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What is Autism?

Autism is a complex brain-based disorder that affects a person’s behavior, social and communication skills. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and no two children with autism are exactly alike. It is part of a group of disorders known as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Common problems exhibited by those with ASD are difficulty in social situations, some never learn to speak, while others speak, but use language in unusual ways, others are sensitive to loud noises or bright lights.

If a child is diagnosed with autism, early intervention is critical to gain the maximum benefit from existing therapies. In addition, after children have been diagnosed by psychologists, developmental pediatricians, psychiatrists and neurologists, the need for treatment and services are abundant. Meeting the extraordinary challenge of this complex neurologically based developmental disorder – You can change the lives of children throughout Franklin and Grand Isle Counties who are diagnosed with autism. The Fund Drive focuses on NCSS’ autism initiative to combat the growing challenge of the explosive growth of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Treatments for Autism

Although there’s no single treatment for all children with autism most individuals respond to highly structured educational programs. These are examples of services that will make a difference:


Diagnosis is made by a developmental pediatrician or a psychologist. Additional assessments may include speech, physical therapy, occupational therapy or sensory integration.

Educational Materials

Children with ASD diagnosis need specific educational materials such as:

  • PECS – Picture Exchange Communication System
  • Visual schedules
  • Social stories

Adaptive Equipment:

  • Gross motor equipment such as an adapted tricycle
  • Fine motor materials such as pencil grips or slanted writing boards
  • Sensory equipment such as a swing-set
  • Augmentative communication materials/devices

Case Management for Families:

  • Service coordination
  • Family support at home and at school team meetings
  • Assistance with accessing funding, training and personal care services
  • Assistance with accessing community supports and services

Respite Care

A service where an individual comes into the home to provide care and supervision to a child or adult to give the family a much needed break or rest.

Signing Instruction

Exact English sign language training classes as well as individual assistance with alternative modes of communication (picture exchange communication systems, communication boards, etc.) to assist children and adults with language acquisition for those who struggle communicating.

Camps – Autism Specific

There are several summer camps specifically for people with autism in Vermont. The average stay is one to two weeks.

Adaptive Music

Therapeutic music sessions where communication is strengthened, movement is encouraged, and children with autism have an opportunity to engage in sensory stimulation while working on necessary skills that enhance their lives.

Sensory Toys

Stimulating toys that address all the senses. Children with autism need sensory stimulation such as interactive toys that they can touch, smell, hear, taste and see. New toys are designed to encourage growth and also promote relaxation.

For information and resources for risk management of children with ASD vistit: Autism Risk and Safety

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