Tennessee Cares Network at
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Resources for Caregivers


Do you have concerns about your young child’s development?

If so, we want to be sure you know about the resources below. You can call or email to ask about them whether or not your child already has a diagnosis. There is no need to wait.

Click the arrow for details.

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Talk to this person about your concerns. Ask if they recommend having your child tested for developmental delays or differences. They may want to refer your child to a therapy, like speech therapy, occupational therapy, or physical therapy or they may recommend no testing at this time.

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If your child is under 33 months, reach out to TEIS.

  • TEIS is run by the state of Tennessee. It offers help at no cost to families that live in Tennessee. It may bill your insurance.
  • TEIS will assess a child’s speech and language skills, motor skills, learning skills, daily living skills, and social skills. Based on those results, they may offer you services. Not every child will qualify.
  • You can call and refer your own child to TEIS using this form or by calling (800) 852-7157. Primary care providers (PCPs) can also make referrals.

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If your child is over 33 months, contact your school district. The school district can provide services to children with developmental delays and disabilities starting at age 3 years.

  • You must call the school system to start this process. You will also need to fill out some forms.
  • Although any family can request an evaluation, not every child will qualify.
  • To find your county school system information:

If your child is already in school but does not receive special education services, please speak to your child’s teacher and the school guidance counselor or principal to start services.

If your child already has an IEP but receives a new diagnosis, ask that the IEP team members meet to discuss new report, goals and services.

If you have questions about school services, these groups may be able to help:

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Tennessee Disability Pathfinder provides free information, referral sources, and help with navigating services via phone, email, and website. Assistance is available to individuals of all ages, all types of disabilities, and all languages spoken. (615) 322-8529, toll-free (800) 640-4636, DisabilityPathfinder.org

These groups offer trainings, support groups, resources specific to your area, and much more.

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TRIAD’s Families First is a free workshop and education program for families of children under age 7. Families First’s goal is to equip caregivers with practical tools to support their child and to give caregivers an opportunity to talk with other caregivers with similar questions or concerns. Topics range from addressing challenging behaviors to toilet training, developing successful sleep habits, and encouraging play with siblings. Click here to register for current offerings, and click here to view a sample of prior virtual events and resources.

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TRIAD Brief Online Trainings
You must create an account, but all materials are free. After logging in, click on the “Caregiver” section you want. Then click on the training you want to watch. Some are short videos (less than 5 minutes) and others have activities and planning guides that you might work through over a few sessions. Some trainings include:

  • What is Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Early Intervention Services through TEIS
  • Transition to Preschool
  • Special Education Services for Children with ASD
  • Understanding Mental Health Needs in Autism
  • Tips for Toilet Training
  • Building Social Play and Communication Skills

Autism Speaks Toolkits
These are print/online guides that offer families helpful hints. There are many different topics such as guides on what to do while waiting for an evaluation, what to do in the first 100 days after receiving an autism diagnosis to how to have successful sleep routines and haircuts.

Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Resources
Printable resources that can be downloaded and shared.

The Tennessee Cares Network at Vanderbilt University Medical Center is funded through the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) and the Autism CARES Act #H6MMC332360100

Vanderbilt Autism Resource Line

For help with any of the above resources and supports, please reach out to our team of Family Navigators at tncares@vumc.org or (877) ASD-VUMC (273-8862)