When my daughter Ashlyn was five years old, she was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. It was after her diagnosis and experiencing the frustration, stress and overwhelming emotions that I made the decision to find a better way. The last 10 years have led me on a path committing to building technology that can empower patients and help them access care and resources in their own unique way. The impersonal experiences that myself and family encountered fueled the creation of CareStarter and our commitment to resources for parents and caregivers at their fingertips.
It’s been 10 years since Ashlyn’s autism diagnosis. For those parents and caregivers, I can tell you it gets easier. My family and I still have many milestones and years to go, but with more research and information available for parents and healthcare professionals than ever before, we have a better idea of where to go for support, resources and information after the point of diagnosis and throughout our children’s lives.
Here are six great resources for autism spectrum disorder in Austin, Texas, and beyond. You can access thousands of more resources by downloading the CareStarter app by clicking here.
- Austin Autism Parent Groups. You might not realize it but Austin has a very strong special needs parenting support community. If you live in North Austin, I recommend, checking out the meetup calendar for the North Austin Special Needs Parents Group. They offer night outs, bowling and other fun activities for you and your family. The group also has an active Facebook Group too.
- Gemiini Learning. While not Austin-based, Gemiini has a wonderful learning program for language learning and modeling. Their resources include online including videos as well as other offline resources.
- Brad Mason – Intensive Care for You. Brad Mason provides autism counseling in Austin. In addition to his practice, he has a wonderful online course series that includes a combination of videos and ebooks. His site also has a page dedicated to free resources he has compiled for patients, parents and web visitors.
- Austin Summer Camps for Autism. Not yet released for 2016, but the Autism Society of Central Texas has a great list every year of summer camps for those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder including the Austin area. Bookmark the link because they’ll be unveiling their list soon.
- I Can For Autism App. Karen Kabiko-Sitko has a great autism app for IOS (apple) devices that is focused on improving communication and making this type of learning fun.
- Warrior Parents of Greater Austin. This is another great Facebook parent Autism support group. I’m a little biased however, because this group is managed and moderated by my wife, Jackie.
My goal has always been to elevate the level of care, better connecting families to providers helping to improve the level of care and information they receive. We’re all in this together. As a parent, there is no eject button. Ashlyn is my daughter, and I developed CareStarter after many conversations with friends and family asking, “What can we do to help a child who has a special healthcare need and their parents to be successful?”
Do you have any other great Austin autism resources? Leave a comment and I look forward to hearing from you.
Lamarque Polvado is the CEO and founder of CareStarter, a free pediatric and healthcare resource and mobile app currently available in the state of Texas. He’s an entrepreneur, father, husband and TedX speaker. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
Peoples Rx is a proud to be a featured provider on the partner with the CareStarter app app, and a partner in serving the Austin pediatric special care population!