Help Me Help My Grandson With Resources In Florida

My name is Michele. I have a 4 yr old grandson named Jackson. He was diagnosed 2 yrs ago with SPD. Up until 1 year ago he was receiving the necessary therapies in his home. His parents decided to move to Florida where they thought they would have a better quality of life. He has lost all of last year as has his twin sister Gianna. She does not have SPD, but needs speech and physical therapy.

I watch Jackson on his occasional visits to New York. We love him so much! In Florida there are no therapies available until kindergarten which they will not be starting until age 6. I have been told that the early years are critical for intervention. What do you think the consequences will be if he does not receive these therapies in the near future. In NY we pay high taxes, but sometimes they work for us as in Jack's and Gianna's case. These therapies were done in the home and at no charge. They now live in Polk County, Florida.

I am so scared for his future quality of life. I feel like I am on a mission. Help me help my daughter and my son in law understand this critical need at this critical time. PLEASE!!!


The SPD Help Line Answers...


Thank you for writing. Of course you are concerned about your grandson, bless your heart!

Rest assured there are many options for your grandson here in Florida, and Polk County has several private qualified OT's which would certainly be the best option for him.

We also have Early Intervention for 3 and 4 year old's, and he may qualify for services. The Head Start programs will evaluate and possibly provide a certain level of services if he attends one of their day programs.

The level of elementary school services available here do seem to vary district by district and part of that may be due to no state income taxes. But Polk County is known to be more progressive than many of our rural counties, at this time. That area, so close to Tampa and St. Petersburg has many programs available. If your daughter and son in law are looking for free home based services, they can apply to the Elks Organization, to see if they qualify.

If the family has medical coverage or medicaid, a private OT clinic, again, would be the most comprehensive treatment for him.

True, if they do not seek services in one form or another, Jackson's behaviors and symptoms will likely worsen as time passes and the demands of school and conformity may become too overwhelming to him.

Although, we see many kids do not get therapy, until the teachers and family understand how negatively SPD can impact education and social skills. In time, it becomes an obvious need. Is it best to diligently work on his needs now? Of course. But will he still respond and improve if this issue is addressed at a later time? Yes.

I know...*smile* I have grown kids with children of their own, also. And sometimes, all I can do is plant the seed and wait and hope my adult kids will consider my advice. If and when your own adult daughter decides Jackson needs services, there are options for him, here. In the area they moved to, they will be able to find something that fits their situation.

Here is a listing of possible private OT providers in their area.

And, an Early Intervention Program in Polk County

I hope this helps. Let us know how you make out, or if you need anything further.

Michelle Morris
Administrator, SPD International

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