Did you know that autism can typically be seen in children before the age of 3? That’s why it’s so important to provide them with the support and interventions they need as early as possible. If you’re new to the world of autism, we’ve compiled everything you need to know here. Once you’re up to speed, check out some of the activities and resources we offer specifically for children under the age of 3 below.
Floortime for Parents
Simply playing with your children on the floor can be an effective therapy for autism. That’s why we’re pleased to offer Floortime, which can be used in combination with or as an alternative to ABA therapy. We offer this course once a year at a reduced cost, and it’s taught by Sarah Measures, a Masters level clinician from the Astra Foundation. Look for this offering in 2020.
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.
Family Fun Days
We offer a variety of monthly Family Fun Activities to give families an opportunity to meet with others and enjoy leisure activities in a supportive environment. Swim parties, bowling parties, holiday parties, visits to zoos and museums are some of the activities we have sponsored in the past. Activities are offered at a reduced cost.
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.
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.
DDS Autism Waiver Program
The Autism Waiver Program is provided by the Autism Division of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS). This program provides one-to-one interventions to help children with autism who exhibit severe behavior, social and communication problems through a service called Expanded Habilitation, Education (intensive in-home services and supports). This service occurs in the child’s home or other natural settings under the supervision of trained clinical staff and is available for a total of three years. Click here to find out more.
Important Links and Resources
- Benefits Nationwide
- Child Support Enforcement Division
- DDS Guide to Eligibility Process
- Department of Children and Families
- Department of Developmental Services
– Application for DDS Eligibility (English)
– Application for DDS Eligibility (Spanish)
- Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
- Department of Mental Health
- Department of Public Health
- Department of Transitional Assistance
- Developmental Disabilities Validated Research Library
- Disability Law Center
- Division for Children and Youth with Special Needs
- Exceptional Lives
- Family Ties
- Federation for Children with Special Needs
- Health Care for all
- Health Law Advocates
- Massachusetts Advocates for Children
- Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council
- Massachusetts Energy Assistance
- Massachusetts Office on Disability
- Massachusetts State Legislators
- Mass Families Organizing for Change
- Mass Health
- Mass Health Fact Sheet- Augmentative Communication
- Parent Professional Advocacy League
Tools to Make the Holidays Enjoyable
- Download Resources for Jewish Holidays
- Halloween Card for Trick or Treating with Non Verbal Kids
- Hanukkah Social Story (text with Pictures)
- Holiday Letter to Family and Friends
- Holiday Survival Guide
- July 4th
- PECS for Thanksgiving
- Thanksgiving Social Stories
- Thanksgiving Social Story
- Trick or Treat Social Story
- Thanksgiving Survival Guide
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.
- 911 Disability Indicator
- Doug Flutie Jr Foundation Safe and Secure Project
- FEMA Build a Disaster’s Supplies Kit
- FEMA Child’s Emergency Contacts Card
- FEMA Family Emergency Plan
- Internet Safety -Net Cetera
- Lojack Safety Net
- Making Homes That Work
- Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
- MassHealth Behavioral Health Emergency Services Program (English)
- MassHealth Behavioral Health Emergency Services Program (Spanish)
- Medic Alert Safe & Sound
- MEMA Winter Safety Series Before the Storm
- Movement Monitor for Seizures During Sleep
- OAR’s Life Journey Through Autism : A Guide to Safety
- Stop It Now! – Prevention of Sexual Abuse
- Childrens Law Center of Massachusetts
- Exceptional Lives – IEP Guide
- Federation for Children with Special Needs
- IEP A Guide to the IEP
- IEP Headquarters – NCLD
- Laws Governing Special Education Transportation
- Lawyer Referral Service
- Mass Advocates for Children – Autism Legal Support
- SPANDirectory of Advocates
- The Exceptional Parent
- The Special Education Advocate
- A_Parents_Guide_to_Assessment (1)
- ADHD Essentials
- Am I Covered? – A tool to assess your Insurance coverage for Autism Services
- Autism Treatment Network – Guide to ABA for Parents
- Autism Treatment Network – Introduction to Behavioral Health Treatment
- Autism Treatment Network – Toilet Training
- Beyond Autism PECS Pictures/Icons Pages
- Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice
- Different Roads to Learning
- Do 2 Learn
- Exceptional Lives – Heath Insurance Guide
- Music Therapy
- OCALI Assistive Technology Internet Modules
- OCALI Autism Internet Modules
- Overview of Evidence Based Treatments
- Parent’s Medication Guide for ASD
- Parents Guide to Getting Good Care
- Sensory Processing Therapy
- Specific Carbohydrate Diet
- Speech Therapy
- The Motor Story – Inclusive Resource on Sensorimotor Child Development for Parents and Teachers