Article by Laura Ketcham
UM-NSU CARD is an organization to help children and adults with autism. This specific organization is based out of two South Florida universities including the University of Miami and Nova Southeastern at three different locations. There are also other regional centers around Florida, based at the various Universities, and also other organizations around the United States that have the similar goals. UM-NSU CARD provides family support services, consultations, training programs, and community outreach to individuals with autism, their families, and individuals who work with them.
Individuals who ask for assistance with a child or adult with autism from UM-NSU CARD are served at their home or schools. The staff members travel there and may help them with various concerns including behavioral, communication, or learning difficulties. They will make suggestions for therapies or programs that may help the individual with autism. They cannot help with providing a diagnosis for the individual, but can help families to obtain information to contact physicians or organizations that can help with those needs.
Their website also has many online resources for educators and parents to learn more about various services, facts, therapy options, behavior and social modifications and strategies to support individuals with autism. These resources can help teachers and parents to learn more about autism, therapies and programs that can help the child build socially appropriate behaviors, and teaching strategies for learning new skills.
Being part of this organization allows the parents and teachers to join this “community” in South Florida. It can open doors to meet other families or teachers working with children who have autism. Building this network can lead to finding therapy options, programs, strategies, or other connections for assisting children with autism. UM-NSU CARD holds various fundraising events and support group sessions throughout the year in both Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.
There are many other support groups throughout the nation that provide similar services. Many of these are federally funded and run through local universities. These can be helpful organizations to provide the needed assistance and education for both parents and teachers to help autistic children to lead independent and successful lives.