As we publish our most recent Guide, “What to Do If Your Child Has Autism”, we sat down with our partners at The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation to hear their thoughts on this new tool for families.
Massachusetts is a wealth of information and resources. What does Exceptional Lives have to offer? Why do they stand out?
The team at Exceptional Lives is focused and committed. They work directly with caregivers, disability nonprofits, special needs attorneys, educators, and state and federal government agencies to amass information. For many of us, this wealth of information is too much to process, so they are able to condense it into the specific information and resources that are available to families in Massachusetts. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, they are using technology to filter existing resources into digestible and useful information.
Why was the Flutie Foundation interested in supporting Exceptional Lives’ What To Do If Your Child Has Autism Guide?
The Autism Guide fits perfectly with our mission and promise, to help people and families affected by autism live life to the fullest and improve the quality of everyday life by giving families the tools to be safe, supported and informed at all times. The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation receives many calls and requests for resources from lots of families, many of whom have a very recent autism diagnosis. Exceptional Lives has done a remarkable job creating online guides to empower families and give them a jump start. Written in layman’s terms, the Autism Guide will help families in Massachusetts obtain more centrally focused information 24/7 whenever families and people need to access it. Exceptional Lives will distribute and promote the Autism Guide through free community workshops and information sessions and conduct surveys and focus groups to update their information.
We know there is a wide range of abilities and varying needs among individuals with autism. How can a single Guide support such a diverse group of people?
As with all of the Exceptional Lives resources, the Autism Guide is personalized. Caregivers start by answering questions about their own needs along with the needs of the person in their care. The guide then filters the information as it relates to the family’s unique situation. This guide goes a long way to have a substantive and meaningful impact on helping families and people understand and access services. Guides are well-researched, easy to navigate and create a path for the next steps needed.
Sincere thanks to the Doug Flutie, Jr Foundation for sharing their ideas and for supporting Exceptional Lives in the development of this Autism Guide.