Local Parents Struggle To Find Care For Autistic Child - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Local Parents Struggle To Find Care For Autistic Child

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Many parents with children that have special needs face new challenges all the time. One Moorhead family is trying to live day-to-day after learning their oldest son has autism.

"At first it was like what's he going to be able to do?" says Alicia Clements the mother of Julian who was diagnosed with Autism in August. "You have to make yourself work with your child. we have to think is that going to work with Julian, is Julian going to be okay with this?"

Alicia and Justin are parents to four kids; Julian, Jenna, Jaylee and Jayden. Everyday they have to think about Julian's needs even for tasks such as the grocery store.

"If he does focus on one thing, you have to address that one thing before you can move on to something else otherwise there is going to be a meltdown, you can't just ignore it." Alicia explains.

Alicia noticed Julian had behavior issues so they started testing him, but even with the diagnosis, behavior is something they struggle with and try to work on.

"His sisters go to school with scratches and bite marks," Alicia says with a sigh, "and he's constantly pushing them over and trying to sit on them, he just doesn't understand that that's not right, and that's not good and it hurts them."

Alicia has had to take a break from her job to be home with Julian and the kid. Doctor appointments and skill sessions constantly took her husband or her out of work. Julian also had a difficult time in daycare because some providers quickly got worn out with his set of needs.

"There isn't a center or child care center in Fargo or Moorhead for just special needs children." Alicia says frustrated.

For now the Clements family is living just on one income another worry Alicia has if she can't find a daycare and return to work soon. But there is some good news coming from his skills workers from Solutions where Julian is getting help.

"Since we've started ABA (applied behavioral annalists) with him he's following directions more clearly now, at least in a structured environment he is, and also his speech has really come along." says Licensed Psychologist Dr. Amy Ochsendorf.

"We do a lot of behavioral work and see a pretty high rate of success, especially that applied behavioral annalists for autism, when we use specific interventions that are designed to address these difficulties we see a really high rate of success." Dr. Amy says.

That success has been seen in Julian even just working with them for a short time.

"He can actually say a full sentence and let you know what he wants." Alicia says with relief.

Being able to have that communication has helped the family, but Alicia hopes the community can come together and start a daycare fit for the needs not only of Julian's but other kids as well.

"Just a normal daycare, but the staff has the experience, the staff have the patients, the staff has the education to deal with whatever comes about of it." Alicia says.

She wants to help other children with special needs and give parents like her a place for support, and a piece of mind.

If you are interested in contacting Alicia Clements to help develop the community to better fit special needs children, email her click here.

For more information on Solutions Behavioral Healthcare Professionals and what services they provide click here.

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