Autism Resources Chesterfield VA

Autism is a harrowing, complex illness, and understanding it fully is one of the best ways to fight against it. Autism resources not only provide information about the affliction, but also about groups and networks of support and help, and possible treatment options. Check below for more on autism resources.

Virginia Autism Resource Center (VARC)
877-667-7771; (804) 674-8888, ex. 5161
4100 Price Club Boulevard
Midlothian, VA
Support Services
Other, Training/Seminars

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Commonwealth Autism Service
(800) 649-8481 or 804-355-0300
2201 West Broad Street, Suite 107
Richmond, VA
Support Services
Government/State Agency, Helpful Websites, Training/Seminars

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Autism Society of America, Central VA Chapter
(804) 257-0192
P.O. Box 29364
Richmond, VA
Support Services
Support Organization, Training/Seminars
Ages Supported
Preschool,Kindergarten,1-5 Grade,6-8 Grade,9-10 Grade,11-12 Grade,Adult

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PEATC (Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center) Satellite Office
(804) 819-1999
21 Professional Center, 2025 East Main St., Suite 104
Richmond, VA
Support Services
Support Organization, Training/Seminars

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Virginia Autism Resource Center -- Richmond Offices
(804) 674-8888 x 5162
4100 Price Club Blvd
Midlothian, VA
Support Services
Adult Support, Marriage & Family Counseling, Other, Support Group Meetings, Support Organization

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VDOE Autism Priority Project
(804) 786-9775
VA Dept. of Education
Richmond, VA
Support Services
Publications, State Resources, Education, Training/Seminars
Ages Supported
1-5 Grade,11-12 Grade,6-8 Grade,9-10 Grade,Kindergarten,Preschool

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The Virginia Autism Council
(804) 827-9991
10 East Franklin St
Richmond, VA
Support Services
State Resources, Education, Training/Seminars
Ages Supported
1-5 Grade,11-12 Grade,6-8 Grade,9-10 Grade,Adult,Kindergarten,Preschool

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Lauren McAdams
(804) 396-0122
2309 Quarterdeck Ct
Richmond, VA
Support Services
Academic Assessments, Behavorial Intervention, Early Intervention, Floortime, Play Therapy, Social Skills Training, Support / Tutoring, Training/Seminars
Ages Supported
Preschool,Kindergarten

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The Faison School for Autism
(804) 827-3801
Affiliated with the Autism Center of Virginia at VCU, 1325 Palmyra Ave.
Richmond, VA
Support Services
Education, Marriage & Family Counseling, Summer Camp/ESY, Support Organization, Training/Seminars

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SNAP Support the Needs of Autistics Parents
(804) 739-8259
5901 Moss Creek Rd.
Midlothian, VA
Support Services
Support Organization

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A Mother's Denial, Grief and Joy at the VIP World of Autism

A mother's denial, grief and joy at the VIP world of autism

Miranda Steffen

When Aiden was VERY young [less than a year], his father and I would talk to him in what we called our "Minnie Mouse voice." We later found out he could barely hear us due to the fact that he had repeated ear infections for, basically, his entire first year of life. Amazing enough, he could beat his spoon to any beat that he heard by the time he was 6 months old as long as it was a deep bass. We thought he was a musical genius, and would call the grandparents listen to him tap. We never mentioned all of the other milestones he was missing. He was sick all of the time – wouldn’t that delay anyone?

It was during this time that Aiden lost a lot of his sounds. His cooing stopped and the gibberish WAS audibly different. We chalked it up to hearing loss, but hindsight is 50-50....especially in the world of autism. Aiden never had vaccinations on time due to all of his illnesses so I don’t feel like HIS autism is a product of vaccines, but that’s not to say that vaccines haven’t affected others. I remember his sonogram. His head size showed his due date 2 weeks before his body size did. A red flag of autism is a large head. In fact, his pediatrician even sent him to for a CAT scan because his head was so large. They worried that he had water on his brain, but not ONCE did we hear the word "AUTISM." It came out fine and we never heard about it again.

The first person to utter "autism" to us was our SoonerStart SLP, Patti. Next was my sister in law at Thanksgiving. Both times I got very offended. I canceled the next two appointments with Patti and told Crystal to leave it alone – that she was full of shit. The older Aiden got, the more milestones I saw pass by. At 12 months he wasn’t walking. His first word wasn’t “mama” or “dada” it was “ish” for “fish.” He used to stare at the aquarium forever. I thought it was just calming. Now, I know it was a world easier to focus on than the one around him.

I had quit my job to stay at home with Aiden and his older brother, Phoenix, who is four-and-a-half years older than him. When Aiden wouldn’t play with me the way Phoenix had, I thought it was because there was a big brother to compete with. When he stared at corners of the walls and babbled, I thought it was cute and told people he talked to ghosts (we are avid fans of ghosts and spirits in my family). When he became fascinated with washing machines, I assumed that he was a stay-at-home kid who watched Mommy do laundry 9 million times a day. I would sit down to play with him and he would walk away, I chalked it up to being boring. “I just need to kick it up a notch,” I said to myself. So we joined playgroups and Kindermusik. After all, this kid LOVED music, right? Wrong. He would scream in class when he had to sit down until they played music with a strong beat or they played Baby Burrito. This is where they lay down a sheet, and a kid lies on it. They pick up both ends...

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An Indian Mother's Journey for Her Son with Autism

An Indian mother's journey for her son with autism

Ritu Rassay

My son Akshat, 6.5, is autistic and we came to know about his autism when he was 2. We live in a country (India) where resources are limited, limited to some of the big cities. My entire world came to a standstill when I got to know the difficulties a person could have with autism. Akshat was my first and only child and I decided his name before he was born. His name means complete, totality. Now, it seems I had kept a wrong name for my son as so much is incomplete in him.

Time went on. We searched for many autism treatments and got to know about a three-month mother/child training program. I decided to do it along with my son. As the training went on, I learnt about ABA and other therapy treatments. It was time when my son was 4 years old. Gradually, I got confidence and came to know that a ray of hope was there. I started working with my son and he started giving me responses. That was the first time I realized, “yes something can happen.” There were times when the whole day I kept crying but now I am “thinking positive.” Still there are doubts in my mind, but days are changed now.

Then, I again did another mother/child training. This time my son’s age was 6. My son responded much better than before. I am also a changed mom now. My thinking has totally changed. It is very much logical and scientific now. It’s like Autism has shown me a path to see life in a different way.

In our city, there’s...

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Seven Unexpected Ways to Increase Your Child's Learning

Dr. Kari Miller

When most people hear words such as “learning,” “smart,” or “memory,” they automatically think of the brain. In school we teach “to the head” only, asking students to sit in chairs for long periods of time, listening and looking almost exclusively at abstract symbols, even when they are very young.

Very few people think the rest of the body has anything to do with academic success. But surprising results from brain research indicate that learning cannot occur without cooperation between the body and the brain.

Emotions and Stress
Because of the way the brain is wired, emotional states run our lives. Every activity in which your child engages is infused with his emotions. Emotions are constantly changing, and are easily influenced.

Emotions such as joy encourage brain cell development by releasing chemicals such as dopamine. When children are happy and calm, they learn and remember more than when they are anxious, tense or irritated. Your child’s brain releases dopamine in response to pleasurable circumstances such chocolate ice cream. But even more importantly, the brain releases dopamine in response to security, recognition, and success.

Dopamine travels to the front of the brain where it influences skills essential for learning. The frontal lobes of your child’s brain are largely in charge of critical skills such as paying attention, recognizing and discriminating critical features, decision making and judgment, all essential for intelligent behavior and school success.

Unfortunately, fear and threat greatly inhibit intelligent behavior. Circumstances that your child finds unpleasant and out of his control produce a stress state in the body. Chronic stress reactions release chemicals that reduce blood flow to the brain, cause atrophy of nerve cells, and impair memory.

Help your child succeed academically by encouraging him to focus on his strengths, stay positive about his ability to learn, and “dream big” about the future! And most importantly, develop and maintain a strongly supportive relationship between you and your child.

Motivation and Inspiration
Learners respond to challenging tasks, not to tasks that are too hard or too easy. If the work your child brings home is not “challenging,” you must work with her teacher to adjust the difficulty level of the work. This is a key to helping your child discover that she is a strong learner who can succeed in academics.

Learners with special needs have experienced much more failure and disappointment than other learners. They often suffer from learned helplessness—a disempowering belief that they are “stupid” and “can’t learn.” When your child repeatedly views her behavior as flawed, her future success is stifled.

When your child thinks about her failures, her inspiration is soured, her body releases less dopamine, and her opportunity to be brilliant is reduced. Therefore, as hard as it may ...

Click here to read the rest of this article from Autism Support Network