169 Parenting the Neurodivergent Child: What Pediatric Clinicians Need to Know

In a heartfelt conversation, host Dr. Lia Gaggino is joined by Julius Towers, a remarkable father of neurodivergent twins and advocate who opens up about his personal journey raising twins with autism. From highlighting the importance of early testing to addressing equity and stigma, this episode sheds light on the realities faced by families of children with special needs. It’s clear that the journey of parenting a child with autism is filled with challenges and uncertainties. Pediatricians have a crucial role to play in supporting families dealing with autism. By providing clear and compassionate communication, offering guidance and resources, and advocating for their patients, they can make a lasting impact on the lives of these children and their families. Together, we can build a world that celebrates neurodiversity. Let us remember that every child deserves access to early intervention and support, and it is up to each one of us to ensure that no child with autism is left behind.

      

[00:33 -19:47]  Early Identification is Key for Child Development

  • Early identification allows for timely access to necessary resources and therapies.
  • Parents should be encouraged to observe their child’s developmental milestones and seek professional guidance if any concerns arise.
  • Early intervention services can significantly improve a child’s overall development and future outcomes.
  • Building awareness about the importance of early identification can lead to better support systems for children and their families.

 

[19:48 – 30:02] Challenges Faced by Minoritized Populations  

  • Underdiagnosis issues in minoritized populations
  • Reasons for missed or dismissed diagnoses
  • Impact of underdiagnosis on health outcomes
  • Addressing disparities in healthcare through awareness and education

 

[30:03 – 43:26]  Managing overwhelming emotions

  • Acknowledge the emotional whirlwind that comes with seeking services
  • Try not to get caught up in thinking too far ahead into the future
  • Establish some emotional boundaries to prevent feeling overwhelmed
  • Seek out counseling or support groups to help navigate the journey

 

[43:26 – 59:24]  Steps for Early Diagnosis and Support 

  • Screen for developmental delays or disorders in children.
  • Provide prompt referral to early intervention programs and specialized services.
  • Educate parents and caregivers about available resources and support networks.
  • Continuously monitor and track progress to ensure appropriate interventions.

 

[59:25 – 1:05:48]  Closing segment Takeaway

You can reach Julius Towers

Email:  [email protected]

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/juliustowers

Links to resources mentioned on the show

Autism Speaks Parent Guide:  https://www.autismspeaks.org/tool-kit/parents-guide-autism

CDC ADDM Network Community Report : https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/addm-community-report/index.html

Autistic Self Advocacy Network parent guide:  https://autisticadvocacy.org/book/start-here/

The Harvard Mind Project:  https://themindproject.us/neurodiversity

 

Other episodes you may like:

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22 Pediatric Genetics and Behavioral Health: Implications for Testing

 

Key quotes for Twitter:

“The advocacy stuff, it comes to me relatively naturally. It’s why I’m a good lawyer. And then being a good lawyer makes you a good advocate, sort of a positive feedback.”… Julius Towers, single father of autistic twins

 “And it it is not equal between states or even between counties or even between boroughs in New York City.”..Julius Towers, single father of autistic twins talking on the disparity of resources

 

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Dr Lia Gaggino

Dr Lia Gaggino Host of the Pediatric Meltdown Podcast

Dr. Lia Gaggino has worked as a pediatrician for over 30 years on the west side of Michigan. During her career as a primary care physician, she has been privileged to care for children and adolescents, and know that their success is closely tied to mental wellness.

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Dr. Lia Gaggino has worked as a pediatrician for over 30 years on the west side of Michigan. During her career as a primary care physician, she has been privileged to care for children and adolescents, and know that their success is closely tied to mental wellness.

Recent Episodes

  • All Post
  • ADHD
  • Advocacy
  • Aggression and Disruptive Behaviors
  • Anxiety
  • Autism
  • Depression
  • Genetics
  • LGBTQIA+
  • Mental Health
  • Other
  • Pain
  • Parent/child
  • Physician Well-Being
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sleep
  • Social Media
  • Substance Abuse
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Trauma

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