We are incredibly fortunate to have world class autism organizations right here in the Triangle. These are a few of them:
TEACCH: TEACCH is an amazing resource. TEACCH has regional centers around the state, and the Chapel Hill TEACCH center is located in Carrboro. Due to budget cuts, not all of their services are free to NC residents like they once were, but they are generally still less expensive than private therapists (and the support groups are free). They offer diagnostic evaluations, structured teaching boot camps, parent groups and father's groups led by Dr. Lee Marcus, mother's groups facilitated by Catherine Jones, individual family training sessions, social skills groups, help with schools, home teaching kits, and much more. The parent support coordinator, Ruth Thomson, is a phenomenal resource - get on her email list to keep up with all the offerings around the Triangle through TEACCH and other groups.
Autism Society of North Carolina: A fantastic resource for families. Services include information and referral, advocacy, public education, residential summer camp, recreation therapy consultation, and a variety of community based programs and the world's largest autism/ASD Bookstore. Their annual conference features interesting speakers (such as Michelle Garcia Winner). Our local chapter is the Orange Chatham chapter (ASNCOC) which is run by volunteers. ASNCOC has great monthly informational meetings, recreational events for children on the spectrum, a monthly coffee meeting, and more. Join the listserv or follow them on Facebook to keep up with the latest events. These are the links for the Durham County and Wake County chapters.
Autism Society of North Carolina UNC Chapter: A group of students at UNC Chapel Hill dedicated to aiding individuals with autism and their parents. They help organize and volunteer recreation events for children on the spectrum.
The Arc of the Triangle: The Arc provides a number of services to individuals with developmental disabilities, including one on one services, employment support, social groups, sliding scale home respite care, and more. Definitely contact the Arc if you have not yet done so!
Community Partnerships, Inc.: Community Partnerships offers services in Wake, Durham, Mecklenburg, and Pitt counties to children and adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Programs include supported employment, brain injury support services, early intervention, community guides, and community connections. Their Partners in Inclusion program provides personalized on-site guidance to staff at childcare centers, preschools, and recreation programs so that children with disabilities can be successful in all settings.
First In Families of North Carolina: Orange, Person, and Chatham counties are served by the Central Carolina chapter. The goal of FIF is to help "people with disabilities and their families to believe in their dreams, achieve their goals and give back to others". They offer grants, they have informational sessions, give information on estate planning, have a time bank, and encourage volunteerism. Follow them on Facebook to keep up with events.
GCF Family Support Services (formerly Family Support Network of North Central Carolina): A non-profit dedicated to providing support, education, and information for families of children affected by developmental disabilities, prematurity, chronic illness, and other special needs. This chapter serves families in Chatham, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Orange, Person, Vance, and Warren counties. They offer help with daily matters, educational concerns, future planning, and more. FSN also organizes a number of fun, free events and activities for families throughout the year.
The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center: A program of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute based at UNC Chapel Hill, NECTAC actually serves all 50 states. Their website has numerous articles and resources related to infants, toddlers, and young children with disabilities. NECTAC also hosts webinars and conferences, and has a special section for families with information on understanding their special education legal rights under IDEA.