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New network offers families support, help

March 22, 2013

Regularly scheduled family support groups and education workshops for families with children on the autism spectrum have been dormant in the Mahoning Valley for more than a year as the former Tri County chapter explored than executed its merger with the Autism Society of Ohio.

After that took place, the group conducted a need evaluation survey showing results from parents asking for more information on wide variety of topics. To address this need, yet make it convenient for parents to participate, ASO-MV has launched its Parent Exchange Network.

Parent Exchange Network is a supportive environment where parents can gather monthly with others who have children on the spectrum to exchange ideas, offer friendship and learn from experts about the important topics affecting families.

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On consecutive Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 8 p.m., parents can gather in the community rooms in each of the region's three counties centrally located regional libraries to meet, share and here a speaker on a topic identified in the survey.

"Our parents are faced with a constantly changing set of challenges as their child grows and changes so we want to offer every family the best help we can," said Aundrea Cika, director of the ASO Mahoning Valley office. "We are very excited that the region's experts in a variety of fields related to health, behavior and communication are willing to donate their time to assist our families."

All of the PEN workshops are free and open to families who might be interested.

Fact Box

Upcoming meetings of PEN

April 3 at

Austintown Library

Exploring a Special Needs Trust

With Susan Gaetano Maruca,

The Maruca Law Firm

If designed correctly, this financial tool will help establish financial security for your loved on both now and well into the future while protecting their financial interests and eligibility.

April 17 at

Columbiana Library

A Safe Path to Independence

With Dr. Lisa Audet, CCC-SLP

Kent State University

Safety concerns are a priority for all parents of individuals with ASD. Learn strategies for helping them understand and stay safe in different contexts. Examine why we need to start young and persist in our efforts as well as intervene with older individuals.

April 24 at

Howland Library

Signing to Improve Communication

With Kim Bass,

Signing Time Academy

Signing is fun, easy to learn, practical and has proven to be beneficial to any child, especially one working to overcome communication issues. Come find out the basics and how to make learning sign language fun.

For more information, call 330-743-9184



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