NUTRITIONAL & SENSORY THERAPIES STIPEND
The Nutritional & Sensory Therapies Stipend provides funds for families to apply for a reimbursement stipend of $250 per child with autism for nutritional and sensory treatments. This includes: probiotics, digestive enzymes, omega 3 multivitamin/minerals, nutritional supplements, allergy and intolerance testing, co-payments for nutrition counseling, gluten free/casein free products and sensory products. These items are often not covered by insurance and can be difficult for families to afford. The stipend reimburses families for their purchases of these items for their child or children affected by autism.
AUTISM RESOURCE LIBRARY
In 2014 the Las Cruces Public Schools partnered with Hearts for Autism to combine two lending library collections and establish the Autism Resource Library in its new location, housed inside Centennial High School. The library offers developmental and educational toys, learning resources, games and literature about autism spectrum disorder. The collection is available for check out all families and community members. Materials for families and educators to create visual supports, social stories and other supports are made accessible to include: color printing, lamination, Velcro and foam board. Additionally, a Hearts for Autism staff member is made available for parents to have additional support and access to the Autism Resource Library. The Autism Resource Library has over 1,500 items in its catalog and has checked out over 300 items to patrons just within the last year! We currently have over 50 patrons and continue to expand everyday as more people discover this valuable resource.
“I love to come in and learn about the new items and learn what’s new and what’s out there for my boys. Marisa Cano (Hearts for Autism Fund Employee) and Jeni Raess (LCPS Autism Social Worker) are very helpful resources during all of my visits. I also like that I can call and make arrangements to go by the library for a special occasion if needed. Very accommodating.”
-Donna Kulpa, Parent & Autism Resource Library Patron
Parent Support Program
Since 2015, the Parent Support Program sponsored by Hearts for Autism Fund, has provided individual assistance to over 20 families living with autism. The program is individualized to each family to provide tailored support and resources. Services are provided through a variety of methods including: home visits, telephone calls, and text messaging and emails in order to meet the needs of busy families looking for answers and help. Services include assisting families finding local resources, navigating the school system, seeking evaluations, creating visual supports, and providing parenting assistance.
“The Parent Support Services program by the Hearts for Autism, led by Mrs. Marisa Cano, has provided my family with essential support since my son was diagnosed with Autism.
It is an excellent centralized guide for services and resources targeted to individual needs and local community access. It has guided me and my family with education on the topic, and has supported and empowered us from finding individual therapies, to school/group instruction, to in-home training to community integration.
In my opinion, the program is a vital part of the system. I hope it continues to expand and grow to serve many more families, as is the beginning of a life long journey of integration, awareness, support and empowerment to those impacted by Autism.”
-Judy Silva, Parent and Parent Support Program Participant