Here at CAR we have some great resources. They include a multitude of items and without trying to sound like a public service announcement; they allow us to provide some really useful information to our families. One of my favorite resources at CAR is the referral lists. I have been using them throughout the years myself when looking for dentists, eye doctors, recreational programs, etc. for my son. I love when we are able to help a family by providing them with a referral list that will point them in the right direction when looking for a resource for their child. We have been very fortunate as an organization because so many people have contacted us to tell us about a great doctor, dentist, etc. that they have successfully used with their child. We compiled all this information and created these lists and update them periodically..
In my position at CAR, I organize and plan all the monthly Family Events, Sensory Programs and Social Skills Groups. It’s a lot a fun, but the most challenging part of this position is trying to spread out the programs so that they move around our region. Our region is comprised of 88 cities and towns within the South Shore, Southeastern and Cape & Island regions of Massachusetts. It’s a big area and the fact that I grew up in Rhode Island and am not familiar with all these areas does not help matters.
Recently I was speaking with a Mom on the phone and asked her what types of activities her child enjoyed and asked if she knew any businesses in her area providing these types of classes for children with ASD. Out of that conversation, I got two very good leads for possible programming in that area. Running programs is not as easy as it sounds, because the individual(s) running the program must have experience working with individuals with ASD and must be staffed properly.
We recently ran a yoga program in Easton that was not initially popular. It would seem that we targeted the wrong age group, but luckily a Mom contacted me and told me her son would enjoy a yoga class but was too young for the originally advertised class. After only one person signed up for the class, I spoke to the instructor and we ran the advertisement again targeting a younger group. This class was so popular that it filled to capacity. All because this Mom contacted me about her son’s interest. A few months later, the same Mom contacted me with some information about another activity and since then I have already been to the new organization and am in the process of planning a Family Event there for next year.
These experiences have taught me an important lesson. I can spend hours doing Google searches to try and find organizations servicing the ASD community, but the best information comes from our families.
I hope that you will feel free to contact me at any time to let me know of a fun activity that you have experienced with your family or a great program your child with ASD is participating in and enjoying. The fact is we are a large area and it is not realistic for me to know every business/organization in this region that can provide quality classes/activities for our children. The “C” in CAR stands for COMMUNITY and I know that if we continue to work together as one, we can continue to provide quality programs, activity and family events to all that we serve.