We started with a group of parents with one common bond: children with autism. Back in 1997, the diagnosis was only given to about 5 in 10,000 (reference here). It was clear that those numbers were beginning to increase, but to those parents gathered, it was still isolating, frightening, and largely unknown. Services were nearly non-existent; early intervention was usually difficult to access as the age of diagnosis at that time was usally about the age that children aged out of EI. Support programs were scattered, the Central Massachusetts region was the last region in the state to have a Resource Center funded. Something needed to be done.
With some funding and direction from DDS (then the Department of Mental Retardation), the Center set up shop in West Boylston, MA. HMEA, Inc. became the parent agency (and remains so today) and from the moment the doors were open, families have been welcomed on a daily basis.
Today, the Center supports over 2,700 children AND THEIR FAMILIES, and average 3 new families per week into membership.
Membership is free, and all of the programs and events are free or low cost, with all fees collected going right back into supporting our mission. We provide support, information, referral, family activities & events, educational & therapeutic programs for children with autism as well as siblings, school vacation events and community partnerships to area businesses.
We are the "Center" of the autism community in Central Massachusetts. Learn more about Autism and the Center by clicking on the menu items to the left, or call us at any time at (508) 835-4278.