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Autism, Support for Families - Pediatrics

They’re common questions families have after their child is diagnosed with autism. “What therapies are you needing? What are the schools expecting? What’s the right placement for them at school, or activities what can we do with them out in the community,” said Jennifer Mills, an autism navigator with Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. Autism navigators work with families as soon as the child is diagnosed. The program is supported by the Naples Children and Education Foundation, founders of the Naples Winter Wine Festival. “They’re overwhelmed, so we’re going to break it down for them into manageable pieces. In the clinic, we work with our developmental pediatricians and neurologists specifically. At that time of diagnosis, we are able to meet that day, at that moment with the family and help them through their journey,” explained Tara Tallaksen, another autism navigator. In addition to helping children get speech, behavioral, or physical therapy, autism navigators also make sure the parents get the support they need. “On a monthly basis, we have a couple of different parent support groups; we do monthly parent training or workshops. You can come to these places, and you can come to our playgroups, it’s a safe spot, it’s a safe place, your kids are safe, it’s a no-judgment zone,” Mills said. Navigators follow families through the diagnosis until the child is 22—offering support and guidance, so families never feel alone. 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