Birchtree Center offers admission-free autism programs
Available for families and educators
Portsmouth Herald - 10/2/2017
NEWINGTON - Since 2000, the number of students with autism in New Hampshire has increased six fold, according to the state's Council on Autism Spectrum Disorders. The Birchtree Center, a nonprofit autism agency based in Newington, is offering a series of admission-free programs this school year to help individuals affected by this trend.
Birchtree's autism specialists traveled a combined 28,713 miles in 2016 providing consultation, assessments, staff training and services in public schools and family homes throughout the Seacoast and beyond.
"Many of the school staff we meet are eager to learn more about autism; this series offers some practical ideas they can use in their classrooms," said Clinical Outreach Director Stephanie Morin.
The series begins Oct. 11 with a workshop for para-educators, child care providers and direct service providers on "Strategies for Working with Young Children with Autism" age 6 and younger. The presentation will be followed by questions and discussion. Certificates of attendance are provided.
The first program for families, a question-and-answer session titled "Ask a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant," is Nov. 8. Parents, guardians and caregivers are invited to ask questions and get ideas on helping their children with autism to develop communication skills, strengthen social skills and effectively use communication systems such as iPads.
Programs are offered from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on selected Wednesdays at the Birchtree Center at 2064 Woodbury Ave., Suite 204. Admission is complimentary and reservations are required. Complimentary onsite child care is available for families during the question-and-answer sessions but child care reservations are required at least seven days in advance.
These programs are underwritten by donations and fundraising events, including a benefit auction for The Birchtree Center to be held Nov. 4 at the Regatta Room at 28 Levesque Drive in Eliot, Maine. For reservations and information, visit birchtreecenter.org or call 433-4192.
Since 2002, the nonprofit Birchtree Center has promoted independence, engaging relationships and productive lives for children and youth with autism at home, at school and in the community.
Twenty-three public school districts in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts send students to attend Birchtree's year-round special-educational day school in Newington, which serves students age 2 to 21 with autism.
It also offers consultation, assessments, training and direct services in family homes and public schools. For updates on Birchtree Center events and news, visit facebook.com/birchtreecenter.