Community Resources for People with Autism, a program of The Association, supports individuals with Autism and their families.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong disorder that can severely impair an individual’s ability to communicate, learn in typical ways, and tolerate sensory input. Outside stimuli most people are able to ignore; like loud noises, certain clothing, certain foods, or changes in routines, can be debilitating to a person with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. ASD can be expressed by lack of eye contact, repetitive movements such as spinning or rocking, and uncontrollable behaviors or outbursts. Some individuals may have exceptional abilities in one area such as math but lack basic skills like dressing oneself.
Today, 1 in 88 children may be diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. In Western Massachusetts alone, at least 4,800 families are affected. Community Resources, a program of The Association for Community Living, supports more than 1,200 of these families. Since being founded in 1989, the demand for our services has increased by 900% while our state funding has increased only 10%. Through grants and generous donations by individuals, we are able to continue to help individuals with ASD and their families.
Christopher’s story demonstrates the power of your support. Like many preschoolers with ASD, Christopher found comfort in walking in circles and flapping his hands and had many outbursts in class. He didn’t speak to his teachers or look them in the eye. Because of this, his preschool placed him in a special behavior class which didn’t specialize in ASD. He began to imitate harmful behavior learned from peers there including banging his own head. His mother, displeased with his placement, contacted Community Resources for help. One of our Autism Specialists worked one-on-one with Christopher’s mom to help her find more suitable schooling and get him the services (speech and occupational therapy) he needed. Today, Christopher is a thriving 7th grader an is even on the honor roll! Many families are unable to afford these basic necessary services for their children with ASD. Community Resources for People with Autism makes what seems unattainable, available.
Each day, we come across people in our lives that are stars; they help us, they help our children, they are our children. This fundraising effort is dedicated to all the stars in our lives and everything they do.