It happens to too many parents. They take a child in for a medical checkup, and the doctor tells them, ‘your child has autism.’
The San Antonio based Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, along with Autism Lifeline Links, today unveiled a first of its kind web portal: http://www.autismlifelinelinks.org, where families, individuals, and professionals can obtain state of the art, physician approved information on how to help children with autism thrive, and allow them to connect with other parents to get support, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
“It lets families, with one point of contact, get into the system an d have a care coordinator,” said Tullos Wells, managing director for the Foundation.
He says the care coordinator would work like a ‘concierge,’ for families with autistic kids, families who are already frustrated by a relative lack of services in South Texas.
The new web portal was unveiled at Morgan’s Wonderland, the city’s unique theme park for disabled children.
Wells said one of the biggest challenges has been the lack of coordination between organizations and providers, leaving those diagnosed with the disease or caring for someone with autism not knowing where to go for the services he or she may need.
Just like no two diagnoses are the same, neither are the services each individual or family may need.
“We can find those in San Antonio who can deal with kids with autism, and who are more patient, as they frequently need to be,” Wells said.
For example, since autistic children see the world and react to the world differently, just getting a child’s hair cut can be a challenge, as many stylists may not want to deal with an autistic child. Autism Lifeline Links can help provide information on not just medical or psychological care, but the basic challenges of life.
Among the agencies providing referrals through Autism Lifeline Links include The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio’s Comprehensive Autism Program Clinic, Respite Care of San Antonio, Children’s Association for Maximum Potential, Any Baby Can, the Arc of San Antonio, Brighton Center, Autism Community Network and Autism Treatment Center.
Autism Lifeline Links is the outcome of the Autism Prevalence Assessment, which was commissioned by the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation and released last May, representing the first time the metro San Antonio area ever had a complete understanding of the prevalence of autism.
The report showed that about 400 new cases of Autism Spectrum Disorder, the wide range of autism related conditions, like Asperger’s Syndrome, are diagnosed each year, and that number will only grow as the region grows.
There are currently more than 30,000 people in the metro area living with ASD conditions, and some 4,000 students are receiving special education support for autism. That number is expected to increase by 237% each year, and ASD already has a $2 billion economic impact annually.