The Autism Division of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) runs a program for low-income children with autism called the Autism Services Waiver Program. This program serves children under the age of 9 who meet both the clinical and financial eligibility that includes having/obtaining MassHealth Standard Insurance. At this time the program serves approximately 385 children a year. While the program is near capacity, there is a high rate of turn- over in the program every year, so we want to have a new pool of applicants to draw from to fill open slots.
Today, I need to ask for your help in disseminating this information about the upcoming Autism Waiver Program’s Open Request Period. The Autism Division will accept new application requests for families interested in this program between the dates of October 17th, 2016 and October 31st,2016. Applications must be postmarked or emailed from a parent/guardian no earlier than October 17, 2016 and no later than October 31, 2016.
This Waiver is a Medicaid Program designed to provide services to help children with autism remain in their homes and actively participate with their families and community. This program receives partial funding from the federal government. Waiver services are supplemental to special education services provided under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.) This Program requires that each family hire a specialized clinician who creates an individually designed Behavior Plan, based on a therapy model chosen by the family, to support their child’s assessed needs. The family will also need to hire direct support staff to provide the one-to-one intensive therapy designated in the Positive Behavior Support Plan. Families in the Program also have an opportunity to choose other waiver services designed to help their children develop in areas related to behavior, social skills and communication. Additional services under the waiver include community integration activities, family training and respite.
A copy of the Autism Waiver Program Open Request Application and Open Request Family Overview is enclosed in English. The application form, family notice and related materials (in multiple languages*) will also be available on the DDS web-site at www.mass.gov/DDS and at the seven regionally based Autism Support Centers (a list of the Centers is available on the DDS website).
*Translation and Interpretation is offered free of charge to participants.
Thank you for your time, please do not hesitate to contact the Autism Division at AutismDivision@state.ma.us or your local Autism Support Center if you have any questions about this application process.
The Federation for Children with Special Needs is proud to partner with Boston Parents Paper!
Physical disabilities may hinder a person's ability to accomplish something, but a learning disability can often be equally frustrating, especially for children. Without any physical symptoms or changes, kids often feel insecure and embarrassed by their learning disabilities. For children who don't have any, they may also find themselves conflicted about a peer who has difficulty reading or the kid who's always getting in trouble because they can't focus. Educational books can do a lot for understanding, but it's important to have children's books that help kids understand learning disabilities so they can connect with characters just like them.
According to the Learning Disabilities Association of Georgia, a learning disability is a neurological disorder that affects one or more of the basic psychological processes pertaining to writing or reading. The LDA of Georgia also noted that most people with learning disabilities are of average or above average intelligence. They are not slow, they are not stupid, and they are not underachievers. Their disability is often called a "hidden disability" because they are just like everybody else in most ways.
But still, this can be confusing for a child to understand, and it helps to have these 11 children's books on the shelf to help them understand their learning disabilities and the disabilities of others.
New! Autism Speaks is excited to announce the launch of Version 2.0 of the popular
Transition Tool Kit.
The Autism Speaks Transition Tool Kit was created to serve as a guide to assist families on the journey from adolescence to adulthood.The guiding principle that we used in developing this kit is that all individuals with autism, regardless of the level of support needed,
should be able to live a life filled with purpose, dignity, choices and happiness.
This kit will provide you with suggestions and options for you to consider as you set out on this journey toward finding your child's own unique path to adulthood.
Click on the Link below to read more and download the Transition Tool Kit
From Child Mind Institute
By Jerry Bubrick, PhD
How to recognize the signs a child is struggling, even if he is hiding his anxiety
For children who have obsessive-compulsive disorder, functioning in school can be complicated and very difficult. And for a teacher, it can be easy to misread the symptoms of OCD as oppositional behavior on the child’s part, or as ADHD.
But if teachers can recognize the behaviors associated with OCD, especially when a child is embarrassed and trying to hide his anxiety, they can help save him from unnecessary struggle, and clear the way for him to learn successfully.
Here are the kinds of behaviors you might see in kids with OCD:
Frequent requests to go to the bathroom:
This could be to wash hands, if someone near the child was coughing or sneezing, or if she touched something that she perceives as contaminated. She could be washing items—pens, pencils, backpacks, books. It could also be an excuse to get out the classroom and just be away from everyone, and have some respite.
This takes the form of repetitive questions. “Are you sure that’s the answer? Could you tell me again? Did you hear what I said?” Checking doors, windows, lockers, desks. Over and over and over again.
Getting stuck on tasks.
Sometimes kids with OCD will need to finish something to completion, or understand it to completion, before they’re able to move on. So if a child is working out what he did wrong on a math test, and the teacher says, “Now let’s open the textbook and start a new chapter,” he’s not going to be able to shift gears.
If a child leaves the classroom and worries that she left a pencil behind, she’ll go back into the classroom and go to her desk and check. If she had a bad thought as she went through the doorway, she might have to “fix it” by going back through the doorway again saying a good word. If she had a bad thought when she went down a flight of stairs on the way to class, she might need to go back up that same stairway at the end of the period, even if it means being late to her next class.
A child could be erasing a lot because the letters have to look perfect. Or he could have used a word that disturbs him. For example, if he has a fear of vomiting and he’s written the word vomit, he might not be able to stand seeing that word, so he erases it. Kids start having erasers worn down to the metal. Teachers start to see holes in the paper. Words will be drawn over on the back of the page. A lot of different areas of writing become problematic.
From Education Weekly
By Christina A. Samuels
Published Online: December 7, 2015
Deborah Lynam, a founding member of Decoding Dyslexia, seen with her son Hudson, 11, at their home in Haddon Heights, N.J., has helped build the parent-driven advocacy group into a 50-state movement that presses its concerns nationally.
—Charles Mostoller for Education Week
Four years ago, during a train ride to a luncheon sponsored by the National Center for Learning Disabilities, a group of New Jersey parents found they shared the same frustrating story: Their children were struggling to learn to read.
But they felt the schools' reading interventions—if such supports were even offered to their children—were unfocused efforts overseen by educators without specific training in how to address the problem.
That informal connection among parents has since grown into an influential movement, Decoding Dyslexia. Harnessing the power of social media, the grassroots group now has a presence in all 50 states, as well as sympathetic ears among federal and state lawmakers and administrators in the U.S. Department of Education.
"The influx of energy that the parents have invested in this has really started to raise the tide for a lot of other organizations," said Deborah Lynam, one of the original New Jersey parents and among the more visible faces of Decoding Dyslexia. "The parents have just opened the door on something."'
Kids who seem oppositional are often severely anxious
A 10-year-old boy named James has an outburst in school. Upset by something a classmate says to him, he pushes the other boy, and a shoving-match ensues. When the teacher steps in to break it up, James goes ballistic, throwing papers and books around the classroom and bolting out of the room and down the hall. He is finally contained in the vice principal’s office, where staff members try to calm him down. Instead, he kicks the vice principal in a frenzied effort to escape. The staff calls 911, and James ends up in the Emergency Room.
To the uninitiated, James looks like a boy with serious anger issues. It’s not the first time he’s flown out of control. The school insists that his parents pick him up and take him home for lunch every day because he’s been banned from the cafeteria.
But what’s really going on? “It turns out, after an evaluation, that he is off the charts for social anxiety,” reports Dr. Jerry Bubrick, director of the Anxiety & Mood Disorders Center at the Child Mind Institute. “He can’t tolerate any—even constructive—criticism. He just will shut down altogether. James is terrified of being embarrassed, so when a boy says something that makes him uncomfortable, he has no skills to deal with it, and he freaks out. Flight or fight.”
From Beyond BookSmart
By Brittany Wadbrook
June 27, 2016
Are you worried that your child tends toward perfectionism?
As coaches, we often encounter students with perfectionistic mindsets in combination with other
Executive Function challenges. When students focus on producing “perfect” work, it can not only be counterproductive but research suggests it can even prove harmful. The good news is that the right kind of support can help ensure that such mindsets won't derail your child.
What is Perfectionism?
Perfectionism is not simply when a student strives for excellence. In a New York Times magazine article, Melissa Dahl quotes psychologist Thomas S. Greenspoon, explaining that “perfectionistic people typically believe that they can never be good enough, that mistakes are signs of personal flaws, and that the only route to acceptability as a person is to be perfect.” That’s a lot of pressure for a student to handle.
How Does Perfectionism in Students Manifest?
Parents want to see their children achieve good results for their efforts — but when a child is mired in perfectionism, it can lead to hours wasted in ineffective pursuit of the perfect essay, report, or problem set — with very little on paper to show for all that effort. And frequently, there are plenty of tears and meltdowns in the process, as well. It’s easy to imagine the frustration involved in attempting to produce error-free assignments. After all, mistakes are a natural and expected part of the learning process!
Beckham Linton and Michelle Garcia Winner
We all encounter problems routinely. Some of them are caused by our own mistakes, such as sleeping through the alarm or missing a meeting. Some are caused by others, (a stolen wallet) and some are just bad luck (getting stuck in a traffic jam)!
Just about everything we do throughout the day involves solving some kind of problem; it’s just an unavoidable fact of life. What we can do, however, is learn to manage our problems. This involves, in part, managing the emotions that arise when a problem occurs. It also involves being aware of the effect our reactions to our problems have on ourselves and others.
Our ability to regulate our emotions in problem situations greatly influences how effectively we are able to solve the problems we face. In fact, emotional regulation is frequently the determining factor in whether or not the problem is solved and how easy or difficult it is to do so. For example, when a problem occurs, most of us are able to quickly figure out the size of the problem and then regulate our emotional reaction to stay calm and able to deal with it. But that’s not always the case. New or even bigger problems are created when the size of our reaction is mismatched to the size of the actual problem. Who wants that?
It happens to every child in one form or another – anxiety. As parents, we would like to shield our children from life’s anxious moments, but navigating anxiety is an essential life skill that will serve them in the years to come. In the heat of the moment, try these simple phrases to help your children identify, accept, and work through their anxious moments.
Research & Tools
We post articles on the latest research, education tools and state/federal law changes.