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Autism support group starts at Opportunity Village

Posted July 23, 2013 in Clear Lake, Community Web Exclusives

Funding from United Way of North Central Iowa has made it possible for Opportunity Village to launch a new support group for families of children with autism.  The Family 2 Family Connect support group will be at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month, at the Village’s Kinney Lindstrom Center in Clear Lake.

Parents and caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), or developmental delays in communication, behavior and social skills are encouraged to participate.

Parents and caregivers will meet informally to talk about a variety of issues and concerns, share information and provide support.  New families and caregivers are always welcome.  Those who wish to share or simply listen are invited to attend.

This informal support group at Opportunity Village is the first step towards developing other services for families of children with autism spectrum disorders.  Future plans include educational seminars conducted by professionals on the subject of autism and other related disorders.  Village staff will assist in developing peer-to-peer relationships and helping families navigate area services to meet their needs.  A lending library of resources, equipment, and aids will be created to serve needs of area families and professionals.

“We are grateful to United Way of NCI for their generous support of these services.  Without their support, we would not be able to meet the needs of many families in our local area,” said Jim Aberg, Services Director for Opportunity Village.  “There is a real need for local families to be able to connect with others for help in raising a child with autism.”

A five-year plan for Opportunity Village’s expansion of support for individuals with autism includes certified therapeutic services in a clinic environment.  Becoming a valuable referral network to area specialists is also an identified goal.  In-home services for families will be added as needs are identified and training is completed.

“When families with similar concerns meet, there is a sense of community, understanding and support.  A safe place where you can laugh, cry, discuss the same problems and help each other,” said Christina Maulsby, project manager for the developing autism services and parent of two sons with autism. “No longer do families, loved ones, and caregivers have to feel isolated and alone.”

Pre-registration is not required to attend the support group.  For further information contact Christina Maulsby by email; cmaulsby@oppvill.org

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