Community Respite, Music Therapy and Social Groups Funded by DDS


The Autism Alliance of MetroWest, in partnership with the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), is happy to announce social and respite programming for 2022. In order to participate in these free programs, you must meet this criteria:

1. Geography: Live in the MetroWest region of Massachusetts, as defined by DDS.

2. Eligibility: Be deemed eligible for DDS services under the Division of Autism. This is an application process that once completed, can take many months to process. Please contact one of our Autism Specialists if you have any questions about filling out this DDS application or require assistance, or if you are unsure about your child's eligibility status.

"Free to Be Me" Group Respite: ages 5-11

This program runs September 2022 through May 2023, with monthly sessions for children ages 5-11 with autism. The program is held on Saturday evenings at a community location in Middlesex West. The respite is provided in small groups or with one-to-one support by special education teachers and specialists, with support from Autism Alliance staff. Sessions are limited to 10 children.

The goal of the program is to provide families with the opportunity to enjoy their respite time, while the children are in a safe, customized, community respite program with fun activities and a chance to make friends. You will be notified if your son/daughter has received a slot for the group. We will have a waiting list. 

To apply please email Pam McKillop or call 508-652-9900.

Teen Digital Music Social Group: ages 14-19

This program meets VIRTUALLY September 2022 and running through May 2023. The Autism Alliance in partnership with Meridian Music Therapy is offering a music-based program that fosters experiences that are used as interventions designed to combat isolation symptoms, support socialization, self-regulation, and self-validation. Using a variety of popular music apps, participants engage in composition by manipulating musical elements and structure such as pitch, rhythm, timbre, texture, and form to create original songs. Opportunities are given to each group member to contribute preferences for compositional design by either selecting from a bank of available options or by being given remote control of the screen to create uniquely original music. This program is facilitated by Anthony C. Varga, DMA, MT-BC, NMT and supported by Allison Daigle, CTRS Group meets on zoom 2x a month on Thursdays from 6:15pm -7:00pm. All abilities are welcome!

 To apply please email Allison Daigle  or call 508-652-9900.

NEW Friends Social Group: ages 10-13

This program runs VIRTUALLY September 2022 and running through May 2023. The Autism Alliance in partnership with Successfully Social New England is offering A fun, interactive and dynamic social group to help kids improve upon their self-image, identify their strengths and challenges, and develop their personal toolbox of strategies to increase their confidence and be able to successfully navigate the social world.  This group is designed for kids in grades 4-6 who struggle socially. Kids who can benefit from this group are those with solid language skills who have difficulty picking up on social cues such as facial expression and body language and those who have difficulty listening/focusing or working in a group. This year we are increasing the group to 45 minutes to include a "15-minute open chat" at the end (last 15 min) where kids could stay logged on to group to share something with us or they could jump off if they needed to. This program is facilitated by Coach Allison H. Marean, M.Ed., CLYL from SUCCESSFULLY SOCIAL NEW ENGLAND  and supported by Allison Daigle, CTRS.

Areas of focus for this group will include: Tools for Self-regulation; Strategies for shifting thoughts and managing emotions; Tips for social problem solving; How to read and identify the thoughts and feelings of others; Deciphering the hidden rules/expectations for a given situation. This group meets on zoom 2x a month on Wednesdays from 4pm-4:45pm. 

To apply please email Allison Daigle or call 508-652-9900