Marriage and Family Life

New Year’s Resolution: Plan for My Child’s Future

Dear Developmental Doc,
I am the father of a 6 year old boy who is severely handicapped by autism. My wife and I are doing everything we can in regards to getting him the best interventions available. But I have a nagging feeling that it’s not enough. The other night, I woke up in the middle of the night haunted by the question, who will take care of our son when we can no longer do the job? We also have a neuro-typically developing 3 year old, but I wonder whether it’s fair to saddle her with the long-term responsibility of taking care of her brother? Do you have any suggestions?

Would A Dog Help My Child’s ADHD?

Dear Developmental Doc:
I recently read an article describing the benefits of therapy dogs for kids with issues that ranged from autism to ADHD. My daughter has ADHD. She has a terrible time staying on task and maintaining sustained focus. But she loves dogs. She has been asking for a puppy since she began to talk and this month is her 10th birthday. I am considering getting her a therapy dog but wanted your opinion first. Do you think getting her a dog would help her become more organized, or am I just “crazy” and creating even more work for myself and my family?

Children Cancer Survivors: A Different Kind of Need

Dear Developmental Doc:
When our daughter was 10 months old, she contracted a rare form of cancer. Her doctors advised us that her only chance at survival was intensive chemotherapy. We were also advised as to the risks, including the possibility of developmental delays, but felt we had no choice in order to save our daughter’s life. Today, she is a healthy 6 year old. The chemotherapy did impact her development, particularly in the areas of how to make and keep friends and in academic achievement. Do you have any suggestions as to how to help her?
Ellen W., Calabasas. 

The Challenges of Having Asperger's Disorder around the Holidays

Dear Developmental Doc:
Our 9-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder last year. She’s extremely bright when it comes to school, but basically clueless in social situations. Can you suggest ideas to help prepare her for my in-law’s annual Thanksgiving weekend? My husband feels we are obligated to go, but because our daughter is so socially inept, she typically ends up embarrassing herself and I feel like a failure as a parent!
Diane R. Santa Barbara, CA.

Social Skills Groups for Children and Teens with Autism

y Dr. Esther Hess, Ph.D. (aka “The Developmental Doc”).