Are you a BCBA or an RBT? Join The New Golden Steps ABA Fellowship Program
See Open Roles
We do not have a commercial relationship with any of these companies and have not otherwise been endorsed by, are not affiliated with, and do not intend to suggest a connection to, any of the companies listed on the page.

Autism Organizations In Massachusetts: The Ultimate Guide

Discover the top autism organizations in Massachusetts, their missions, and the services they provide to individuals and families affected by autism spectrum disorder.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects approximately 1 in 36 children in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Given the prevalence of autism, it is essential to have resources and organizations ready to support individuals with ASD and their families. In this article, we will discuss several top autism organizations in Massachusetts that provide support, advocacy, and resources for individuals and families affected by ASD.

The Autism Project

is a Massachusetts-based organization founded in 1997 by a group of parents, educators, and professionals. The organization's mission is to provide comprehensive support and services to individuals with ASD and their families.

Services and Programs

  • Social skills groups for children and adolescents
  • Parent training and education workshops
  • Professional development for educators and therapists
  • Advocacy for policy change and increased funding for autism services

Autism Speaks

is a national organization with a strong presence in Massachusetts. Their mission is to promote solutions and support for individuals with ASD and their families throughout their lives.

Services and Programs

  • Funding for research on the causes and treatments of autism
  • Advocacy for policy change and increased funding for autism services
  • Online resources, including the Autism Response Team, which provides personalized support and information

Autism Alliance

is a Massachusetts-based organization that supports individuals with ASD and their families. The organization provides resources, support, and advocacy to help individuals with autism reach their full potential.

Services and Programs

  • Family events and outings for socialization and support
  • Workshops and training for parents and caregivers
  • Support groups for siblings of individuals with ASD
  • Information and referral services to help families access resources

Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts (AFAM)

is an organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with ASD and their families by advocating for increased funding and services in Massachusetts.

Services and Programs

  • Advocacy for policy change and increased funding for autism services
  • Collaboration with other autism organizations and stakeholders
  • Public awareness campaigns to educate the community about autism

Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong (MASS)

is a self-advocacy organization supporting individuals with developmental disabilities, including autism. MASS empowers individuals with disabilities to advocate for their rights and participate in decisions that affect their lives.

Services and Programs

  • Self-advocacy training workshops
  • Peer support groups
  • Leadership development for individuals with disabilities
  • Collaboration with other disability rights organizations

Autism Insurance Resource Center

is an organization that assists individuals with ASD and their families in understanding and accessing insurance coverage for autism-related services in Massachusetts.

Services and Programs

  • Information on insurance coverage for autism services
  • Assistance with navigating insurance claims and appeals
  • Workshops and presentations for families, providers, and employers
  • Collaboration with other autism organizations and stakeholders

Educational Support and Resources in Massachusetts Public Schools

Massachusetts public schools offer a range of educational support and resources for students with autism to ensure their academic success and social development.

Services and Programs

  • Individualized Education Program (IEP): Tailored education plans created by a team of professionals, including teachers, therapists, and parents, to address the specific needs of each student with autism.
  • Inclusive classrooms: Integration of students with autism alongside their neurotypical peers in general education settings, promoting diversity and social interaction.
  • Specialized instruction: Trained special education teachers provide targeted instruction in small-group or one-on-one settings to help students with autism develop essential academic skills.
  • Assistive technology: Access to tools and devices designed to enhance communication, learning, and independence for students with autism.
  • Related services: Occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, counseling, and other services addressing the unique needs of students with autism.
  • Transition planning: Assistance in preparing students with autism for life after high school through vocational training, post-secondary education planning, and independent living skills development.

Employment Opportunities and Vocational Training for Adults with Autism in Massachusetts

Massachusetts offers various employment opportunities and vocational training programs to support adults with autism in achieving independence and success in the workforce.

Services and Programs

  • Work Without Limits: A statewide network of employers, educational institutions, and service providers dedicated to increasing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, including autism. The program offers job placement assistance, career development resources, and employer engagement initiatives.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services: Provided by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC), VR services assist adults with autism in finding suitable employment through individualized assessments, job coaching, workplace accommodations, and skills training.
  • The Price Center: A non-profit organization offering vocational training programs specifically designed for adults with autism. Their programs include on-the-job training, internships, supported employment services, and partnerships with local businesses.
  • Transitions Centers: These centers provide comprehensive transition services to help young adults with autism develop essential life skills, including career exploration activities, work readiness training, job placement assistance, and ongoing support from dedicated professionals.
  • Autism Job Club: A community-based initiative that connects adults with autism to potential employers while providing resources such as resume writing workshops, mock interviews practice sessions, networking events, and access to a supportive peer network.

Financial Assistance Programs and Grants for Families Affected by Autism in Massachusetts

Financial assistance programs and grants are available to families affected by autism in Massachusetts, offering much-needed support to cover the costs of therapy, medical care, and other essential services.

The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism

The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism offers grants to families in New England, including Massachusetts, who need financial assistance for various expenses related to autism spectrum disorder. The foundation's goal is to help families access necessary resources that improve the quality of life for individuals with autism.

TILL (Towards Independent Living and Learning) Spectrum Umbrella Program

TILL's Spectrum Umbrella Program offers financial assistance specifically designed for children with autism. The program provides funding for a variety of services tailored to meet the unique needs of each family, including therapeutic interventions, respite care, adaptive equipment, and educational materials.

Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC)

The MDDC administers several grant programs aimed at improving the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities such as autism. These grants can support projects focused on community integration, advocacy efforts, and enhancing service delivery systems.

MassHealth Autism Waiver Program

MassHealth provides an Autism Waiver Program that offers financial aid to eligible families whose children have been diagnosed with ASD. This waiver covers services such as intensive behavioral intervention therapies and skill-building activities that may not be covered by traditional insurance plans.

The Helping Hand Program

The Helping Hand Program is an initiative by the National Autism Association that assists families affected by autism in covering various expenses related to treatment or therapy. Although this program is not exclusive to Massachusetts residents, it remains a valuable resource for those seeking additional financial support.

Recreational and Social Activities for Individuals with ASD in Massachusetts

Massachusetts offers a variety of recreational and social activities specifically designed to cater to the unique needs and interests of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These programs provide opportunities for personal growth, social interaction, and skill development in a supportive environment.

Special Olympics Massachusetts

Special Olympics Massachusetts provides year-round sports training and athletic competitions for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, including ASD. Participating in Special Olympics events not only promotes physical fitness but also encourages teamwork, self-confidence, and social interaction among athletes.

The Friendship Connection

The Friendship Connection is a non-profit organization that offers social skills groups for children and young adults with ASD. Through these groups, participants can engage in fun activities, build friendships, develop communication skills, and practice appropriate social behavior in various settings.

Aspire Program at MGH Lurie Center

The Aspire program at the MGH Lurie Center offers therapeutic recreational programs for children, teens, and adults with high-functioning autism. Their offerings include summer camps, afterschool clubs, weekend workshops, vacation programs, and adult social groups that focus on fostering independence, enhancing social skills, promoting self-esteem, and providing an inclusive community experience.

Autism Eats

Autism Eats is a dining club designed specifically for families affected by ASD. They organize sensory-friendly meals at local restaurants throughout Massachusetts where families can enjoy a meal together without worrying about judgment or unwelcoming environments. Autism Eats events create an opportunity for families to connect with one another while providing a positive dining experience for individuals with autism.

The Arc of Massachusetts Recreation Programs

The Arc of Massachusetts organizes recreational programs tailored to meet the needs of individuals with intellectual disabilities such as autism. Some examples include art classes, music therapy sessions, dance lessons, outdoor adventures like hiking or kayaking trips – all designed to promote engagement while nurturing creativity, self-expression, and social skills.

The New England Center for Children (NECC) Adaptive Sports Program

The NECC Adaptive Sports Program offers various sports and recreational activities for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. Activities include swimming, horseback riding, skiing, basketball, soccer, and more. These programs are designed to improve physical fitness while fostering social skills and personal growth in a supportive environment.

Housing Options and Support Services for Adults with Autism

Massachusetts offers a variety of housing options and support services designed to meet the unique needs of adults with autism, whether they choose to live independently or in group homes.

Independent Living Supports

For adults with autism who desire to live independently, there are various programs and services available to help them achieve their goals:

  • Supported Living Program: This program offers assistance in finding suitable housing, accessing community resources, managing finances, and developing daily living skills such as cooking, cleaning, and self-care.
  • Home Modifications: Financial assistance may be available to make necessary modifications to the home environment. These adaptations can include installing grab bars, ramps, or sensory-friendly lighting to enhance safety and accessibility.
  • Assistive Technology: Access to devices that promote independence in communication, mobility, or other daily activities is essential for individuals with autism living independently. These tools can range from specialized computer software to visual schedules or communication boards.

Group Homes

Group homes provide a supportive residential setting for adults with autism who may benefit from living in a structured environment with peers. These facilities offer various services tailored to the unique needs of each resident:

  • 24-hour Staff Support: Trained staff members are available around the clock to assist residents with personal care tasks, medication management, meal preparation, and other daily living activities.
  • Social and Recreational Activities: Group homes often organize events and outings that encourage socialization among residents while fostering personal growth and skill development.
  • Behavioral Support: Many group homes offer behavioral support services designed specifically for individuals with autism. This can include individualized behavior plans or access to trained therapists who specialize in evidence-based interventions such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

Additional Resources

Several organizations in Massachusetts provide information and referral services related to housing options for individuals with autism:

  • The Arc of Massachusetts: The Arc offers resources on housing options, including independent living supports and group homes, for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Autism Housing Pathways: This non-profit organization helps families navigate the complex process of securing appropriate housing options for their loved ones with autism.
  • Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS): DDS provides information on various residential services and supports available to eligible individuals with autism in Massachusetts.

Legal Rights and Protections for Individuals with Autism in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has specific laws and protections in place to ensure that individuals with autism have equal access to education, employment, and public services. These legal rights are designed to promote inclusion and prevent discrimination based on disability status.

Education Rights

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that guarantees the right to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) for all children with disabilities, including those with autism. In Massachusetts, this right is further reinforced by state regulations such as Chapter 766, which mandates special education services for eligible students.

Key educational rights for students with autism include:

  • Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
  • Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) principle
  • Due process rights for parents and guardians
  • Access to related services like speech therapy or occupational therapy

Employment Rights

Individuals with autism are protected under both federal and state laws when it comes to their rights in the workplace. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including autism, in all aspects of employment.

In Massachusetts, the Fair Employment Practices Act also offers protection against disability-based discrimination in the workplace. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations for qualified employees with disabilities unless doing so would cause undue hardship.

Key employment rights for individuals with autism include:

  • Equal opportunity in hiring, promotions, and job assignments
  • Reasonable accommodations such as modified work schedules or assistive technology
  • Protection from harassment or retaliation due to disability status

Public Services Rights

The ADA also ensures that people with disabilities have equal access to public services, programs, and facilities. In Massachusetts, this includes transportation services like paratransit options provided by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), accessible public buildings, and community events.

Key public service rights for individuals with autism include:

  • Accessible transportation options
  • Reasonable modifications to policies, practices, or procedures
  • Effective communication through auxiliary aids and services

By understanding and advocating for their legal rights, individuals with autism can ensure they have access to the resources and support they need to thrive in Massachusetts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I find a qualified professional to diagnose autism in Massachusetts?

To find a qualified professional to diagnose autism, you can consult your primary care physician for referrals or search the Massachusetts General Hospital Autism Resource Directory which provides a comprehensive list of specialists and diagnostic centers in the state.

Does Massachusetts offer financial assistance for families with autistic children?

Yes, there are several financial assistance programs and grants available for families affected by autism in Massachusetts. Some examples include The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism, TILL Spectrum Umbrella Program, MDDC grant programs, MassHealth Autism Waiver Program, and The Helping Hand Program.

What is an Individualized Education Program (IEP)?

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a tailored education plan created by a team of professionals, including teachers, therapists, and parents, to address the specific needs of each student with autism. The IEP outlines the student's academic goals and the necessary accommodations or services required for them to succeed in school.

Can adults with autism access vocational training programs in Massachusetts?

Yes, Massachusetts offers various employment opportunities and vocational training programs to support adults with autism in achieving independence and success in the workforce. Some examples include Work Without Limits, Vocational Rehabilitation Services provided by MRC, The Price Center vocational training programs, Transitions Centers, and Autism Job Club.

Are there recreational activities specifically designed for individuals with ASD in Massachusetts?

Yes, there are numerous recreational programs tailored for individuals with ASD across Massachusetts. These include Special Olympics Massachusetts events; social skills groups like The Friendship Connection; therapeutic recreational programs at MGH Lurie Center Aspire program; dining clubs like Autism Eats; arts classes from The Arc of Massachusetts; NECC Adaptive Sports Program, and more.

What are the housing options for adults with autism in Massachusetts?

Housing options for adults with autism in Massachusetts include independent living supports such as Supported Living Programs, home modifications, and assistive technology; group homes that provide 24-hour staff support, social and recreational activities, and behavioral support services; and other resources provided by organizations like The Arc of Massachusetts, Autism Housing Pathways, and DDS.

What legal rights do individuals with autism have in Massachusetts?

Individuals with autism have legal rights under federal laws like IDEA and ADA, as well as state regulations such as Chapter 766 (for education) and the Fair Employment Practices Act (for employment). These legal rights protect individuals with autism from discrimination in education, employment, and public services while ensuring access to essential resources and accommodations.


Massachusetts offers a variety of autism organizations dedicated to providing support, resources, and advocacy for individuals with ASD and their families. From local organizations like The Autism Project and Autism Alliance to national organizations like Autism Speaks, there are numerous resources available to help individuals and families affected by autism spectrum disorder. By connecting with these organizations, families can access valuable services, information, and support to enhance their lives and the lives of their loved ones with ASD.


Continue Reading