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Outreach FAQs

Man and women reading autism book

Do you have a question not listed below?
Contact us, and we'll be happy to help.

I think my child might have autism. Where can I go for an assessment?
Our Center for Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics offers assessment, diagnosis and treatment for children with or at risk for developmental and behavioral disabilities. For information about the referral process to the center, visit the Referrals and Appointments page.  Also, feel free to utilize our lending library, where we have hundreds of books on autism available for check-out.

Are there support groups available locally for families of children with autism? 
Yes.  For instance, the Chattanooga Autism Center offers support groups for parents, as well as social groups for children, training opportunities, and other events. 

There’s a lot to learn about how to make sure my child is getting the education she needs, and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. Is there any place I can go to get some help?
Tennessee is fortunate to have an active organization dedicated to helping families understand their rights under the law regarding the education of their child with special needs. Contact STEP (Support and Training for Exceptional Parents) for information about their trainings or for personal assistance with ways to work with your local school to meet your child’s special needs.

My child has a physical disability. Is there a local summer camp he or she can attend?
We are fortunate to have many summer camp opportunities available in the region. Check out the list on the Chattanooga Autism Center’s website or look at the places listed by condition by the Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.  

I’m pregnant and was just informed that my child will have Down syndrome. Can you connect me to local resources that can help?
The Chattanooga Down Syndrome Society offers periodic mini-conferences, newsletters, and social gatherings. They are affiliated with the Down Syndrome Policy Network of Tennessee, the National Down Syndrome Society and the National Down Syndrome Congress. 

How can I help my parents and other extended family members better understand and support my child with a disability?
To enlist support from family members encourage them to:

  • Focus on the whole child, not just the disability
  • Accept reality
  • Be patient and flexible
  • Learn as much as possible about the diagnosis. 
  • Seek advice from you, the parent, when they have questions. Ask, ask, ask!
  • Relate to other grandparents to discover tips for successful relationships 

My child has some real behavior issues. My mother thinks I give in to him too much. But if I don't give in I have to deal with his temper tantrums. I'm exhausted. What can I do to make life easier for both of us?
Temper tantrums are exhausting, both for the parent and the child. A tantrum is often the result of pent-up frustration that builds and builds until an explosion erupts. Be aware that even though it is unpleasant for you to endure the tantrum, it may be worse for your child. At that point, he is out of control and may be frightened by his own behavior. Protect him from hurting himself and don't waste your effort at trying to argue or reason with the child during the tantrum. Try to organize your schedules so that unnecessary frustration is avoided. For example, avoid grocery shopping when the child is hungry. And remember to refrain from either punishing or rewarding the child for a tantrum.  Be aware, too, that there are times when a child will use  behaviors that resemble those of tantrums to get what he wants. He may be very much in control but testing to see if the behaviors help him get what he wants.