Every April, we celebrate World Autism Awareness Month. During this time, we recognize the inspiring achievements of individuals on the autism spectrum across the globe. We also look to raise awareness of their ongoing needs and the importance of early diagnosis and intervention. This month also serves as an opportunity to promote and make parents of children with autism aware of the types of resources available.
Coping with Your Child Being Diagnosed with Autism
According to data from 2020, the CDC reports that approximately 1 in 36 children has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. It is an overwhelming and challenging time for parents, and you will likely have more questions than answers at first. Do some reading and ask questions; there are many support groups and organizations, such as Community Mainstreaming Associates (CMA), you can turn to. Remember, you are not alone and can find strength from others.
Early Decisions for Parents of Children with Autism
Early intervention is key in the development of your child. Services like the New York Early Intervention Program aim to help with basic early life skills usually learned in the first two years of development, such as; physical, thinking, communication, social, and emotional skills. In addition, children in every state are entitled to early intervention and special education through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
As parents of children with autism, you will also want to learn about the types of educational programs available when the time comes. There are a good number of autism-friendly programs and schools in New York. Unfortunately, not every state can say the same. As you research the best educational settings for your child, these are a few things you should consider to assist you in your decision-making process:
- What are their academic strategies, methods, and results?
- How experienced is the staff with autistic children
- Is there a waiting list to attend, and how large are the class sizes?
- What is their behavior support plan?
- What are the qualifications and capabilities of the medical staff?
- What opportunities are available for inclusion with neurotypical peers?
Family Support Services (FSS) Program Provides Additional Support
Through the New York Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), the Family Support Services Program helps families caring for a child with autism or other intellectual or developmental disabilities by assisting the caregiver, enhancing family stability, and preserving family unity. These services include:
- After School Programs
- Behavioral Support
- Crisis Services
- Family Reimbursement
- Family Counseling and Training
- Informational and Referral
- Parent and Sibling Support Groups
- Service Access
- Social Skills Training
- Specialized Equipment and Home Modifications
Community Mainstreaming Associates also assists with In Home Respite for Children with developmental disabilities to help provide a break in the daily routine that may help caregivers avoid burnout, stress, and fatigue.
Community Mainstreaming Associates Assists with the Transition into Adulthood
Another stage in life that parents will have to learn and plan for is when their child ages out of schooling. Community Mainstreaming Associates offers services and solutions to assist individuals with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities when they complete secondary education. We aim to help each participant live life to their fullest potential by providing the necessary tools and support. Some of our programs and services that help with this are:
- Vocational & Day Programs to help participants learn different skills, develop work readiness, and engage in community activities by building community connections and various supported employment opportunities.
- Community Habilitation assists people with intellectual/developmental disabilities to enhance or develop the skills required to live more independently in the community or at home.
- Our Residential Programs allow families and those with intellectual/developmental disabilities to choose the support most appropriate for their personal exploration and growth in a supportive, supervised, and safe environment.
- Self Direction allows the individual and their family to decide on their desired level of care and independence to help them achieve their personal goals, create relationships, finding a job and a place to live while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In addition, CMA is available to assist as a Broker and a Fiscal Intermediary in the Self Direction program.
Reach Out…Your Community is There for You!
Community Mainstreaming Associates understands the challenges of individuals living with autism.
Contact us today to learn how we can assist you and your loved ones with our services and programs.