New Autism Spectrum Diagnosis and Seeking Resources

My 2 yo son was recently diagnosed with ASD by a developmental pediatrician and I am trying to explore my options for ASD services, specifically preschools near Walnut Creek that either have experience with ASD students, work with outside ABA providers (I’m looking at STE consultants to go onsite to work with my son), and/or are Hanen or Early Start Denver Model Certified. 

I am currently hearing great things about School of Imagination in Dublin, but I’m wondering if there are other preschools that are closer?

Separately, I have heard Lafayette is the best school district for Early Intervention Services (based at Burton Valley), what are parent’s experiences with the Walnut School District with Early Intervention? How do they compare to Lafayette? Are any of their instructions Early Start Denver Model certified?

For reference, we already have him enrolled in Early Start through San Ramon Unified School District and have him going to private speech therapy twice a week. We are working to get assessed through Regional Center to get any additional resources that don’t overlap with Early Start (i.e. ABA). I am in the process of reading An Early Start for Your Child with Autism, More Than Words, and It Takes Two-any other recommendations are appreciated. 

Also, are there any mommy support groups you recommend for parents of ASD children?

Thank you!!

Parent Replies

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Firstly, you are amazing. It is not an easy task to take as many steps as you have so quickly. If you look online for the first 100 day kit (should be a free download) this may be a helpful tool. Uniquely Human is another wonderful book I recommend to every parent I work with (I’m an OT working in EI), I love the other one you mentioned as well. 

All the best to you and your amazing family! 

You're off to a great start already. We did ESDM with our daughter the first 3 years and liked the program, but there were issues that ESDM was not equipped to address. We have now been working with a company in San Rafael (long drive but worth it to us) called Cortica ( They also approach behavior similarly to ESDM type models (child led, no reinforcers), but I have found them to be a bit more comprehensive. They also offer a range of services under one roof (ABA, neurology, OT, speech, music therapy, and other services to come). I love having one place to schedule with and I love having our clinicians work together. It's not uncommon for our OT, Speech, and ABA to have a co-treating session. I believe they are planning to open an East Bay location in the next year and I know they are in the process of hiring staff for the East Bay region now. I recommend finding the Facebook group East Bay Autism Parents. You can search previous posts and find a wealth of personal recommendations and experiences. My last recommendation would be to think beyond what experts are telling you. We were thrust very quickly into ABA - that was the primary focus of every recommendation. It serves a purpose, but looking back I wish I had focused more on medical interventions OT and Speech. Good luck!