Who We Are
The Autism Alliance started out as a group of six families and has grown over more than twenty years. We are now one of seven autism support centers in Massachusetts, and in 2009 we became a program of Advocates. Today, we support 1,300 families and professionals throughout the state and beyond. While we have experienced tremendous growth over the past two decades, the mission of The Autism Alliance has remained the same . . .
To provide families with information, education and support; plan programs and events that will aid those families; while increasing public awareness regarding autism.
It all started in a local church basement, back in 1993, when a group of six families, all with children diagnosed on the autism spectrum, gathered to try and wrap their heads around this shattering diagnosis. The families supported one another, sharing vital resources including doctors, teachers and therapies. At that time, rates of autism were 1 in every 1,000 births and the internet was not part of our everyday lives. Resources surrounding autism were not easily accessible.
The group found great value in the support and guidance they provided one another. Furthermore, they did not want other families repeating the experiences they had already endured. Fueled by this desire to make a difficult path easier for others, they transformed from a small, informal support network into a non-profit organization. The group quickly grew from six members to sixty and became known as The Family Voice. With a shoestring budget granted by the Department of Developmental Services, the volunteer-run organization set up a small office space. They designed programs such as SibShop, support groups, Sunday gym programs, music programs, newcomers’ packets, and a lending library. In 1998, The Family Voice became The Autism Alliance of MetroWest. We partnered with Natick’s Morse Institute Library, which provided a permanent home for the resource center. By 2003, we attained official non-profit and grew our roster to approximately 300 area families.