Moving Forward Together

by Ellen Fitzpatrick, M.Ed. Programs and Operations Coordinator, Flutie Foundation

Hi everyone! I hope you and your families are staying healthy as you search for ways to adjust to this new “lifestyle.” This past week has been overwhelming to say the least, and I think it’s beginning to sink in for all of us that this just might be the beginning of a long ride. Hopefully, things will go back to “normal” sooner than later, but I think this is a good time to get prepared and hope for the best. 

Hopefully by now, you have touched base with a teacher or professional that works with your child or loved one with autism. You deserve to have support and individualized resources available to help them learn and grow. This will absolutely look different at home than it would at school; that is perfectly appropriate and expected! Some quick ideas:

  • Take “nature walks” (yes, that could mean walking around your neighborhood and picking up rocks or sticks). 
  • Make your own “sensory bins” with objects at home or in your kitchen. Give them different containers to pour with or switch up the things you put in. 
  • Watch a video or movie together and use it as a conversation starter (a great opportunity for language development).

When you can, just try your best to integrate the skills they are working on in whatever you are doing. Who knows, maybe this will work and they will generalize skills in a new setting! Either way, this is a concrete action step you can take to support their learning, and go to bed at night knowing you did the best you could. 

Now, in an effort to heed my own advice from my last blog post, I decided not to reinvent the wheel. Instead, I want to take this opportunity to shine a light on some of the amazing support centers we work with throughout Massachusetts who are ready to answer your call and help you on any day--not just during a pandemic. 

These support centers offer a variety of services and resources to help families affected by autism, and we are so proud to stand alongside them as they tirelessly work to adapt to these new circumstances.

They are:

  • Working diligently to develop additional programs and support groups that can be accessed online, in an effort to replace in-person services that they typically offer.
  • Creating helpful tools for you to use at home, such as social stories, visual aids, and really anything you may need over the coming weeks.
  • Sharing resources as they become available.

I am simply here to remind you that you have a LOT of people in your corner who are ready and willing to help, and in this time of social distancing, it’s important to remember you are not alone.

Check out these amazing organizations, and I highly encourage you to follow them on social media (they are updating their Facebook pages pretty regularly with helpful information) and/or join their mailing lists! Click on their logos to go directly to their websites! If they don’t have something that benefits you today, they may have something tomorrow!

 

Location: Watertown, MA 

Click here to follow them on Facebook! 

What are they doing?

  • Providing online group chats with our Child & Teen staff Wednesday evening for parents of children and Thursday evening for parents of teens.
  • Offering Online Bad Movie Watch Party and chat one week and Online Games the next for adults on the spectrum as a fun alternative to their popular Pizza & Game nights that are normally offered in many locations around Massachusetts.

 

 

Location: Westwood, MA

Click here to follow them on Facebook! 

 Resources they are sharing:

 

 

Location: Framingham, MA

Click here to follow them on Facebook!

 What are they doing?

  • Sign up for their mailing list on their website! They share practical resources and ideas, and send a monthly Newsletter including sensory friendly events
  • Autism Alliance has started sending daily e-mails with activities and other helpful resources that can help you get through this pandemic, one day at a time!
  • They have been busy building an autism welcoming community, and are committed to helping families tackle their everyday challenges. 

 

 

Location: Worcester, MA

Click here to follow them on Facebook!

 What are they doing?

  • The AIRC is constantly updating information as it becomes available in regards to modifications of insurance coverage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They offer free webinars, fact sheets and links to access the latest information as it relates to individuals with autism and related services. Currently, the AIRC is gathering information on telehealth ABA services, and helping providers and families navigate this.
  • They offer ongoing training and can help you to access resources for your child through your insurance provider, including ABA therapy and other covered services.

 

Location: Randolph, MA

Click here to follow them on Facebook!

 What are they doing?

  • Autism Sprinter works to improve community outreach, advocacy, resources, and support for individuals with autism.
  • Check out their website for upcoming Facebook Live events!

 

 

Location: Boston, MA and Quincy, MA 

Click here to follow them on Facebook!

What are they doing?

  • BCNC is working on creating content for WeChat posts (Chinese social media platform). They will include the following topics:
    • How to talk to children about Covid-19
    • Activities for children at home, include parenting tips
    • For families with children with autism, music-therapy related activities for children to do at home, and how parents can help children enhance social skills in the home environment during this isolating time 
    • They have also shared on WeChat pick up locations where children can continue to get free breakfast and lunch in Boston, Malden and Quincy.
  • The post is in Chinese: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/eSxoZ44HbqW-_Nqv-1-_QQ 

 

 

Location: Boston, MA

Click here to follow them on Facebook! 

 What are they doing?

  • Bryce’s Journey, Inc. offers social skills groups and provides support, guidance, informational resources, support groups and parent workshops to the parents of children with Autism and ADHD.

 

 

Location: Swansea, MA and Bridgewater, MA

Click here to follow them on Facebook! 

What are they doing?

 

(The Circle of Vietnamese Parents) 

Location: Dorchester, MA

Click here to follow them on Facebook! 

What are they doing?

  • The Circle of Vietnamese parents is a group of Vietnamese speaking parents of children with special needs getting together to support one another, to network, to share experience caring for children with special needs, and to share resources.
  • Check out their Facebook page for more resources, or to contact them!

 

 

Location: Danvers, MA 

Click here to follow them on Facebook! 

What are they doing?