Is your child dealing with special needs? It's essential to prioritize their health by scheduling regular visits with a trusted pediatrician. By regularly monitoring their well-being and conducting necessary screenings, we can enhance their quality of life and foster their independence.
At Angel Kids Pediatrics, our seasoned team of highly qualified pediatricians has extensive experience caring for children and teenagers with special needs. With multiple office locations in Jacksonville, Amelia Island, and St. Johns, Florida, we’re here to support you and help your child thrive, no matter where they happen to be on the spectrum.
Autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder, hinders your child's communication and socialization skills. It presents a range of symptoms, from mild to severe, on a “spectrum.” While there is no cure for this disorder, there are several treatments to support your child’s full potential and enhance their overall well-being.
Given that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can impact a child's behavior as well as their social and communication skills, discovering and addressing the condition early on is crucial for a child's development.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly advises that children undergo screening for ASD during their 18-month and 24-month well-child checkups. This proactive approach allows for early detection, leading to the implementation of intervention programs that have been proven to enhance outcomes for many children on the autism spectrum.
Special needs care encompasses a range of targeted services designed to help young children with developmental delays or specific health conditions. Different types of professionals work together as a team to provide these services. Our goal is to enhance your child's development and support your capacity to meet their special needs.
Early intervention services for autism aim to address the core symptoms of the disorder at their earliest signs. This can include:
Occupational therapy (OT) plays a significant role in helping children with ASD to improve their physical, cognitive, sensory, and motor skills. It also helps to enhance their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment.
OT can help children learn essential tasks such as dressing, brushing their teeth, eating, and using the toilet. The goal is to help them become as independent as possible.
Occupational therapists can also help children understand and interpret social cues like facial expressions and body language. They teach strategies for appropriate play and interaction with peers, too.
Physical therapy can be a crucial part of the treatment plan for children with autism. It focuses on improving gross motor skills, which are larger movements the body makes, often involving the arms, legs, feet, or the entire body.
Physical therapists work with children to improve their coordination and motor skills, like walking, running, jumping, or balancing. This can help them participate in physical activities and interact with their peers.
Many children with autism may have low muscle tone or tire easily. Physical therapists use exercises and activities to build strength and endurance, which can improve their physical abilities and overall health.
While no medication can cure autism, certain drugs can help manage its symptoms and improve the quality of life for individuals with autism.
Many individuals with autism have coexisting conditions like ADHD, anxiety, depression, or epilepsy. Medications can help manage these conditions. For instance, stimulant medications like Ritalin® (methylphenidate) or Adderall® (dextroamphetamine and amphetamine) can help manage ADHD symptoms, while selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help with anxiety and depression.
Some medications can help manage behavioral symptoms associated with autism, such as irritability, aggression, hyperactivity, and self-injurious behavior.
Counseling services can play a significant role in supporting individuals with autism and their families. It can help manage symptoms, develop coping strategies, and improve quality of life.
Behavioral therapy is often the cornerstone of treatment for children with autism. Techniques such as applied behavior analysis (ABA) can help improve communication, social skills, and problematic behaviors.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help older children and adults with autism to recognize and change thought patterns leading to troublesome emotions or behavior. CBT is also beneficial for managing anxiety and depression, which are common in people with autism.
Having a child with autism can be challenging for the entire family. Family therapy provides education about autism and helps family members develop strategies to cope with stress and navigate the complexities of living with someone who has autism. You may also reach out to local autism support groups or online forums for advice and emotional support.
There’s a broad range of treatment options available for children with autism. The key is to find a treatment plan that suits your child's unique needs and circumstances. Remember, you're not alone in this journey. Call your nearest Angel Kids Pediatrics office to access special needs care for your child today, or request an appointment online any time.