Autism. Kerry gave me 3 resources that offer swimming lessons to children with disabilities either for free or at a discounted rate. As soon as it’s warm enough we will be getting Brielle back into swimming! We talked about ABA therapy & how effective it is. The Gardiner Scholarship was also mentioned. I had applied for this last year & we are so grateful for this scholarship. When we found out about Brielle’s diagnosis, we put her in a ABA therapy program not knowing our insurance didn’t cover it. We bit the bullet & paid out of pocket for ½ the year & used most of the funds from the Gardiner Scholarship to reimburse ourselves for her ABA therapy. This year since her ABA is covered under our insurance, I will use the funds from Gardiner Scholarship to pay for her speech therapy. (Thank you UHC for covering ABA therapy services, however you guys need to up your game. How do you allow someone with a speech/communication disability to receive Speech Therapy 20 times PER calendar year??? If you do the math that’s 10 hours a YEAR!!!! So I hope you know I WILL be appealing this!) Kerry also explained to me what the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) & Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is. is. Its basically 2 government programs, both programs are income based, the APD has a 7-10 year waitlist. It sounds long but Kerry explained to me that by the time Brielle is in grade school/college it could really be beneficial if she needs an aid or any other resources that the government will help aid.

Coffee Talk & Play In The Park is a parent support group & you get to meet new families. I can’t wait to attend these with Brielle. I feel like when you are able to meet people that are able to relate to what you’re going through, it brings a sense of relief & normalcy. We spoke about Extracurricular Activities; Sugar sand park has special needs programs including social skills group & workshops. FAU CARD also has resources on their website, including equine therapy, music therapy (Brie LOVES her some music), soccer, yoga & even boxing. We always wanted to put Brielle in music or gymnastics but with her attention span being so short & her getting frustrated easily when you don’t understand her, we were scared. Now with these resources and knowing she will be around peers that will understand her & her needs, I am getting excited about the possibilities. (INSERT SMILEY FACE) Lastly, Autism Navigator was introduced to me. This provides families with a unique collection of web-based tools and courses developed to increase their ability to improve the developmental outcomes of their young child with ASD.

I hope today’s blog gives you a sense of relief. There are so many resources available to us. FOR FREE. Just set up an appointment with a CARD program in your area. And I promise you, you will leave with a sense of excitement. And by making that first step to obtaining all these resources, you will help your child, understand your child, and even feel in control of your child’s path. I know I do.

Until Next Time,

Thank you for joining us on our journey.

FAU CARD: http://www.fau.edu/education/centersandprograms/card/

Kerry Wittel, M.S., Ed. (Clinical Support Specialist @ FAU, 777 Glades Rd, Room 441 Boca Raton FL 33431, Phone 561-235-9342)