Are you new to the world of autism? If your child has recently been diagnosed, it’s normal to feel a wide range of emotions – sadness, fear, anger, anxiety. No matter what you’re feeling, HMEA’s Autism Resource Central is here to guide you and your family on this journey. Our team of knowledgeable, compassionate professionals and veteran parents will give you the tools to deal with the challenges that autism brings into your life.

First, we’ll help you make sense of your child’s diagnosis, so you can understand what autism is and what services are publicly available.

Next, we’ll show you how to access the care your child needs, whether it’s ABA treatment or medication (medical management). If you’re struggling with finances or paperwork, we can help with that, as well.

Finally, we offer a wide variety of activities and workshops for you and your children, from parent support groups to family activities. Everything we provide is presented cafeteria-style, so you can utilize our services whenever you need them. Whatever you need, we’re just a click or a phone call away.

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Autism 101 workshop

If your child has recently been diagnosed with autism, we’re here to help you and your family figure out the best path for moving forward. Please join us for Autism 101, a series of educational workshops open to any family who would like to learn more about living with autism.

Our next Autism 101 workshop will be held on October 15th, 2020 at 7 PM. These will be virtual workshops held through Zoom – click below for details.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Autism?

Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears in the first three years of life. It’s the third most common developmental disability in the U.S. affecting an estimated 400,000 people. It occurs in approximately 1 of every 59 individuals and is four times more prevalent in boys than girls. It’s reported in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.

Autism affects the way a person comprehends, communicates, and relates to others. Children with autism generally show little interest in the world around them, and their communications and social interactions are severely impaired. Some children with autism acquire advanced skills, but most exhibit a wide range of behavioral challenges. Typical ASD behaviors include repetitive actions such as hand flapping or body rocking, insistence on sameness, resistance to change and, in some cases, aggression or self-injury.

What causes autism?

Autism was originally thought to be primarily a psychiatric condition. However, further investigation showed that genetic and environmental factors are implicated in the pathogenesis of autism. The effects of environmental factors such as infections and toxic chemicals on gene expression result in biochemical, immunological and neurological disorders found in children with autism.

What’s ASD, and is it different from autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are a complex set of neurological disorders that severely impair social, communicative and cognitive functions. Children on the autistic spectrum often experience difficulties with social communication and interaction and may show repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities.

How is autism treated?

Children with autism need a comprehensive treatment team which will include their educational team, and pediatrician, additional professions may include a developmental pediatrician, allied professionals such as Occupational Therapists, speech and language pathologists, neurologists , psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, gastroenterologists counselors, Board Certified Behavior Analysts and registered behavior therapists. Additional professionals may include music therapists, massage therapists and play or recreational therapists.  Each child’s unique needs will determine which specialists will be part of the team. Some therapies may be provided through their IEP (individualized education program) while others may be covered by the family’s insurance.

How much does it cost to treat autism?

On average, autism costs a family $60,000 a year. The cost of providing care for a person with autism in the U.S. is an estimated $1.4 million over their lifetime, according to a study funded by advocacy group Autism Speaks. For those with autism who are impacted with intellectual disabilities (with an IQ of 70 or less) — nearly one third of the autistic population — the cost jumps to $2.3 million. Click here for information on financial assistance.

What is DDS?

The DDS, also known as the Department of Developmental Services, is the agency designated by the State to support people with developmental disorders. Our staff can assist you in applying for eligibility services for your child. Please contact us if you need assistance.

The Department’s mission is to create, in partnership with others, innovative and genuine opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to participate fully in their communities and meaningfully engage as valued members.

DDS works with adults to connect them with an array of employment and day program supports, community living and other residential aid, and family support.

DDS works with children to provide family support and supplement educational services through specialized programs.

Services are individualized and planned using a person-centered approach. For a full listing of DDS services please refer to “See All Services”.