If you have questions about ideas or ways you can prepare for the changes that the school year may bring to your family’s schedule, feel free to ask your Autism Specialist to brainstorm with you or give us a call (866-481-3841) or email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can discuss some different ideas to help make your school year go as smoothly as possible.
Project ACCESS has a free online training module: Introduction to the Education of Students with Autism. The course consists of reading, videos to watch and reflections to submit, so the time to complete the course varies per individual. We ask that you allow 5-6 hours for completion. The course does not have to be completed all in one sitting. Course participants may complete a section and wait to proceed to others as time permits.
Academic Autistic Spectrum Partnership in Research and Education, also known as AASPIRE, has a Healthcare Toolkit that includes Primary Care Resources for Adults on the Autism Spectrum and their Primary Care Providers: AASPIRE Healthcare Toolkit
Accessible Playgrounds has a list of accessible playgrounds in Missouri (and elsewhere).
Autism Navigator contains "resources for parents, professionals, and anyone interested in learning about autism". Their Family Resources page includes helpful videos.
Autism Parenting Magazine has produced Autism Resources for Parents - The Ultimate Guide which contains information and links for parents, caregivers and teachers of an individual with autism, as well as the individual on the spectrum, providing access to a variety of topics, including: activities, independent living, advocacy, community support, health resources, education, hygiene, sleep, safety, finances and many others.
Autism Speaks has a selection of useful, free Tool Kits as part of their Autism Treatment Network (ATN) and Autism Intervention Research Network for Physical Health (AIR-P) on a variety of topics, including: 100 Day Kit for Newly Diagnosed Families of Young Children, a Financial Planning Tool Kit, an Advocacy Tool Kit, an Employment Tool Kit, a School Community Tool Kit, a Transition Tool Kit, and multiple others that offer assistance for various visits to healthcare professionals and other common situations. All tool kits are at the following website page: Tool Kits
You may also want to search their Resource Guide, which allows you to search for resources by state and by age.
In addition, their Tele-Learning Programs are "virtual presentations for families, meant to provide information about Autism Speaks and the free resources available to individuals with autism and their families. These free programs will be held bi-monthly with two rotating topics – navigating an autism diagnosis and preparing for the transition to adulthood".
Camp Barnabas is "dedicated to providing summer camp experiences to people with special needs, physical or intellectual challenges, and their siblings from throughout the United States".
Caregiver Action Network, also known as CAN, has a Family Caregiver Toolbox available that includes videos, articles, tips and additional resources. More family resources are on the Family Caregiver Alliance website, including State-by-State Help for Family Caregivers which is a navigator to help locate services nearest your loved one. They also have information on Taking Care of YOU: Self-Care for Family Caregivers
Christian County Links, also known as CC Links, has the mission "to see people first, to advocate passionately, link individuals with developmental disabilities in Christian County and their families to community supports to achieve the highest quality of life."
Center for Parent Information and Resources, also known as CPIR, provides resources for "supporting the Parent Centers Who Serve Families of Children with Disabilities". The website contains webinars on various topics, as well as a searchable library of resources sorted by topic. The have a Resource Collection on Positive Behavior Supports, Functional Behavior Assessment, and School Discipline at the following link: Resource Collection
The Center on Secondary Education for Students with ASD, also known as CSESA, provides a feature titled Autism-at-a-glance that includes information that may be helpful for parents as well as educators. Examples include:
- Building Healthy Eating Habits for Adolescents with ASD
- Supporting Functional Communication in High School
- Understanding Autism: A Guide for Secondary School Teachers (from the Organization for Autism Research)
- Supporting Success and Safety in Relationships
- Depression in Adolescents with ASD
- Puberty in Adolescents with ASD
- Internet Safety in Adolescents with ASD
- Anxiety in Adolescents with ASD
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also known as CDC, has a free app called Milestone Tracker that allows the user to track a child's milestones from ages 2 months to 5 years using illustrated checklists and example videos. Also included are tips and activities and suggestions for what to do if you have concerns.
Cerebral Palsy Guidance "was created to provide answers and assistance to parents of a child with cerebral palsy...building up a network of support, as well as providing necessary assistance."
Champion Athletes of the Ozarks has a mission "to build self-esteem, self-confidence and everyday life skills therefore enhancing the lives of children and adults with disabilities through education, sports competition and new opportunities".
ChildCare Aware serves as a community resource on child care throughout the state.
Children's Books About ASD for Siblings is a Project ACCESS fact sheet that provides links to various books that provide stories for children with autism, their siblings, and their families.
Disability Benefits 101 is a project funded by the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council, also known as MODDC, that "gives you tools and information on health coverage, benefits, and employment. You can plan ahead and learn how work and benefits go together". The website includes an online Benefits and Work calculator and a School and Work Calculator, a glossary of terms, and links to helpful summaries.
Disability.gov is the U.S. federal government website for information on disability programs and services nationwide.
Department of Mental Health Network of Care, also known as DMH, for Mental/Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities is an online resource for individuals, families and agencies concerned with mental and emotional wellness, substance abuse and developmental disabilities. It provides information about developmental disabilities services, laws, support, advocacy tools and related news, as well as communication tools and other features.
Dog's Nation, Inc. is a non-profit organization that trains rescue dogs to perform as service dogs. Their focus is on providing service dogs for military vets and for children who experience autism.
Encircle Technologies provides adults with autism with training for tech jobs. They offer small group, hands-on, project based semester classes, as well as college support technology classes. Curriculum tracks include web development, programming, office essentials and soft skills. Contact them at 573-228-0218 or email@example.com
Epic! provides free eBooks to elementary school teachers and librarians and can tailor book selections for parents based on the child's age and interests.
Every Student Succeeds Act, also known as ESSA, is a new education law starting in the 2017-2018 school year that replaces No Child Left Behind at the following link from the U.S. Department of Education: ESSA Additionally, there is a brief summary from Understood.org at the following link: ESSA from Understood.org You can also download the Understood.org ESSA parent advocacy toolkit at the following link: ESSA Advocacy Toolkit
Early learning activities and visual supports from Family Implemented TEACCH for Toddlers, also known as FITT, is described as the interventionist and parent working together to create or adapt a set of early learning activities to teach toddlers new skills and routines.
First Words Project has downloadable and printable resources on multiple topics related to autism, communication, early intervention, and other useful information. The downloads are all available in English, Spanish and Creole, and some are available in other languages as well. They also provide links to other websites with topics of interest to parents of young children. First Words Project Resources
Friendship Circle has a list of 10 free online tools to help parents with special needs, as well as several other Special Needs Resources, including an explanation and link to the U.S. Department of Education's Transition Guide To Postsecondary Education and Employment For Students and Youth With Disabilities.
The Indiana Resource Center for Autism has various articles and resources on their website under the Family tab including:
- How to Get Your Child with ASD Ready for a New School Year
- Making the Most of the Holidays for Your Family and Your Son/Daughter on the Autism Spectrum
- Siblings Perspectives: Some Guidelines for Parents
- When Your Child is Diagnosed
- Selected National Resources for Information on Autism Spectrum Disorder
Interactive Autism Network, also known as IAN, is "linking the autism community and researchers", with the goal of facilitating research that will lead to advancements in understanding and treating ASD.
Learn How To Become has a guide on Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities that "covers how to find a job that is a good fit, how to work through challenges and rights with employers, how to find jobs that can accommodate individuals with disabilities, and how to disclose a disability.
Missouri Assistive Technology is available to increase access to assistive technology for Missourians with disabilities, of all ages, including operating the Equipment Technology Consortium for short-term assistive technology equipment loaning, as well as information regarding funding options.
Missouri Autism Guidelines Initiative, also known as MAGI, has free guides for parents and professionals to help identify and treat individuals with ASD:
- Autism Spectrum Disorders: Missouri Best Practice Guidelines for Screening, Diagnosis, and Assessment
- Autism Spectrum Disorders: Guide to Evidence-Based Interventions
Missouri Autism Report, also known as MAR, is created by parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and supported by businesses and organizations who care about autism. Their mission is to provide education, information and resources to a growing autism community.
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, also known as DESE, has information for Parents and Students, including a Parental Involvement page that includes resources and requirements, as well as a webpage devoted specifically to Special Education that contains additional links and guidance. Of special note are their "Parent's Guide to Special Education in Missouri" at the following link: DESE Parent's Guide and their 30-minute webinar titled "Parents' Rights Under IDEA": DESE Parents' Rights webinar
Missouri Department of Mental Health Office of Autism Services was established to provide leadership in program development for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder. Their Navigating Autism Services: A Community Guide for Missouri publication provides information about autism, resources and services available to families in Missouri.
Missouri Family To Family is designed to serve individuals with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who support them. This is a statewide network of families offering free supports, including printable resources.
Missouri First Steps is Missouri's early intervention system that provides services to families with children, birth to 3 years of age, with disabilities or developmental delays.
Missouri Protection and Advocacy Services provides advocacy and legal services for individuals with disabilities.
Missouri State's Bear POWER, which stands for promoting opportunities for work, education and resilience, was developed at Missouri State University and is a 2 1/2 year inclusive college program for individuals, ages 18-26, with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council, also known as MODDC, provides a Career Planning Guide, a Missouri Guardianship Resource Guide and other helpful information.
Missouri Families for Effective Autism Treatment, also known as MO-FEAT, provides advocacy, education, and support for families. Their online directory provides information on resources and services statewide, as well as helpful literature. A free hardcopy may be ordered at request.
The MO HealthNet Division can help you or your family with food stamps, health care, child care, child support, and other needs as we support our mission to maintain and strengthen Missouri families.
Missouri Parents Act, also known as MPACT, has the mission to empower families to advocate for themselves so that children with special educational needs can reach their full potential in education and life - through support, training, and education.
MO RIDES assists individuals with disabilities by "locating transit providers that transport people to work, medical appointments, shopping, etc. throughout Missouri". Services may be accessed via the MO RIDES website or by calling 844-836-7433.
The National Autism Association provides a Big Red Safety Toolkit for caregivers of individuals with autism. Information is at the following link: Big Red Safety Toolkit In addition, you may apply for a free Big Red Safety Box that includes actual safety materials/items, at the following link: Big Red Safety Box
The National Autism Association accepts applications for their Give A Voice program, to "provide communication devices to individuals with autism who are non-verbal or minimally verbal, and whose communication challenges put them at increased risk of injury or harm." The funding for this program is "very limited" but the do review every application carefully. Information is at the following link: Give A Voice
National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability, also known as NCWD, has a guide on "The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities" that is available as a written publication (both .pdf and Word formats), in audio (MP3), and the sections and forms can be downloaded separately as well. The MS Word versions of the information are "designed specifically for those visitors using screen readers and/or braille translators. Phrases such as "pullout" and "sidebar" will be used throughout the Word documents to give readers with low vision and/or blindness a better understanding of how the text is laid out in the PDF version (with complete graphics). In addition, tables and charts within the documents will be reformatted for clarity".
National Technical Assistance Center on Transition, also known as NTACT, assists State Education Agencies, Local Education Agencies, State VR agencies, and VR service providers in implementing evidence-based and promising practices ensuring students with disabilities, including those with significant disabilities, graduate prepared for success in postsecondary education and employment.
The Office of Disability Employment Policy, also known as ODEP, has a web page devoted to links to disability resources, including Benefits, Civil Rights, Community Life, Education and Employment: ODEP Disability Resources. Also, ODEP has created the Skills to Pay the Bills curriculum to assist eductors and families with teaching soft skills. The free curriculum includes videos and lesson plans designed to engage middle and high school youth as they prepare for the world of work. Links to the downloadable curriculum, a hardcopy order form, the Spanish version and the video series are available at the following link: Soft Skills to Pay the Bills
Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence, also known as OCALI, is offering Third Thursday: Family Online Series, a monthly 1-hour webstream from 6:30 - 7:30pm on the third Thursday of each month, designed for families of individuals with disabilities. Information is available at the following link: OCALI Third Thursday. They have also created a free resource titled "Autism Spectrum Disorder - A Basic Introduction for Families"
The Organization for Autism Research, also known as OAR, has a free publication titled "Life Journey Through Autism: A Guide for Transition to Adulthood" to provide information about the transition process. Information is available at the following link: Transition To Adulthood It is available as a hardcopy, a download and in a Spanish version. OAR also has a Kit For Kids that is designed to teach elementary and middle school students (K - 8) about their peers with autism, as well as resources for siblings, including Autism, My Sibling and Me, Life As an Autism Sibling: A Guide For Teens and Brothers, Sisters, and Autism: A Parent’s Guide to Supporting Siblings
Preferred Employment Services works with individuals with various disabilities, both developmental and physical in nature, as they prepare to enter the workforce.
Restoring Hope is an agency that contracts with Missouri Department of Mental Health to provide residential services to persons with developmental disabilities. They also contract with the Children’s Division of Missouri Department of Social Services.
Sesame Street and Autism, also known as See Amazing in All Children, has a page with Videos for Parents, including Being a Supportive Parent, A Sibling Story and Meeting Unique Needs.
Smart Apps For Kids offers information about iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch apps, including a list of the Top 50 Totally FREE Educational Apps on iTunes. You can sort apps by age/subject and look through their top picks.
The Autism Clinic at Hope, which has a clinic in St Louis, has social skill services via a sliding scale fee for those who do not have insurance that covers the service. They also have a preschool ABA program. They may be reached at 314-328-0076 (St Louis clinic) or at TheAutismClinic.org
The Autism Program of Illinois, also known as TAP, offers the following list of common terms, acronyms, and definitions related to ASD (both English and Spanish versions are at this webpage): Common Terms
The Complete List of Free Things and Grants for Kids with Special Needs lists multiple resources for therapy tools and mobility aids, travel help, financial assistance, and other needs.
The Sensory Spectrum is an online sensory community that includes a list of Autism Books for Siblings, helpful tips, and other available resources.
The St. Louis Public Library hosts Sensory Storytime for children ages 3-9 who experience sensory integration challenges, autism or difficulty sitting still. The story time includes music, movement and sensory activity play.
Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders has the mission to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by autism spectrum disorder and neurodevelopmental disorders through world class programs that integrate research, clinical service delivery, education and public policy. Their STRIVE program is a post-secondary education program offering two semesters of noncredit employment skills development at the University of Missouri for 18- to 25-year olds with autism.
Understood.org is designed to provide support for parents with children ages 3-20 who experience learning and attention challenges. Their IEP Goal Tracker is a free resource for parents to "help you stay on top of your child’s IEP goals, present level of performance and the progress she's making. It can also help you keep track of questions or observations you might want to raise with the IEP team". They also have a Parent Toolkit page on which you may receive "personalized recommendations for your child" ~ you input which areas in attention and learning with which your child has challenges, and then the grade level of your child, and you are directed to related resources. Find information at the following link under the Your Parent Toolkit tab (top of page, sixth tab) : Recommendations
Parents and caregivers may also want to make use of these additional resources they provide:
- 3 x 3 Card to Help Teachers Get to Know Your Child
- Contact List for Who to Call at Your Child's School
- IEP Binder Checklist
- Parent-School Communication Log for Your IEP Binder
The U.S. Department of Education in January 2017 published A Transition Guide to Postsecondary Education and Employment for Students and Youth with Disabilities.
Wolfner Library Talking Book and Braille Services serves qualifying Missourians who are unable to read standard print materials due to blindness, visual impairment, or physical disability, either temporary or permanent. Their materials include: free loan of audio, braille and large-print books; free loan of audio players; free book downloads, available 24 hours a day; and films with descriptive narration. You may contact them at 800-392-2614 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Wonderland Camp provides a "fun, educational summer camp experience for campers of all ability levels and of all ages".
100 Day Kit for School Age Children is a tool designed by Autism Speaks to assist families of children between the ages of 5 and 13 recently diagnosed with autism during the critical period following an autism diagnosis. You may contact the Autism Speaks Autism Response Team at 888-AUTISM2 (888-288-4762).
Transitioning to college resources
Do you have a student that is transitioning to college? Here are some resources:
- Scholarships and Financial Aid
- College Opportunities for Students with Disabilities
- Vocational/Trade School
- Supporting Students With Hearing Impairments
- Supporting Students with Visual Impairments
Support groups and resources
This list is compiled from information provided to us. If you know of other support resources, or have corrections to this list, please contact us.
A Free Respite Night
A Free Respite Night for children with special needs is available the second Saturday of each month from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Bolivar. Reserve one week ahead. For more information, contact Kelly at 417-773-6326 or email@example.com
Autism Speaks maintains a list of family support groups throughout Missouri, along with a map of locations, at the following link: Support Groups. Their entire resource guide is available at the following link: Missouri guide.
Bill and Virginia Leffen Center for Autism Parent Support Group
Bill and Virginia Leffen Center for Autism Parent Support Group meets the first Tuesday of the month from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 2808 South Pitcher Avenue, Joplin. For information, contact Tia Ly at 417-347-7850. In addition, they host Parents' Coffee and Playdate for caregivers of children with developmental delays, age preschool and younger, on the fourth Friday of the month from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Caregivers of People with Asperger Syndrome
Caregivers of People with Asperger Syndrome meets the third Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. For information, contact Sharon Spurlock at 314-817-2222 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Cass ASD Support Group
Cass ASD Support Group meets the second Tuesday of the month from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Casco Area Workshop, 1800 Vine, Harrisonville, MO.
Cole County Autism Support Group
Cole County Autism Support Group meets the last Thursday of the month at 6:30 pm at The Ability Center, 601 East High Street, Jefferson City. For information, call 573-634-4555.
Easter Seals Midwest conducts various types of support groups for families. Parents of A Child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder meets at 10176 Corporate Square Drive, Suite 150, St. Louis,on the 2nd Saturday of each month. Sibling Support Groups meet as follows: Ages 5-11, 6pm to 7pm, 2nd Wednesday of each month/Ages 12-18, 7 pm to 8:30 pm, 2nd Wednesday of each month. For more details, please contact Easter Seals Midwest at 314-432-6200 or email@example.com
Family Connections Parent Support Meeting
Family Connections Parent Support Meeting meets the first Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at Developmental Connections office, 1533 East State Highway 76, Branson. For more information, call 417-335-4135.
Missouri Advocates for Families Affected by Autism
Lee's Summit MOAFAA, which stands for Missouri Advocates for Families Affected by Autism, meets the first Monday of the month at 7 p.m. at Legacy Christian Church, 2150 East Langsford, Lee's Summit. For information, call 816-554-3017.
Missouri Families for Effective Autism Treatment, also known as MO-FEAT, has compiled the MO-FEAT Statewide Autism Resource Directory which may be viewed online, searched online or sent to you in hardcopy free of charge by request. Please visit the following link for more information: MO-FEAT directory
There is a new Facebook group called Missouri Siblings that "is a group for people who are siblings of people with disabilities, as well as anyone wanting to support us as well as our disabled siblings. We are looking to start a chapter of the Sibling Leadership Network." While the group is a "closed" group, it is for members of the autism community and "anyone who is passionate about disability rights is welcome to join". Search for Missouri Siblings after logging in to your Facebook account.
Mothers of Children who Have Autism, also known as M.O.C.H.A., provides connections and organizes activities for families.
Northwest Autism Spectrum Family Support Group
Northwest Autism Spectrum Family Support Group meets the last Thursday of the month from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, 207 North 7th Street, St Joseph. For information , call Jamie at 816-390-8545 or Robin at 816-792-2823.
Parents' Support Group
Parents' Support Group meets the third Monday of the month at the Judevine Center for Autism, 3946 Lindell Boulevard, Suite 110, St Louis. Call 800-780-6545 to confirm.
Single Moms' Support Group meets on alternate Tuesdays from 6:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at South Haven Baptist Church, 2353 South Campbell, Springfield. Respite provided. For more information, contact Kathy Meyer at 417-496-2773.
Social Thinking Young Adults Support Group
Social Thinking Young Adults Support Group for young adults age 18 and up with Aspergers meets on Tuesdays from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the AutPlay Therapy Clinic, 2407 South Campbell, Springfield. For more information, contact Carrie Thomas at 417-425-2907.
Support Group for Adults with Aspergers
Support Group for Adults with Aspergers meets the second Wednesday of the month from 6:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. at TouchPoint/Easter Seals, 10176 Corporate Square Drive, St Louis For information, call 314-743-9890 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Southwest Missouri Autism Network, also known as SWAN, meets the second Saturday of the month from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the ARC of the Ozarks, 1501 East Pythian Street, Springfield. RSVP for limited childcare slots. For more information, call 417-874-1912 or follow SWAN on Facebook.
Other information of interest
SPARK, which stands for Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge, is a long-term online autism research project whose mission is to: "speed up research and advance our understanding of autism to help improve lives. The entire autism community is invited to participate". For more information, please visit the following website: SPARK or email them at: info@SPARKforAutism.org
The Wall Lab at Stanford University is seeking participants for their study that aims to "understand the connection between bacteria in the gut and behaviors expressed by children with autism". All participation is online and at home. For more information, please see their press release: Microbiome or visit the study website: M3: Microbiome, Metabolites, and the Mind