Hi! My name is Lisa Thompson and I live in West Boylston, MA with my husband and two daughters, Erica (2006) and Caroline (2009).
I will never forget May 1, 2011 when my husband and I received the diagnosis of High Functioning Autism for my oldest daughter Erica. We definitely had some clarity in that moment, and the diagnosis answered a lot of questions we were having about her behavior and social skills. However we were suddenly filled with questions and completely overwhelmed with worries and uncertainty of what to do next.
I knew what we needed to do. Before we even went home we stopped at The Autism Resource Center where we were met by several extremely helpful, supportive and compassionate folks. They sat me and my husband down, listened to us and helped us begin the journey of paperwork that becomes pretty commonplace for Autism parents. They told us about DDS, the ARICA laws (which had JUST passed at that time) and guided us in how to approach the school. We walked out of there with a sense of direction and knowing that we wouldn’t have to do this all alone.
Of course we were still overwhelmed and filled questions about the implications of our child having autism, but we had reassurance that there was a place we could go to where people could listen to us, help us find resources, help us make connections with other families on this journey, and guide us in how to advocate and get the best supports possible for out child.
Over the years the Autism Resource Center has done so much for our family! We have had many opportunities to participate in fun family activities in a non judgmental environment. My daughter has had the chance to go to an amazing overnight camp for 4 nights, I have made connections with many other parents through the Mom’s retreat and support groups. I have learned about advocacy through free IEP clinics with a knowledgeable advocate. I am looking forward to the fall when my neurotypical child can participate in sibshop and connect with other children who have siblings on the Autism Spectrum.
I joined the Family Advisory Board in April of 2015. You can find me and my girls at many of the resource center events! I look forward to meeting many families, old and new at the many wonderful events the center provides!