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Sun., Oct. 4
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NRCIL starting autism spectrum support group in Lowville


LOWVILLE — Northern Regional Center for Independent Living is starting a support group here for parents of children with autism spectrum disorders or other special needs.

“Hopefully, this will be a group that’s going to connect many families along their journey with their children’s development,” said Karen M. Boliver, who heads the nonprofit agency’s Lowville office.

NRCIL will host an informational session on the group at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 7 at its 7632 N. State St. office.

Those attending will discuss preferred times for future support group meetings, what needs may be met through the group, issues of child care during meetings and other logistical issues.

As many as one in every 88 children fall somewhere on the autism spectrum, according to a report issued earlier this year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network. Ten years ago, that estimate was about one in every 150 children.

Despite the increased prevalence of the disorder, there are no parent support groups in Lewis County; the ones in Watertown and Utica are the closest, Mrs. Boliver said.

However, similar groups for parents of children with special needs have been organized in the past, she said, noting she had participated in one years ago.

The notion of starting a new group here came from the parent of a child diagnosed on the autism spectrum, Mrs. Boliver said.

“We want to provide what the community members have identified as a missing link in services,” she said.

Parents of children with special needs can easily feel isolated, so a support group reminds them that they are not alone, Mrs. Boliver said.

Those with older children may give advice and hope to “families that are just starting,” she said.

Group members may share techniques that have helped their children and what kind of dentists or other professionals have worked best in dealing with sensory issues, said Cathie J. Wooledge, family advocate and parenting educator at NRCIL.

“To share that information is very useful,” Mrs. Wooledge said.

The group also may prove beneficial to the children, helping them realize they are not alone, she said.

Anyone with interest in the support group who is unable to attend the informational meeting is asked to call Mrs. Wooledge at 376-8696.

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