A new start for young students with autism is possible thanks to a program that helps their families.  However, high costs and few resources are a challenge from the beginning.

A New Start For Young Students With AutismIn Maine,many newly diagnosed children are not old enough to start kindergarten.  Once they do get to public school, their numbers have doubled in the past decade.

Maine’s Child Development Services have a new program that supports families of young children with autism. Caregivers work with children one on one, in their homes.  The program is called Early Start Maine.

Three days a week, Kris West works with a 2 year old boy who was diagnosed with autism a year ago.  They sit together, piece together puzzles, and sing songs. West is gently exposing the child to new social experiences while having fun.

“Kids 0-3 really need that relationship, play-based model,” says Deborah Rooks-Ellis, the director of the Maine Autism Institute. “And the earlier you catch a child with a need, there is research to back up that they’ll need less services later in life. So it’s really important.”

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