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Your Dollars @ Work: Providing tools to support parents and providers

This Your Dollars @ Work post is from the Contra Costa Child Care Council in Concord, California. The Inclusion Project received an Autism Speaks Neighborhood Grant in 2013. Learn more about Autism Speaks local grants here. Recipients of this year's Local Grants will be announced next month.

The Inclusion Project, administered through the nonprofit Contra Costa Child Care Council, supports children birth through age 5 diagnosed with a developmental delay or exhibiting developmental concerns in licensed child care settings. The Inclusion Project has been providing free early intervention services and promoting accessibility to inclusive child care settings in Contra Costa County for over 12 years.

Highlights of Autism Speaks funding:

  • Child care providers were invited to attend training sessions on supporting children on the spectrum and with other special needs. Over 200 people benefitted from these training
  • Workshop participants learned about adapting books and classroom materials to meet all children’s diverse special needs and make reading more fun and engaging. 
  • Various materials were purchased or adapted, for example, “chewelry” for oral motor input, Social Stories for daily routines, book adaptations and a modified version of visuals, PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) for cognition and social communication
  • More than 300 Early Childhood Educators and parents attended our 20th annual conference, Join the Movement: The Art of Active Learning. Three sessions on special needs were conducted with a large turnout in these sessions; Among many topics offered, Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sensory Processing Disorder and Developmental Screenings

One of the families that benefited from the services funded by Autism Speaks, wrote this:

My family relocated to the states from China last November, and we immediately enrolled Ro in a preschool. He had a prior autism diagnosis. However, I needed to find additional help for him. I was perplexed by the process of applying for services, until I met Nina, the inclusion facilitator from the Contra Costa Child Care Council’s Inclusion Project. Nina steered me to the appropriate channels and informed me about strategies and local community resources. Exposure to activities facilitated by Nina, helped Ro make rapid progress in his social interactions and motor skills. Nina visited Ro in his preschool every Monday, consulted with his teachers, demonstrated practical strategies, especially communication skills and motor planning, and presented these strategies in a parent friendly way so I can practice these skills at home. Now Ro has a good friend and can also play cooperatively with other peers 1-1. Above all, I am really appreciative for Nina’s help and support during these days, and also for the Inclusion Project at the Contra Costa Child Care Council. As a mother of a 5-year-old boy with autism, it’s been a really a great project and I hope that more families can benefit from it like us. 
- by Judy (Ro’s Mom) 

One child care provider spoke for many when she said:

“These training sessions are essential to helping parents and child care providers communicate better with children, and, in turn, help children communicate better with others.”

For more information about the Child Care Council, visit our website here.

Learn more about the Inclusion Project here.

Or, download the Contra Costa Raising a Reader Book Adaptation Guide here.

Your Dollars @ Work is a blog series highlighting the important work of past recipients of Autism Speaks grants to give you a glimpse into how your donations are changing lives of so many in the autism community! Check out previous entries here

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.