Breathe! And then breath some more!

When you are ready, it is important to ensure that you find a proper medical team for your child. It would be helpful if the pediatrician you choose has experience treating children with autism. Your relationship will be a good starting point for conversations about the needs of your child.

You may want to do some if your own research about autism so you can begin to make informed medical, therapeutic, educational and social/recreational choices as you identify the needs of your child.

You and your family are not alone in your journey, and we are here to help.

Your child will need to be diagnosed by a developmental pediatrician, neurologist, psychiatrist or psychologist. The health care professional you choose will test your child through psychological and behavioral tests to determine if your child has autism.

There are often a long waiting lists to obtain an evaluation so it is best to make an appointment as soon as you think the evaluation is recommended, or you think it will be helpful.  Please contact us if you need suggestions for providers in your area.

Many parents find support groups very helpful to manage their own anxiety about their child's challenges, and to share collective data about local providers and programs.

Our monthly newsletter highlights an extensive list of support groups throughout the area. We provide group descriptions, meeting dates/times, and organizer contact information. There are also a selection of online groups.

An IEP is a document used to determine which types of services a child with a disability may need. The first step in receiving an IEP is to request that your school evaluate your child.

Once your child is evaluated and found eligible, you will contact your school district Special Education Department to schedule a meeting. The IEP will be developed in that meeting.

Parents sometimes hire an Educational Advocate for support in arranging appropriate services (both before, during, and after the meeting). Families also may bring another family member or a friend to take notes so parents are fully engaged in conversations.

Contact us for suggestions in your area. We will soon have an interactive online Resource Directory where you can search for local providers.

ABA therapy can be very helpful for children and adults with autism. Contact us for suggestions of providers in your area.

Our newsletter offers information about state and local trainings. Our Pathlight Partner, Family Empowerment, sponsors monthly trainings the second Tuesday of each month and the topics are often relevant to autism.

Our knowledgeable staff provide trainings and professional development opportunities to educators and professionals in human service organizations. We are happy to discuss how we can tailor our presentations to the needs of your team. Contact Katie Drumm for more information.

Autism Connections’ direct services require a referral from the Department of Developmental Services (DDS). DDS is a state agency that helps determine services for people with disabilities and will refer them to the proper agency. You can fill out an eligibility application here.

We also will answer your questions by phone and email and help you navigate your process as much as possible.

Our family activities, sensory friendly events and skill groups are open to the community.

ARICA (An Act Relative to Insurance Coverage for Autism), is a law passed in 2010, requiring private health insurers in Massachusetts to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder. This insurance may help cover specialized therapies. For more information visit The Autism Insurance Resource Center.

There is different terminology to refer to different types of autism. Our friends at the Asperger/Autism Network have a wonderful glossary that helps to explain some of most common vocabulary in the world of autism.

Some people are not diagnosed with autism until they are adults. The diagnosis can help explain some challenges that they have lived with for many years.

Please contact us for more specific information in your area about adult social groups, activities and general information you may find helpful.