What is Autism?
It used to be that kids with neurological disorders were often criticized by society – both at home and at school. Parents would be frustrated with their children and their children had no clue why they were misunderstood.
Nowadays we understand that kids with neurological disorders just navigate the world differently. Parents now have resources and autism services available to both help them understand their neurologically different kid, and for the child to understand how their brain works.
Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD for short), is one such developmental disability. People on the ASD spectrum may be challenged in their learning, thinking, and communication abilities.
Signs of autism start in early childhood, although it is not always diagnosed at a young age.
Within the autism community, there is a lot of debate over how people prefer to be addressed, the symbolism used to represent those on the spectrum, and even what constitutes good therapy.
This chart is an example of the different ways people conceptualize ASD.
The reason for the circular grid is because autism looks different for each impacted individual. Two different autistic people will experience ASD in very different ways, yet they both have autism.
5 Helpful Things to Know About Parenting a Child on the Autism Spectrum
Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder Experience a Wide Variety of Symptoms
Sensitivity to sounds, difficulty relating to others, excessive interest in specific topics or subjects, unexpected emotional responses, and picky eating are just a few. Not every person experiences all of the symptoms, and the degree to which they are experienced will vary.
Children on the Spectrum can Make Great Improvements with Early Intervention
Children on the autism spectrum can make significant improvement in their ability to function at home and school and in the community. Research shows that early intervention for children on the autism spectrum is crucial to their success.
Different Methods Work for Different Kids With Autism Spectrum Disorder
I have learned that certain methods (such as the use of visual supports) work for nearly all children with autism. I have also learned that you have to be creative with each kid. You have to incorporate their intense interests into therapy and start where they are.
You are Not Alone In Your Journey to Care for Your Special Needs Child
Accepting that your child is different but still recognizing all of his or her talents is key. Advocating for your child in all settings (school, child care, the community, with your relatives and elsewhere) is also important. You are not alone and there are local autism services that can help you.
Talk to Your Doctor About Your Child’s Development
If you have concerns about your child’s development, your pediatrician is a good place to start. Your child’s preschool, school, or local ISD are all good resources, too.
Autism Services in West Michigan & Grand Rapids
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8001 Patterson Ave SE, Caledonia, MI 49316
Everyone - all ages, physical, mental, and social (dis)abilities - are welcome at Karin’s Horse Connection!
Our experienced and certified staff works with 25 well trained, happy horses/ponies to meet a variety of needs. No matter if you want to nurture your mental health, build muscle and balance, healthy confidence, or to raise your quality of life, we can pick YOU up where YOU are individually.
In addition to traditional saddles, we use unique equipment which offers more security through big handles and a wider range of motion for the rider. You can also safely experience the different movements of the horse (slower/faster).
Horses are beneficial for your health and FUN!
Our goal is to connect you to the healing power of horses and bring a smile to your face.
“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of man.” -Winston Churchill
“Karin’s Horses have been a life-enhancing experience for my nephew over the last 13 years. Through riding/vaulting he has improved strength, confidence, balance, self-worth, and quality of life.” -Pat
2505 Ardmore SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Established in 1982, your local nonprofit Comprehensive Therapy Center provides programs and services to meet the therapeutic and educational needs of children with disabilities.
Our professional staff help children and families through skill building, academic enhancement, and social emotional support.
Services include dance/movement therapy, myofunctional therapy, occupational therapy, sensory therapy, and speech-language pathology.
Programs include playgroups for children 0-5, social groups for school-age children, parent support and counseling services, our clinical summer program Therapy & Fun, creative arts classes, and more.
CTC is CARF accredited and part of the Kent County Ready by Five Provider Network.
“Levi has almost reached his goal, and I am speechless at his progress. We highly recommend [CTC] and talk about it’s benefits at our IEP meetings and with fellow parents.”
3292 North Evergreen Drive NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
2900 East Beltline Avenue NE, Suite F, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
At BRAINS, we strive to change lives by identifying each individual's unique strengths and potential for growth and incorporating these traits into attainable goals.
BRAINS is an assessment and treatment center offering a variety of services to help children and families navigate the journey to better mental and physical health.
Our team of professionals offer expertise in psychological and neuropsychological assessments, counseling, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and applied behavior analysis.
Our multidisciplinary approach ensures a comprehensive and customized treatment plan.
Contact us today to discover how BRAINS can help your child thrive at home, at school, and in the community!
Our evaluation and recommendations were spot-on and life-changing for our family! We have recommended BRAINS to others and will continue to do so. - Cindy Meteyer
3737 Lake Eastbrook Boulevard Southeast Suite 218, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Duncan Lake Speech Therapy, LLC is a small, private speech-language pathology clinic based in Grand Rapids.
Our goal is to provide client-centered, collaborative services, and to live into the values of representation, diversity, inclusion, and cultural responsiveness.
Our services include treatment for articulation/phonological disorders, apraxia of speech, expressive/receptive language disorders, stuttering, early language delays, orofacial myofuncational disorders, AAC, and speech disorders related ASD, Down Syndrome, ADHD, and Cerebral Palsy.
We also offer gender-affirming voice modification for folks of all ages.
Contact us today for more information about how we can serve you and your family.
We have loved our experience with Duncan Lake Speech Therapy! Tamiko and her team have always been super flexible, especially during the uncertainty of a global pandemic.
Family Nest ABA Therapy is different from other ABA Therapy providers in that we provide not just insurance based services for those with an autism diagnosis, but we also provide an affordable private pay model that can be customized to fit individual families needs.
Our behavior concierge service focuses on parent training, observation and data collection, and in-home implementation of family behavior plans while working hand in hand with caregivers to ensure support.
Examples of in-home service to address family needs include behavioral challenges, school behavior, sleep disruptions, toileting, siblings relationships, self-care, and independence.
2922 Fuller Ave NE , Suite 107, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Building Blocks Therapy Services mission is to provide professional speech and language services from infancy to adulthood for a variety of disorders.
We are dedicated to offering the highest quality, research based, speech and language treatment plans that are individualized to each client.
Every therapist at Building Blocks is passionate about providing knowledge and skills that will enhance the daily lives of the clients and their families.
1260 Ekhart St NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Wedgwood provides comprehensive early intensive behavioral intervention services for young children with autism spectrum disorders.
Exceptional, high-quality, individualized, center-based therapy is offered in a fun, engaging environment that sets kids and families up for brighter futures.
2251 East Paris Ave, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Family Tree Therapies is a private clinic that specializes in occupational and speech therapy.
Our unique approach combines the best of all current research-based therapy techniques and individualize a program for your child.
We work together as a team to understand your child’s sensory system and communication skills.
3181 Prairie St SW, Suite 110, Grandville, MI 49418
We specialize in the treatment of pediatric speech sound disorders, language disorders, and literacy skills for children ages 2-18 throughout Michigan.
Our therapists are ASHA-certified Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) who have the knowledge and expertise to help your child reach milestones and advance their language skills.
Our whole world has improved over here. My son has built so much confidence and is living a better quality of life within just a few months of beginning speech.
3010 Wilson Ave. SW, Grandville, MI 49418
Apogee Therapy Center is a family owned business offering speech therapy, physical therapy, and nutrition therapy to patients from infancy to adulthood.
Our friendly, knowledgeable clinicians are committed to providing individualized treatment plans to treat the whole patient.
Apogee is here to help you reach your peak performance!
Horizons Developmental Resource Center
Horizons works with individuals and families who have a variety of neurological, psychological, physical, and relational symptoms.
Includes assistance for children with Bipolar Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Traumatic Brain Injury and many more.
Autism Family Network
Autism Family Network... enhancing the lives of families affected by autism.
Michigan Autism Parents
This page was made for Michigan Moms, Dads, and caregivers to connect, share, ask questions, get advice/opinions, and make friendships.
Grand Rapids Area Autism Moms and Dads
For the greater Grand Rapids area. This group can be a place to connect with other parents with autistic kids, vent (we all need that at times), offer tips and encouragement to one another, plan days out as well as play dates for our kids and more.
Autism Support of Kent County
Inside the Special Olympics Unified Sports & Inclusion Center, Room 5
Autism Support of Kent County (ASK) works to provide services that make it possible for individuals with autism to lead healthier and more productive lives.
ASK funds programs, worth over $75,000 annually, for individuals affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families.
Autism Support of West Shore
Autism Support of West Shore (ASWS) is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization advocating and supporting meaningful participation in all aspects of life for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families throughout the West Michigan area.
ASWS provides informal social groups, workshops, family activities, scholarships for services and teacher training and more.
Our behavior analytic professionals develop, apply, and share the latest advances in the science of ABA, always focused on data and outcomes.
Acorn Health providers combine proven best practices with pioneering, evidence-based next practices, engaging whole families.
Testing & Assessment Center - Counseling Center of West Michigan
Counseling Center of West Michigan provides a wide range of psychological testing and assessments, each led by psychologists with extensive experience and training in neuropsychological and psychological testing and interpretation.
Testing is offered in Grand Rapids and at our Muskegon Campus.
Center for Neuropsychology and Behavioral Health
Providing both assessment and intervention services, Dr Crystal Young helps children and families to address concerns related to learning, development, mood, behavior, and other factors.
Dr. Young believes in the importance of collaborating with other providers including schools, physicians, and other therapists to help you effectively advocate for your child’s needs. She will also work closely with your child’s physicians to provide guidance in treatment planning.
Providing testing & assessment for ADHD, autism, learning disabilities and cognitive impairment at the Psychological Consultation Center and Parent Support and Counseling Services through the Outpatient Clinic Network.
Students who reside within Grand Rapids Public Schools are provided services in a continuum of settings including home or school buildings located throughout the district.
Programs include: Early Childhood Special Education, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Emotional Impairment, Moderate Cognitive Impairment, and Resource Programs.
Ken-O-Sha Early Childhood Center provides services to children birth through age five with developmental delays.
Mary Free Bed Pediatric Rehabilitation and Therapy
An inpatient rehabilitation hospital where pediatric doctors, nurses, and therapists treat young people who have experienced brain injury, brain related illnesses and concussion, cancer, neurological conditions, stroke, spinal cord injury, fractures, chronic pain conditions, surgery, burns and other debilitating illnesses and injuries.
Paper Plane Therapies
At Paper Plane Therapies, we create an engaging, warm, and creative atmosphere that considers the needs of the entire family. It is our goal to identify barriers and construct a functional plan to help the child and their family reach their fullest potential and lead happy and healthy lives.
All locations are open, providing center, in home, and telehealth treatment options.
Through ABA therapy and comprehensive clinical services, we provide everyone we serve with an opportunity to thrive.
Michigan Alliance for Families
A statewide resource for families of children with disabilities to help improve educational services and outcomes.
Autism Services & Resources in the State of Michigan or Nationwide
- The Autism Society of Michigan
- Project Find (800-252-0052) can both point you in the right direction if you want to have your young child evaluated.