How you can make positive strides with your child while waiting for services

If you’re concerned about your child’s development, it can be frustrating or worrisome to have to wait for diagnostic or treatment services. But there are steps you can take to support her development while you wait.

Learn more about autism

Check the following resources to learn more about autism spectrum disorder (ASD):

  • Autism Navigator’s About Autism in Toddlers is an online tool for families interested in learning about autism. It’s available free of charge.
  • Autism Speaks has information about autism, including local resources and treatment options. Their First Concern to Action toolkit provides families concerned about their child’s development with guidance, resources and tools. 

Don’t wait for a diagnosis to begin therapies

  • If you have any worries about your child’s development, talk with your family’s pediatrician. 
  • Your pediatrician can make referrals to speech, occupational, physical and behavioral therapists who can evaluate your child. 
  • Review our parent tips and resources on communication and social interaction. 

Get a Child Find evaluation 

Call your state’s public early childhood system to request a free evaluation to determine if your child qualifies for intervention services. This is sometimes called a Child Find evaluation.

You don’t need to wait for a doctor’s referral or a medical diagnosis to make this call. Your child’s age determines where you call to receive your free evaluation.

  • If your child is older than 3, call your county or city’s special education department, share your concerns about your child and request a special education evaluation. To locate your county or city’s contact information, visit their education department website. Georgia residents can call 404-656-3963.
  • Babies Can’t Wait (BCW) is a program in Georgia that provides and coordinates services for children from birth to age 3 who have disabilities or significant developmental delays. To make a referral or find your local BCW office, call 1-800-229-2038.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has tips for what to do while you wait for services and what to say when calling to request an evaluation.

Find support

You are not alone. One of the best sources of information for learning about community resources and experiences is through parent support groups. Often, families who have children with similar needs can provide guidance and insights about available resources. 

Marcus Autism Center has a wide range of family resources that can connect you to community support groups and programs for children with disabilities. Visit the Parent to Parent of Georgia website, or call 1-800-229-2038 to find support and resources for your family.

Attend workshops

Marcus Autism Center offers a wide range of caregiver workshops to help you better understand what autism is, learn what a diagnosis means and support your child’s development.


We recognize that every child is unique and that the content of this article may not work for everyone. This content is general information and is not specific medical advice. We hope these tips will serve as a jumping off point for finding the best approach to helping a child with autism. Always consult with a doctor or healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about the health of a child. In case of an urgent concern or emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department right away. Some physicians and affiliated healthcare professionals on the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta team are independent providers and are not our employees.