Useful Agencies and Support Groups For Your Autistic Child

Agencies, Support Groups at the Ready For Your Autistic Child

There are a number of agencies and resources available for people looking for supportive services for themselves or loved ones.  These agencies may be part of your county, state, or Federal governments, or they may be community-based entities that offer services funded by a blend of government monies, donations, and/or private contributions.  Here is a list of agencies to consider when searching for support.

1)     Disabilities Services Office (DSO):  There are 5 DSOs operated by the state agency known as the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).  This agency and its regional offices have state provided services such as: Service Coordination;  Day Programming; Nursing; Physical and Occupational Therapy; Residential Services; Vocational Placement; Advocacy; Psychology/Psychiatry; and Family Supports.  This is the place to begin when accessing clinical supports, and the DSO oversees all other agencies that provide developmental disability services in their region.  www.opwdd.ny.gov

2)      Department of Social Services:  Each county has its own DSS, a governmental entity that assists people with getting Medicaid, Food Stamps, and Public Assistance.  Medicaid is required for anyone looking to access supports for Developmentally Disabled folks in NYS and pay for them.

3)      Social Security Administration:  Regional offices are set up throughout the state to help people obtain financial support for disabilities that prevent them from working enough to pay their bills.  Many people with Autism can qualify for various forms of Social Security benefits if they do not have anyone financially responsible for them.  www.ssa.gov

4)      Association for Retarded Children (ARC):  A Not-For-Profit organization that specializes in servicing people with a wide range of disabilities.  ARC offers similar services to what the DSO has available, but also includes community supports such as picnics in the park for families, daycare services that allow parents some time to themselves away from disabled loved ones, and recreation ideas such as camping, movies, dinners, and zoo trips that offer a fun, non-clinical approach to skill building and socialization.

5)      Enable, Inc.:  Similar to ARC, Enable provides a variety of services to give families another option to pick where they get some, or all, of their services from.

6)      Cayuga Centers; United Cerebral Palsy; Catholic Charities are other agencies providing similar services as alternate vendors for recipients to consider.

7)      Speak it!: Speak It is an advocacy group whose members are service recipients themselves.  This organization meets monthly and discusses the state of services, what needs to be changed or added, and promotes independence for all developmentally challenged individuals in the DSO catchment area.

8)      New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC): a governmental entity that looks at service provision from a macro system level to analyze effectiveness, training, and hurdles impacting local agencies providing front-line support.  www.ddpc.ny.gov

Other Articles You Should Check Out,
1). Top 10 nonprofit organizations for autistic people
2). Can I get SSI for my autistic child?

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