Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: Resources & Family Support
Below, you'll find information on resources and community organizations related to your child's developmental health. Some of these resources can be utilized both while you're waiting for an appointment with a developmental pediatrician or after your child is seen by one. This page is intended to provide information about community resources and does not serve as official recommendations by Lurie Children's.
- If your child is under 3 years old:
- Discuss your concerns with your child’s primary care doctor (pediatrician)
- Call your Early Intervention office to pursue therapies to support your child’s needs
- If your child is almost 3 years old or 3-5 years old:
- Discuss your concerns with your child’s pediatrician
- Contact your local school district’s special education office to request a case study evaluation. This is the first step to creating an “Individual Education Plan” and getting a placement in a preschool that fits your child’s needs. The IEP will state what kind of services the school system needs to provide your child (the kind of classroom, and potentially the kind of therapies such as speech or occupational therapy)
- Pursue therapies (speech therapy, occupational therapy, and/or physical therapy depending on your child’s needs) that support your child’s needs outside of school. Therapies can be scheduled at a center outside of school using the child’s insurance. You can talk to your child’s pediatrician about getting an order for therapy, and then call your insurance to find providers that are in-network.
These resources are part of a new diagnosis folder provided to families if their child receives an ASD diagnosis. They may also be applicable as you wait for an appointment with a Developmental Pediatrician.
- Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: A Family Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder | English / Spanish
- Information on Resources and Community Organizations (Chicago) | English / Spanish
- Information on Resources and Community Organizations (Chicago suburbs) | English / Spanish
- Special Recreation Associations:
- What is a special recreation association (SRA)?
- A special recreation association (SRA) is a cooperative formed by 2 or more park districts or municipalities to provide recreation for their residents with disabilities. Similar to the park district and village recreation departments, programs are offered year-round in the park district facilities as well as private facilities such as theaters, bowling alleys, churches, etc. (Information from Special Recreation Association Network of Illinois)
- Where to find your local SRA:
- What is a special recreation association (SRA)?
- Swim Classes | English / Spanish
- Consider checking if you’re eligible for and applying for the following benefits:
- Practicing Kindess & Awareness: Autism Edition
Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education
- Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education is a coalition of parents and citizens who advocate for quality public education for all children in Chicago and Illinois. Their website has resources and toolkits for parents around educational issues, such as special education, testing, and bullying. They also hold community conversations.
Equip for Equality
- Equip for Equality’s mission is to advance the human and civil rights of children and adults with disabilities in Illinois. They offer multiple supportive services around special education, including a hotline, online trainings, and information about your rights to special education.
Legal Council for Health Justice
- Legal Council for Health Justice has information on their website around COVID-19 and education, including resources and tools around special education rights.
Distance Learning Resources
- Lurie Children’s blog post on “COVID-19 and Educational Activities for Children”
- Chicago Public Schools is planning on providing free internet service to low income families. To access this, community organizations are supposed to be reaching out to families, but you can also call CPS directly to see if you qualify at 773.417.1060. Families will not go through Comcast or any other outside provider for this resource. You can learn more about it on CPS’s “Chicago Connected” page here.
- Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education’s "Instructions for Parents": This is a letter template parents can use to advocate for your child in advance of this school year.
- Equip for Equality has a page on their website devoted to special education rights during the COVID-19 pandemic, including links about remote learning.
- Easterseals’ “School Closure” Toolkit has sample schedules and resources to help with school closures due to COVID-19.
We know that wearing a face mask is a change for everyone, but can be especially difficult for children with ASD or other developmental delays. Here are some resources to help understand the challenges that people with ASD may experience with wearing a face mask, as well as tips and social stories to help your child understand why they may need to wear a mask.
- “Helping people with autism spectrum disorder manage masks and COVID-19 tests” (blog post from Harvard Medical School)
- Tips for wearing a mask from The Resource Center for Autism and Developmental Delays (RCADD) | English / Spanish
- Examples of social stories to help with mask wearing:
Visual supports can be very helpful with children who are visual learners, who have communication problems or who become anxious about what is happening around them. These tools help a child to know what to expect and can help prevent challenging behavior.
There are many resources on the internet that can help you create visual support systems for your child. While many of the internet resources mention “autism,” it is important to note that a child does not have to have autism to benefit from these supports.
Visual supports are particularly helpful for any child with communication delays and for young children experiencing challenging behaviors.
Want to learn more about how you can start using visual supports with your child?
- Start by reading the tip sheet here from Vanderbilt University.
- Watch a helpful video from Autism Speaks on the use of visuals (First/ Then and Visual Schedules). Again, this is not only for children with autism.
- Find and print off visuals here (daily schedules, managing anger/ frustration, identifying emotions, rewards charts, First/ Then options) from Chicago’s local Resource Center on Autism and Developmental Delay’s resource website.
- Other helpful websites for sample visual supports include:
- Indiana Institute on Disability and Community’s Visual Support Resources
- Easter Seal’s School Closure Kit (which includes visuals to support e-learning)
- Remember- you can always ask the professionals in your child’s life (teachers, therapists, pediatrician) for feedback or help with using visual supports. You can also contact UIC’s Resource Center on Autism and Developmental Delay (phone: 312.746.5447), and their professionals can help you with creating the right visual supports for your child. It may take time and practice to figure out which visual supports are most helpful.
Social Stories for Traveling:
- Autism Speaks: “Taking an airplane – A guide for people with autism”
- Airport Social Stories
- Autism Social Stories: Preparing for an Airplane Trip
App about Preparing for Airplane Travel:
Resources for the Airport
Tips for traveling