Programs and Classes

Fri Feb 22 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
5th annual Autism UniquelyYou 5k fun run/walk Illuminate
Thu Mar 21 @ 6:00PM - 07:00PM
Parent support group/ sensory jump hour

The Autism Society of the Black Hills is excited to announce registration for our Asperger’s Community Social Group! This is a 6 week program, designed to help adolescents and young adults with Asperger’s and their parents improve on their community social skills and friendship skills. Parent’s will be involved by using the learned skills at home and in the community with their child.

A concerned mother calls my office one morning for advice. "My sister just found out that she's pregnant," she says, "and I have a 6 year old son with autism. I've heard it's genetic, is there a test she could have to find out if her baby will have autism?" Inquiries such as these are frequent for professionals involved in autism genetics research. The answers are far from straightforward, and a simple test for diagnostic purposes or prenatal detection is not available in most instances. Explaining the current state of affairs is a complex process, and one that requires some knowledge of the history and methods of autism genetics research.

A Fredericton company that created an online therapy program for families with autistic children has won a national innovation award.

AutismPro by Virtual Expert Clinics Inc., winner of the Rogers Innovation at Work Award, helps parents and professionals use the internet to plan and deliver individual educational therapy to children with autism.

By Autism Speaks (

Wide-Ranging Legislation Addresses Key Issues Facing the Autism Community, Including Services for Adults and Insurance Reform

NEW YORK, NY (April 2, 2009) – 
A key section of the bill requires insurance companies to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASDs), including coverage of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy – a medically-necessary, evidence-based autism treatment – and assistive communication devices. In most states, insurers are currently allowed to specifically exclude coverage for these critical services, which can cost upward of $50,000 a year – well beyond the means of most families.

Contributed by Kim Davis (Autism Support Network)

How does this pertain to families who have a son or daughter with a disability? Many times the systems in which families find themselves (e.g., early intervention, school, adult agency) can be overwhelming and confusing. Add increased emotions to the mix, and it is often hard for family members to think clearly and rationally in the heat of a meeting in which they are asked to make crucial life decisions. To make those meetings and situations more manageable and less overwhelming, an advocate may be “employed” to assist, encourage, or educate a family in understanding the ramifications of their decisions. The right advocate at the right moment can have a lasting impact on everyone involved, including the family, the staff of professionals supporting the individual with disabilities, and ultimately, the individual with the disability. That impact can be positive or negative. An advocate is not a person to simply choose without thought and discussion. The wrong advocate can have a serious impact on the relationship between the family and agency. That relationship may likely be longer lasting than the relationship the family may have with the advocate!! Just as finding the right doctor, teacher, or therapist takes time and investigation, so too should obtaining an advocate. 

For 2009, Toys"R"Us, Inc. and the Toys"R"Us Children's Fund have increased their support of Autism Speaks. This year, the company's more than 260 Babies"R"Us locations have joined nearly 540 Toys"R"Us stores in a nine-week in-store fundraising campaign, which began March 1 and ends Friday, May 1. Donations also will be accepted through the company's dedicated Autism Speaks microsite, To increase public awareness about the disorder, Toys"R"Us, Inc. has partnered once again with Autism Speaks and the National Lekotek Center to develop the "Ten Toys That Speak To Autism" handout. Also, for the third consecutive year, Toys"R"Us, Inc. employees nationwide will participate in the Autism Speaks Walk Now for Autism program. To kick off the 2009 partnership, including national sponsorship of the walk program, the Toys"R"Us Children's Fund awarded Autism Speaks a $400,000 grant. Since the partnership began in 2007, the Toys"R"Us Children's Fund, Toys"R"Us, Inc. and customer donations have combined to provide Autism Speaks with more than $3.7 million.

Play is the work of children.

Play is not idle time for children- it is a time for exploration and learning. As a pediatric Occupational Therapist, I encourage fine motor and sensory motor development through play-based activities. Children are excited to enter my office because it is full of educational toys and games to keep learning fun.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: varies
Here's How:

1. Call your health insurance provider and ask these critical questions: 1) What are my individual and family out-of-pocket deductibles? What are my out-of-pocket maximums before 100% reimbursement begins? 2) How many visits per specialty (ie PT, OT, Speech) does my insurance plan allow per year for out-of-network providers? 3) Are there any limitations on diagnosis codes? 4) Does my plan have mental health coverage?

by Lisa Jo Rudy

Is it OK to take autistic children into the grocery store, the library, the mall, or the theater if they are prone to shouting, bolting, or making loud sounds? How can parents manage autism in public?

I wanted to let you know that a member of the ASBH, the McCoy's in Wyoming are about to receive "Boomer" their service dog for their son Josh who has autism, from All Purpose Canines! APC gave a great presentation here in February and I know we had some families get applications. Angie McCoy said she would be more than willing to talk with any families interested in pursuing a service dog, with the application and with the fundraising required by the families. We are also hoping to have Angie, Josh and Boomer here at our 1st support group meeting in September (date & time won't be announced till probably August) so we can all hear from her 1st hand how the process works and how the adjustment has gone for Josh and Boomer.

A rare genetic variation dramatically raises the risk of developing autism, a large study showed, opening new research targets for better understanding the disorder and for treating it.