Children's Autism Center offers hope
Opportunity Village provides hope for families overwhelmed
by the challenges of raising a child on the Autism Spectrum.
With a $26,000 grant from United Way of North Central Iowa,
the Opportunity Village Children's Autism Center (OVCAC) began in August 2013
with a support group for parents and caregivers called Family 2 Family Connect.
Since then, additional support groups, educational
opportunities, family activities, and resources have expanded the Children's
Autism Center's outreach.
"It is our hope that if we can combine support
programs, education, navigation of existing area services, training for
children in their home and community, and training of children in the clinic,
that would make us very unique," said Village Services Director Jim Aberg.
Christina Maulsby, who has two young sons with autism, has
been hired as project coordinator for the OVCAC.
"We want to improve the quality of services to children
with autism whom we presently serve and also children in the future," said
Families also need help navigating the "broad and
sometimes complicated system" of assistance for children with Autism
Spectrum Disorder (ASD). "We want to establish a stronger working
relationship with the network of providers in the area who offer some aspects of
services (for instance, speech, psychiatric, social services, education
resources, etc.)," Aberg said.
The Village also is sorting out the funding streams that
could make these various paths come together into a map for families.
The Children's Autism Center will provide assessment,
positive behavior supports, and skill building activities to improve the lives
of children with autism. The backbone of our approach will be the best
practices based on current studies.
An Advisory Council
has been created for the OVCAC. The role of this group of volunteers
will be to advise the Village on the OVCAC activities, make suggestions, and
review whether we are meeting the needs of the community. This group will meet at least four
times a year.
With the help of the Cerro Gordo County Medical Alliance, a
resource library is taking shape at the OVCAC. Books, DVDs, technology, used equipment, and toys are
available for families to check out through the center.
Click here to find out more about OVCAC support groups, events, and activities.
For information about the Children's Autism Center, contact
, project coordinator, at 641-355-1216.
Want to receive e-mail with programs, activities, and news about the OVCAC? Sign up here.