FAQ's Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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  • How common is ASD?

    Most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC, 2023) indicate that 1 in 36 children in the U.S. has an autism spectrum disorder.

  • How is ASD diagnosed?

    At this time, there is no blood or medical testing that can detect ASD. Rather, diagnosis is based on a pattern of behaviors which are described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The most recent version of this manual, DSM-5, was published in May of 2013. Diagnosis of an ASD requires a comprehensive evaluation using specialized assessment tools and completed by a professional with extensive knowledge and training related to autism. Appropriate evaluations provide assessment across a range of areas (e.g., motor functioning, communication, socialization, play, thinking skills, coping skills).

  • What causes ASD?

    While currently there is no known single cause for ASD, it is generally accepted that ASD is biological and affects brain development. In some cases, specific genetic syndromes, such as Rett's Syndrome, Fragile X and tuberous sclerosis, result in symptoms of ASD. Other genetic causes, such as small copying errors in the genetic code, have recently been identified and research is investigating environmental factors that may be linked to ASD. In general, there appear to be different types of ASD which may be associated with many different causes.

  • How is ASD treated?

    Although there is currently no known cure for ASD, there is substantial evidence that individuals can make remarkable progress with early intervention and appropriately tailored therapies and interventions. The ideal treatment plan is one that coordinates therapies and interventions that target core symptoms: impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and obsessive or repetitive routines and interests. Most professionals agree that the earlier the intervention, the better.

  • Who does CARD serve?

    CARD serves all children and adults who have autism spectrum disorders, dual sensory impairment (deaf-blindness), a vision or hearing loss in addition to other disabling conditions, or genetic disorders that may co-exist with autism symptoms (e.g., Fragile X Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, Tuberous Sclerosis). CARD is required to obtain documentation of an eligible diagnosis in order for an individual to receive our services. However, we will also guide individuals and families in their efforts to obtain appropriate diagnostic evaluations.

  • What do I need to do to become a client?

    Individuals or families must officially register with CARD in order to receive our services. Individuals who have recently received an eligible diagnosis or family members of those individuals can become a client of CARD by completing our online form.  At that point, the individual or family member can choose to schedule a virtual or phone appointment with one of our case managers to share their story and begin to get their needs addressed.  You will need to provide documentation confirming the eligible diagnosis for you or your family member.  

     If you are not yet registered or not sure if you are registered, just give us a call. We will be happy to check for you. If you are registered, then you can receive services immediately. If you are not, you can begin receiving them once you complete our registration form. If the service you require involves consulting with a school or agency, your case manager can assist you with this process. 

  • What does CARD do?

    The specific service we provide, and the intensity of our support will depend entirely on what the individual or family members identify as their current priorities and if those priorities are within the scope of CARD services.  

    Primary services offered by CARD include client and family support services (i.e., information, resources, referrals, and support groups), programmatic technical assistance and consultation services (i.e., supporting programs in their efforts to more effectively meet client needs), training services (client, family, and professional), and public education and awareness activities. CARD does not provide diagnostic or treatment services. (See tab below)

  • Can my child be diagnosed at CARD?

    No, we are not able to perform diagnostic evaluations, but we will help families find a qualified professional if they are seeking a diagnosis. We are also happy to talk with families after a diagnostic evaluation, to explain results, to answer remaining questions, or to provide other information.

  • How often can families contact CARD?

    You can call us as often as you need. We only have a small staff to serve 3 counties in South Florida, so we may not always be immediately available, but we will get back to you as soon as possible. Individuals or families may call us whenever they need support, information or to share something (we especially love to hear your success stories!). Schools or other organizations that serve individuals with autism spectrum or related disabilities may also call us when they need training, information, or consultation and assistance. All services are provided at no cost.

  • How is CARD funded?

    CARD is funded primarily by the Florida Legislature through a grant to the University of Miami from the Florida Department of Education. CARD additionally receives funding from fundraising events throughout the year, including our annual fundraiser, Tropical Nights, and through various grants from funding partners, including The Children's Trust, The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation, Canon, and others.