Possibility of Placing Your Autistic Child into Care

Explore options and considerations for placing your autistic child into care. Be informed, be empowered.

steven zauderer
Steven Zauderer
April 25, 2024
10 min read
min read

Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurological and developmental disorder that affects communication, behavior, and social skills. The prevalence of ASD in the United States has nearly tripled, rising from 1 in 150 children in the year 2000 to 1 in 54 children in 2016 Total Care ABA. As part of their journey, many parents may find themselves asking, "Can I put my autistic child into care?" Before considering this question, it's essential to understand the early signs of autism and the importance of early intervention.

Early Signs of Autism

Children with ASD often exhibit certain behaviors that distinguish them from their peers. These early signs of autism may include a lack of eye contact, failure to laugh, lack of engagement with others, unusual play skills, averse behaviors, and a refusal to respond to their name Songbird Therapy. Other signs may include delayed speech, repetitive behaviors, and difficulties with social interaction Total Care ABA.

Recognizing these early signs is crucial, as it can lead to a timely diagnosis and early intervention, which can greatly improve the child's developmental trajectory and quality of life.

Importance of Early Intervention

Research indicates that early intervention can greatly improve the quality of life for children with ASD and their families. It involves providing services and support to young children who are experiencing developmental delays, such as those associated with ASD. It can include therapies and exercises aimed at improving social interaction, communication skills, cognitive abilities, and adaptive behaviors.

Early intervention is most effective when started early with young children, such as toddlers and newborns, who are exhibiting the early signs of autism. These interventions can help the child develop essential skills, reduce the symptoms of autism, and support overall development.

It's important to note that every child with ASD is unique, and the effectiveness of interventions can vary. Therefore, it's essential to work with healthcare professionals to develop an individualized plan tailored to the child's needs.

While caring for a child with ASD can be challenging, it's essential for parents to know they are not alone. Many resources are available to support them, including social workers, counselors, and community organizations. Furthermore, the decision to place an autistic child into care should be considered as a last resort and only after exploring other options and resources within the community ABTABA.

Therapies and Support for Autism

It's important to understand the various therapies and support systems available for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) when evaluating the possibility of placing an autistic child into care. These therapies can provide substantial benefits, particularly when started early with young children experiencing developmental delays, such as toddlers and newborns [1].

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the most commonly used therapy for children with autism. This therapy focuses on developing social skills, improving language competency, and enhancing good behavior using positive reinforcement techniques, rewards, and consequences. ABA therapy can be tailored to meet the unique needs of each autistic child, offering a personalized approach to their development [1].

Equestrian Therapy

Equestrian therapy, also known as therapeutic horseback riding, provides a unique approach to autism therapy. This therapy allows children with autism to ride horses in a safe environment. Research suggests that equestrian therapy can improve social and communication skills while reducing irritability and hyperactivity in children with autism [1].

Speech and Sensory Therapies

Speech therapy can be beneficial for individuals with autism, particularly for those who are higher functioning. This therapy can assist in overcoming social isolation and can also be beneficial for comorbid diagnoses that require speech therapy. It's important to note that speech therapy's effectiveness can vary from individual to individual, and it's recommended to consult a speech therapist for a comprehensive evaluation.

Sensory integration therapy is another therapeutic approach for individuals with autism. This therapy aids in controlling sensory input and managing sensory overload, as autism can affect how sensory information is processed. This could potentially lead to sensory over-stimulation or under-stimulation. Sensory integration therapy can help regulate these sensory experiences, promoting a more balanced sensory lifestyle for autistic individuals [1].

These various therapies and support systems play a critical role in the care of autistic children. It's crucial to understand their benefits and suitability for each individual child when considering the decision of placing an autistic child into care.

Financial Planning for Special-Needs Children

Financial planning is a critical aspect when considering care options for a child with autism. The financial decisions you make can significantly impact the quality and range of care your child can access. This section will educate you on the lifetime costs associated with autism care, the eligibility for various federal programs, and the importance of establishing trusts and insurance.

Lifetime Costs and Financial Support

The financial implications of raising a child on the autism spectrum are substantial. According to a Harvard study in 2014, the lifetime cost to financially support someone on the autism spectrum is $1.4 million. This figure rises to $2.3 million if the person has an added intellectual challenge [2].

Lifelong Cost Cost (million dollars)
Autistic individual 1.4
Autistic individual with additional intellectual challenges 2.3

These figures underscore the need for sound financial planning and support to ensure the child's needs are met throughout their lifetime.

Eligibility for Federal Programs

Several federal programs can provide financial support for families with special-needs children. However, these programs have strict guidelines for eligibility. For instance, to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a special-needs child must have less than $2,000 in savings [2]. Therefore, careful planning is necessary to ensure that the child's future is secure while maintaining eligibility for these essential programs.

Setting Up Trusts and Insurance

There are several financial tools that families can utilize to secure the financial future of a child with autism. One such tool is the 529 ABLE Account, which allows families to contribute up to the maximum gift exclusion each year, $15,000 for 2018, for the benefit of their special-needs child. This account allows for tax-free distributions for qualified expenses without jeopardizing the child's eligibility for federal benefits [2].

In addition to an ABLE account, a special-needs trust can act as a supplement to ensure that the child's lifetime expenses are covered. The beneficiary has no direct control over the trust, preserving their eligibility for federal benefits.

For parents with special-needs children, long-term care insurance can help cover health-related expenses. The median annual cost of a home health aide in the U.S. is $49,188 for 44 hours of care per week, and $97,452 for a private room in a nursing home.

Care Type Annual Cost (USD)
Home Health Aide (44 hours/week) 49,188
Private Room in Nursing Home 97,452

These financial planning measures can ensure that the necessary resources are available to provide the best possible care for a child with autism.

Care Options for Autistic Children

Deciding on the best care options for autistic children is a complex and personal decision that requires careful consideration. There are several options available that aim to support the development and well-being of autistic children while providing respite for their families. These options include in-home services and training, special needs daycare centers, and respite care.

In-Home Services and Training

In-home services and parent training can be effective care options for autistic children. These services offer personalized support tailored to the child's unique needs and development goals. They provide one-on-one attention and care in the familiar and comfortable environment of the child's own home.

In addition, parent training is often part of in-home services. This training equips parents with the skills and knowledge they need to manage their child's behavior, promote development, and navigate daily life with ease. In-home services and parent training also provide much-needed respite for families, reducing stress and improving the overall family dynamic.

Special Needs Daycare Centers

Special needs daycare centers offer another care option for autistic children. These centers provide specialized care and support tailored to the unique needs of autistic children. They offer a structured environment where children can engage in directed play and learning activities, interact with peers, and receive therapeutic interventions as needed.

These daycare centers are staffed by professionals trained in working with special needs children. This ensures that children receive the care and attention they need while parents have peace of mind knowing their child is in capable hands. Moreover, these centers can provide a much-needed break for parents, offering them some time to rest, work, or attend to other responsibilities.

Respite Care and Benefits

Respite care is another important care option for families with autistic children. It provides temporary relief for parents, allowing them to take a much-needed break while their child receives care from trained professionals. Respite care can be provided in the child's home or in a specialized respite care facility.

The benefits of respite care go beyond mere rest. It can reduce stress, improve family well-being, and prevent caregiver burnout. Moreover, it can provide autistic children with opportunities for socialization, new experiences, and development of independence. All these contribute to the overall well-being and development of the child and the family.

In making the decision on whether to place an autistic child into care, it's important to consider these options and evaluate them based on the child's specific needs, the family's circumstances, and the potential benefits and challenges each option presents. The decision is deeply personal and should be made with the child's best interests at heart.

Factors to Consider Before Placing a Child into Care

Choosing to place an autistic child into care can be a complex and emotional decision for parents. It's a choice often made after exploring other options and resources within the community, and it's typically viewed as a last resort. Before making this decision, it's crucial to consider various factors including professional guidance, legal rights, and the potential psychological impact on parents.

Professional Guidance and Support

Considering professional guidance and support is an important step when questioning, "can I put my autistic child into care?" Consultation with professionals such as social workers, counselors, or attorneys can provide necessary guidance during this process. Foster care, for instance, is designed to be a temporary solution while a permanent placement is identified [4].

However, it's also important to consider the financial impact of raising an autistic child, which can be substantial. The annual cost can range from $17,000 to $26,000, with the total cost through the child's 18th birthday reaching around $1.4 million. The expenses associated with respite care, behavioral therapists, speech pathologists, and occupational therapists can quickly add up, creating a discrepancy between income and expenses. These financial concerns can contribute to additional stress and feelings of guilt among parents who may be considering placing their child into care.

Legal Rights and Protections

Familiarizing oneself with the legal rights and protections provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is essential. This act ensures that people with autism are not discriminated against in various aspects of life, including education, employment, and access to services. Understanding these rights can empower parents in advocating for their child's needs.

Psychological Impact on Parents

Caring for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) often results in psychological distress for parents, leading to symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental or physical health problems. Improved mental health and well-being among parents can positively influence the effectiveness of interventions and the overall functioning of the family. However, parents of children with ASDs often report increased levels of stress, depression, and anxiety, which can significantly impact their own well-being and quality of life [4].

Placing an autistic child into care is never seen as a decision of abandonment. Instead, it is a choice made out of love and concern for the child's well-being.

By placing an autistic child into care, parents can ensure that their child receives specialized attention and support tailored to their unique needs. Caregivers within these settings are often trained in autism care and have the expertise to address the challenges associated with the condition [4].

Hiring and Evaluating Caregivers for Autistic Children

When contemplating the question, "can I put my autistic child into care", it's essential to consider the caregiver's qualifications and understanding of autism. They play a critical role in the child's development and daily life.

Importance of Autism Knowledge

When hiring a caregiver for an autistic child, their knowledge of autism is one of the most critical factors to consider. This includes an understanding of the diverse ways autism can manifest, the different types of therapies available, and the unique needs and abilities of children with autism.

Formal training or certification in autism care can be a valuable asset, but it's not the sole basis for hiring. The caregiver's rapport with the child and their practical understanding of autism are equally important [5].

Understanding ABA Techniques

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a commonly used therapy for children with autism. It involves understanding the child's behavior and implementing techniques to encourage positive behaviors and reduce harmful or disruptive ones.

Having a caregiver with knowledge of ABA techniques can be particularly beneficial for children with autism. They can continue implementing these techniques at home, ensuring consistency and continual progress in the child's development.

Traits of an Effective Caregiver

When evaluating potential caregivers for a child with autism, certain traits stand out as particularly beneficial. These include:

  • Ability to work unsupervised: An effective caregiver should be able to manage their tasks and responsibilities independently, while also being open to constructive criticism.
  • Patience: Handling potential tantrums and respecting the child's routine are integral parts of caring for a child with autism. It requires a patient and understanding caregiver.
  • Compassion and selflessness: Caregivers who show empathy, compassion, and a willingness to put the child's needs first can significantly improve the child's care experience.
  • Good rapport with the child: A caregiver should have a positive relationship with the child, understanding their unique needs and ways of communication.
Traits Importance
Autism Knowledge High
Understanding ABA Techniques High
Ability to Work Unsupervised High
Patience High
Compassion and Selflessness High
Good Rapport with the Child High

Selecting the right caregiver can provide parents with much-needed time for self-care, benefiting both the parents and the child. It's a decision that requires careful consideration and evaluation, ensuring that the caregiver is a good match for the child's needs.







steven zauderer

CEO of CrossRiverTherapy - a national ABA therapy company based in the USA.

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