Additional Support


Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Education accommodates children between the ages of 3 to 21 in the public school system. Check with your local school district for information specific to your area. DOE Webpage

Grants (MA)

DDS Autism Waiver (Birth-8 years of age) (your child does not have to have the diagnosis of Autism, only meet criteria) Generally; this waiver opens up in October of every year.

The Autism Waiver allows children to receive Expanded Habilitation, Education, in-home services and supports, such as Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and Floor Time, for a total of up to 3 years. At the conclusion of the 3 years of the intensive in-home services, a child may access ongoing Supplemental Services (for example respite and goods and services, etc.) that meet the child’s needs and help with the transition out of the intensive Autism Waiver Program—until the child’s 9th Birthday. Autism Waiver Webpage

DDS/DESE Residential Prevention Program The DESE/DDS Program is designed to provide in-home and community based therapeutic supports to students ages 6 to 22, who demonstrate a need for services to prevent a more restrictive out of home residential placement. This Program also offers an increased level of support services to families whose student returns from a residential school placement and requires assistance to remain at home. The DESE/DDS Program is administered by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) with funding from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Funding for this Program is subject to an annual legislative appropriation from the state budget. DESE Waiver Webpage

What we’ve learned: The importance of staying connected with your childs DDS case manager is essential (they must be enrolled in DDS to apply). When these grants open up they can let you know when they are available and help with filling out the documents. KEEP IN MIND! These grants have very strict guidelines for submission and are only open for a short window. The links provided above are updated by the state when the grants are available to apply for interest. This means you apply for your child you need to wait to see if selected (it’s lottery based). Individuals are not enrolled all at once, it’s a rolling enrollment. Meaning as a child exists the program a new one is selected for that fiscal year. Also, you need to reapply every year if not selected during the fiscal year. Financial help for either of these grants will change your family lives dramatically for the good. DDS fiscal year starts July 1st -June 30th. Maggie our co-president is one of the handful of parents in MA that has been using the self-directed model for the DESE grant for 6 years. This puts a few thousand dollars back into her daughters budget to be used as necessary.


Conservatorship Conservatorship is a legal proceeding in which an individual or agency (to be known as the “conservator”) is appointed by a court to be responsible for a person who needs assistance in daily living. Check with your child’s high school or your county Superior Court Probate Office for information on Self Help Clinics. This process should start 6 months before the 18th birthday.

What we’ve learned: Timing is a key, schools can help with this process. If, your child is getting ready to have a 3year evaluation the school psychologist and adjustment counselor can assist with filling out the certificate this in turn will cost no money to the families. Don’t share the burden of figuring this out alone, Care Coordination at DPH and or your Case Manager at DDS can sit down and give guidance in filling out the paperwork and help with additional funding.

Massachusetts Court System
The Massachusetts Court System website has information on guardianship for individuals with disabilities. MA Court Webpage

Legal Resources

The ARC of Massachusetts
The ARC assists families with supports and services in the community. 1-781-891-6270 ARC webpage

Disability Law Center of Massachusetts (DLC)
The DLC is a private, non-profit organization responsible for providing protection and advocacy for the rights of Massachusetts residents with disabilities. Boston 1-617-723-8455 DLC Webpage

Additional Resources:

Seven Hills Foundation Located in MA and RI only, provides exceptional integrated clinical, educational and community based supports to children and adults with disabilities. 1-508-755-2340 Seven Hills Webpage

Rare New England RNE aims to bridge the gap between patients and families, clinics and clinicians, and the many resources available to them by existing government programs, advocacy organizations and patient groups, and state agencies, in the New England area. Rare New England Webpage

Feel free to email us here if you need guidance.