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Autism Navigators - Pediatrics

It can be an overwhelming time for families. “A lot of our families come in with a diagnosis, and we don’t want them to feel like they are alone,” said Jennifer Mills, an autism navigator with Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. Mills works with families as soon as a child is diagnosed with autism. “It is initially just swallowing this pill of, ok my child has this diagnosis, then to, what does this mean to my family and what is this going to look like when we’re out in the community, and what kind of services and resources are available? And that’s what we do as navigators, is we try to bridge that gap,” she explained. Through clinical therapies to community outreach programs, autism navigators make sure families and children have the tools they need to manage their diagnosis “We’re here to help you, and we get the resources started from day one. If the doctor ordered speech or OT or whatever he ordered, we get that started now,” said Tara Tallaksen, an autism navigator with Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. In addition to helping the child, navigators can also help parents get established in monthly support groups where they focus on managing stress and anxiety. “They’re able to contact us as well, through email or just on our direct number, if they just want to talk or work through a problem, we are really just there to support them. That’s really what the navigators do I just support the family,” said Tallaksen. Helping children get the therapies they require while ensuring their families get the support they need. View More Health Matters video segments at Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care. Visit