Navigating the world of autism when you have a teenager can be challenging. It’s not only a time filled with school and relationships, but it’s also the time to start planning for your child’s transition into adulthood and adult services. We’re here to guide you along the way with these resources and services.

Workshops

IEP Clinics (by appointment)
If you have a child who’s eligible for DDS services, they’ll also be eligible for our IEP clinics, which take place at our Worcester location. You’ll meet with a trained Special Education Advocate for an hour to review their child’s IEP and receive assistance and guidance on special education law procedures to request a change in plans. By the end of the clinic, you’ll leave with a written plan of action.

Sensory Clinics (by appointment)
During our Sensory Clinics, you’ll have the opportunity to consult with a licensed Pediatric OTR/L provider, who will work with your child for four half-hour sessions. A Sensory Profile Assessment will be done which will identify any sensory specific needs your child may or may not have. You’ll be given resources including websites, DIY sensory equipment, and sensory play activities. At the conclusion of the sessions, you’ll also be given an individual “sensory diet” for your child. Please contact us for an appointment time.

Activities

Family Fun for Teens and Young Adults
Are you up for a trip to the movies? How about a bowling night? For families with teens who have autism, we offer monthly community outings to give them an opportunity to socialize in a supportive environment. Teens who participate have input into the activities planned.

Camp Havvago (for children aged 7-16)
Anyone who has ever been to a summer camp knows it’s a place where unforgettable memories are made. That’s why, in collaboration with Camp Starfish, we offer a short residential camp experience every July. Camp Havvago is specifically for children aged 7-16 with ASD.

Each Camper is assigned a 1:1 aide to assist in participating in a full range of camp activities, including swimming, boating, games, sports, sing-a-longs, campfires, and more. We’re pleased to offer Camp Havvago to families registered with the Center at a significantly reduced cost. Check the registration page to see what Camp Havvago’s all about!

Vacation Family Fun Days
During school vacations in December, February and April, we offer events to help fill the unstructured days that vacations create. These activities are open to children with ASD and siblings accompanied by a parent. Events are located in the communities across the region and are offered at a nominal cost.

Hardship Grants

We believe that cost shouldn’t be a barrier to providing autistic children with access to the treatments and activities in need. For families in need, HMEA’s Autism Resource Central can provide a limited number of hardship grants to cover the costs of activities. Please contact Kris Carigilia for more information.

Important Links and Resources

Holiday Resources

Tools to Make the Holidays Enjoyable

Holiday Gift Request Resources & Ideas For Families in Central Massachusetts

  • Catholic Charities – Catholic Charities needs to be contacted by Diocese. They can be found on line or by calling any local Catholic parish.
  • Gardner and Winchendon – Families can contact or visit the Community Action Councils in their respective towns.
  • Housing Projects – Many of the bigger housing projects sign on to various donor groups, and residents may be able to get gifts there.
  • Places of Worship – Families may want to ask their local worship centers if they know of additional resources.
  • Project Just Because – Families need to register electronically at projectjustbecause.org
  • Salvation Army – Families should contact their local Salvation Army locations.
  • Schools – Families may want to ask their child’s guidance department or teachers if they know of additional community resources.
  • T & G Santa – The Telegram & Gazette collects funds and gives to various Salvation Army and Catholic Charity sites in Central Mass.
  • Town Clerk- Town Clerks tend to know much about what is offered in the communities they serve.
  • Toys for Tots – Go to toysfortots.org to make requests.