On July 25, 2012, I could hear the neuropsychologist’s words, but I could not process what she meant. She said, “Mrs. Male, Leo has been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.” “What does that mean?,” I replied.  She responded, “Your son is on the Autism spectrum. He has an Autism diagnosis.”

LeoI could not remember how I got myself from the neurologist’s office, and into my car. I can remember staring at my lap with tears trickling down my face, but also feeling relieved that a professional validated my observations regarding my two and a half year old son’s behaviors.

To confirm the cliché, a million things do go through your mind as a parent. Will my son be able to communicate? Will he be able to go to a regular school? What services are out there to support him, and our family?

The rest of the week was a foggy memory, but when my husband and I sat down, decompressed, and digested the news about Leo’s diagnosis that weekend, our thoughts immediately jumped to Leo’s future and financial stability.

How can Leo support himself, if we were no longer here? What steps would we need to take in order to ensure that someone has his best interests in mind, if something were to happen to the both of us?

As a parent of a special needs child, I have peace of mind knowing that I can turn to our office for these answers.

About Janie

Janie is the Director of Care Coordination for Rothkoff Law Group, and elder law firm. Janie brings a variety of experiences to the team as a graduate of the Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research with her Masters in Social Service. Janie has focused her efforts on empowering and advocating for her elderly clients with the Senior Services Department of Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Southern New Jersey, and the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging. Janie obtained a business degree from St. Joseph’s University. When not in the office, Janie helps to organize and host events for the Filipino-American Association of South Jersey. In addition, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling to Europe and Asia, and at the Jersey Shore.

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