New kit helping parents new to autism

Thirteen years ago, Andrew Hain, was diagnosed with autism.

His father, Phillip, had little information, support or knowledge about what to do next.

"It was very tough because you're handed this diagnosis, there's no clear cut path to go through and you're just kind of saying what are we supposed to do?" said Phillip Hain.

It was frustrating and scary. His search for information led him to Autism Speaks, and to help create a guide, called the First 100 Days, for families with newly diagnosed kids.

Phillip Hain recognizes there's no one path, but all families need to know about financial resources and programs.

"The sooner you start early intervention for a child with autism, the better outlook you have potentially for your child," said Hain.

Besides medical information and resources, the 100 day kit also addresses what a parent might be feeling emotionally, and it tells you how to handle it.

"It's all right there in the book," said Stacey Schwartz.

Stacey Schwartz teaches kids with autism at Rio Vista Elementary. She's excited about another handbook for schools. From the classroom to the cafeteria, she says everyone needs to know how to support a child with autism.

"There was a whole section on positive behavior support that I thought is very important, because in order to help these students learn, they have to be re-enforced with what they're doing," said Schwartz.

Officials report more than 8,000 L.A. Unified students are diagnosed with autism. With the large numbers, experts agree everyone needs to be on the same page.

"It's good for parents, it's good for teachers, it's good for educators that are already working in the area of autism. It has many advantages," said Donnalin Juque-Anton, LAUSD, Special Education.

Today Phillip says his son is well adjusted and doing great in school, but it was a long road. He hopes this manual will make it easier for others.

"It's great to have a resource like a hundred day kit that families can go to," said Hain.

The 100 day kit was compiled by the parent advisory committee of Autism Speaks. Again, it contains the most basic information about the autism spectrum to specialized details about caregivers and types of therapies.



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