Tag Archives: resources

Caregiver Support

Whether you are caring for the elderly or a loved one with a disAbility, most every caregiver should surround their life with resources and relief.

These resources will not only keep you feeling refreshed and renewed, but they’ll help you connect with others, who may have, or be currently experiencing similar lifestyles. In recognizing the different support options available, you’ll find yourself actively combating the chances of caregiver burnout and achieving the best quality care possible for your loved one.

Support is within reach. You just have to know where to look.

Caregiver Support Groups
You may be surprised to learn that a quick internet search can connect you with entire communities of caregivers. Sure, there are plenty of self-help articles and tips and tricks out there, but the value of an honest forum and communal support goes miles.

Find a caregiver forum in your state or region and consider the benefits of sounding off with other members. Bounce ideas and successes off of one another. Share your wisdom and experiences. Ask questions and seek answers.


  • provide perspective
  • highlight industry products
  • connect like-minded individuals
  • create a canvas for ongoing conversation
  • offer new tips and tricks
  • and so much more

A forum is a great foundation to replenish your optimism and hope as a caregiver. You may even turn online connections into real life friendships and accountability. And what better way to grow as a caregiver than to do it in the company and strength of a community of caregivers?

Financial Aid
Many caregivers spend upwards of 20 hours per week giving care. It’s no wonder finances and employment opportunities can sometimes be difficult to balance. Don’t count yourself out, though.

Seek education on grants and financial aid. There are many benefits for caregivers such as mobility vehicle loans and income tax return incentives. A little homework can save you money in the long run. Getting ahead on your finances can provide tremendous relief.

Explore activities you can experience with your loved one. From adaptive sports to a traditional walk around the block, exercise is a great way to proactively deal with stress and clear the mind.

To take it one step further, consider joining a league in your area. If you’ve become a member of an online forum, ask around about local gatherings and activities or take initiative to start one on your own. The positivity and energy can be contagious for all involved.

Family and Friends
Don’t go it alone. The strongest caregivers know when it’s time to ask for help.

It’s healthy to reach out to those you trust and your family and friends can be awesome support groups. Invite them to step up and come beside you as you provide care for your loved ones and don’t be afraid to walk them through a day in your life. The more they know about your situation and your needs the better they’ll be able to assist in the journey of you and your loved one.

Managing your own stress can make the ultimate difference in the life of the loved one you care for. In caring for you, you’re caring for them.

Recreation Opportunities For People With Disabilities

All Out Adventures
All Out Adventures provides outdoor accessible recreational opportunities throughout Massachusetts for people of all abilities, their families and friends. Summer programs include accessible kayaking, canoeing, hiking and cycling. Winter programs include snowshoeing, x-country skiing & sit-skiing, ice skating, sled skating and snowmobile rides.

Accessible Swimming Pools
Accessible Swimming Pools outdoor swimming pool lifts are available at all of the State Parks and Recreation Department’s 20 swimming pools. The pools are free. Contact pool directly for information about other site factors affecting accessibility.

AccesSport America
AccesSport America is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the discovery of higher function, fitness, and fun for children and adults with disabilities through high-challenge sports, which include kayaking, windsurfing and water skiing.

Local Arcs provide a variety of social and recreational activities for children and teens with developmental disabilities.

Bostnet / Guide to Boston’s Before & After School Programs
Build the Out-of-School Time Network (BOSTnet) has built a network of out-of-school time (OST) resources and opportunities for all children and youth, including those from low-income families and youth with disabilities.

Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary
Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary offers nine miles of walking trails guiding through a variety of field, woodland, and wetland habitats. A quarter-mile, handicap accessible trail and boardwalk along the bank of Indian Brook. Universally accessible facilities: Nature Center, Restrooms, All Persons Trail.

BSC (Boston Sports Club) Adaptive Swim Program
On Monday and Wednesday evening, between 6:30pm and 7:30pm, BSC Waltham (840 Winter Street) offers an adaptive swim program for children, youth, adolescents and adults with disabilities in our 93 degree therapy pool. Volunteers between the ages of 16-20 from neighboring schools and organizations offer their time to pair with an individual seeking to increase range of motion, flexibility, and strength but most importantly to socialize with other individuals and families. Our adaptive swim program is offered during the school year (September thru May) in 8-week sessions at a cost of $200 per session. Our 120,000 square foot, state of the art facility can accommodate families in our men’s, women’s or family changing rooms, fully equipped with showers, lockers, restrooms, towels, and other amenities.

  • 781-522-2054
  • 781-522-2512

CAPEable Adventures
offers adaptive sports & therapeutic recreation activities to local residents and vacationers to the Cape.

Cape Cod Challenger Club

Cape Cod Challenger Club offers noncompetitive sports and recreation opportunities for children with disabilities.

Challenger Sport League
Some towns have challenger teams. The goal of the challenger team is to play with no pressure and to educate typical peers and their parents about sportsmanship. The program is available for boys and girls, ages 3 – 19 with all types of physical and developmental disabilities. Call your local town recreation department to find out if they offer challenger sports.

Children’s Physical Developmental Clinic at Bridgewater State University
BSC students from all majors have opportunities to volunteer as clinicians and work with children and youth with disabilities, ages 18 months to 18 years. Clinic dates are to the right on website’s homepage.

Choral / Community Voices
Open to individuals 16 years of age and older. Must be willing to be committed for 12 weeks. Provides a choral opportunity for adults and young adults with developmental delays. Singing in an ensemble, individuals will have the opportunity to develop and refine vocal technique, listening skills, and team-work. Repertoire will include songs from the masters, traditional and folk favorites, as well as pop and Broadway tunes. Performances are scheduled in December and June. Fee $156/fall, $243/spring.

Compelling Fitness
Compelling Fitness in Hanover provides group and / or individual physical fitness training for children and adults with special needs.

Fitness Program / Special Needs Training
Call your local YMCA.

Horseback Riding – PATH International Centers in Massachusetts
Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, PATH International was formally known as North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA). Though PATH Intl. began with a focus on horseback riding as a form of physical and mental therapy, the organization and its dedicated members have since developed a multitude of different equine-related activities for therapeutic purposes, collectively known as equine-assisted activities and therapies (or EAAT).

JF&CS Sunday Respite Program
JF&CS Sunday Respite Program for Children with Developmental Disabilities including those on the Autism Spectrum. Program includes swimming, music and art therapy. The program meets at the Striar JCC in Stoughton from 1:00 -4:00. This program is run by JF&CS with additional funding from Eastern Bank.

Kids In Disability Sports (K.I.D.S)

  • Kids In Disability Sports (K.I.D.S) Thirteen specialized athletic programs are available. K.I.D.S. hosts dances, sports banquets, social activities and recreational events throughout the year. Serves individuals and families throughout Eastern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. Participants range in age 5-40 and have varying disabilities. http://www.kidsinc.us/
  • info@kidsinc.us
  • 1-866-712-7799

LIAM Nation Athletics (formerly known as FOSEK, Friends of Special Education Kidz)
sports leagues for special needs children in Tewksbury and surrounding communities in Merrimack Valley. Accomodates athletes of all abilities. Bombers Baseball, Striker Soccer, Little Reds Basketball.

Mass Dept of Conservation & Recreational Universal Access Program
Mass Dept of Conservation & Recreational Universal Access Program provides outdoor recreation opportunities in Massachusetts State Parks for visitors of all abilities. Accessibility to Massachusetts State Parks is achieved through site improvements, specialized adaptive recreation equipment, and accessible recreation programs.

Massachusetts Hospital School Wheelchair Recreation & Sports Program
Wheelchair sports and recreation program for children ages 9 to 21. Horseback riding, swimming and , Wheelchair Athletes Program.

Miracle League of Massachusetts
Miracle League of Massachusetts provides baseball for special needs children. Free to participate (includes uniform). Located at Blanchard Memorial Elementary School Ball Field in Boxborough.

New England Wheelchair Athletic Association (NEWAA)
Volunteer organization that helps individuals with physcial disabilities participate in recreational
and sports activities. The NEWAA provides opportunities for athletic competition by sponsoring
regional and local meets.

Partners for Youth With Disabilities Provides mentoring programs that assist young people reach their full potential. Partners provides several types of mentoring programs including one-to-one, group mentoring and e-mentoring.

Piers Park Sailing
Piers Park Sailing provides programs for disabled youth and adults aboard 23-foot sonar sailboats on a no charge basis. Serves those with amputations, paralysis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, autism, hearing impaired, sight impaired and other disabilities. Successfully integrates youth with disabilities into summer youth sailing programs. Scholarships are available for all Adaptive sailing programs. “Yes You Can Sail” program Friday eves for $35.

  • (617) 561-6677

Senseability Gym
Senseability Gym serves special needs children in greater Hopedale area. Our mission is to provide a parent-led sensory gym, giving children with special needs a safe, fun, indoor area where they can play and accommodate their sensory needs.

Spaulding Adaptive Sports
Spaulding Adaptive Sports offers adaptive sports and recreation activities in Boston, Cape Cod and the North Shore. Includes wheelchair tennis, hand cycling, adaptive rowing, waterskiing or windsurfing.

Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA)
Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA) provides year round sports training and athletic competition for all persons with intellectual disabilities. Minimum age requirement is eight years of age. There is no maximum age requirement. SOMA summer games offers aquatics, athletics, gymnastics, sailing, tennis and volleyball. Go to above link to search SOMA region that covers your town.

Sudbury Adaptive Sports & Recreation
Programs for all ages and abilities.

Super Soccer Stars Shine
Our unique program uses soccer as a vehicle to teach life skills to individuals with developmental disabilities. Our innovative curriculum, designed by licensed educators and therapists, promotes the complete growth and development of each player. Our low player-to-coach ratios encourage and empower players to increase social potential with teammates, build self-awareness and confidence and advance gross and fine motor skills — all while each individual improves at his or her own pace! Located at 1 Thompson Square, Suite 301 in Charlestown. Call for information. Low pricing options and scholarship applications available.

Therapy and the Performing Arts – Cape Cod
Provides children and young adults with physical and intellectual disabilities the opportunity to enjoy various arts and recreational programs in addition to receiving therapeutic benefits from their participation. Children gain new and rewarding experiences from which they develop self-confidence, increase motor function, and have fun. Offers age appropriate programming on Cape Cod for children and young adults diagnosed with down syndrome, chromosomal abnormalies, cerebral palsy, genetic disorders and othe cognitive and physical disabilities. Classes are taught by certified instructors/ therapists with expertise in various disciplines. Programs are offered on a sliding scale fee based on the family’s ability to pay.

TILL Autism Support Center

TILL Autism Support Center has social programs for those with autism spectrum disorders. Programs include exciting Family Fun Days that include apple picking, rock climing, sledding, in-door gym time, zoo trips, holiday parties and much more.

Town Recreation Departments
Most programs are open to participants from neighboring towns. Call area town recreation department to find out if it has special programming for children with disabilities.

Wheelchair Sports & Recreation Assn.
Wheelchair Sports & Recreation Assn. offers information about beach wheelchairs, biking, boating and more!

TopSoccer Program / Outreach Program for Soccer
is a community-based training and team placement program for young athletes with a mental or physical disability. For additional information or would like to start a TOPSoccer Program in your community contact:

YMCAs are accessible and offer a range of classes. Call your local YMCA to find out what programs are available.

The Lowell YMCA “Adaptive Aquatics Program” accommodates children with mild to moderate neurological, physical, or social challenges.

  • (978) 454-7825.

Oak Square YMCA of Greater Boston at 615 Washington St, Brighton has a new adaptive fitness room & offers Adapted Adult Speciality Fitness Partnership Program on Wednesday and Saturday 11AM – 12:30PM on the Fitness Floor.

Hopkinton YMCA offers seasonal specialized programs. “Aim High” archery program and “Rock On!” is an outdoor ropes course and rock climbing for individuals with autism spectrum disorders or related social communication disorders.

  • 45 East Street in Hopkinton.

WaterFire Access Program
A water-taxi program at Dyer Street Dock in Providence Rhode Island which provides an unforgettable experience of the art work for children and adults with disabilities to assure that they can join in the most popular arts event in the state and share the experience with their families and friends. Reservations are required. Each Water Fire Access passenger can bring along one companion.

Waypoint Adventures
Adventures for people of all ages and abilities

Whole Children offers movement, art, recreation and music programs for infants, children and teens of all abilities. Located in Hadley.

Government Grants for People with Disabilities

Find government grants and financing for handicap vehicles for people with disabilities nationwide. Money can be located with a little patience and a lot of research through various government programs. We’ve compiled a list of the most well-known government grant programs to assist your search for help funding a wheelchair van.When paying for a handicap van, you can use money from government grant programs for people with disabilities, as well other funding resources like disability grants, loans, fundraiser money, foundation endorsements, or any other funding source. We’ll work with your chosen foundations or any government grant program, after they verify financial assistance, to get you on the road!

To learn more about applying for wheelchair van grant funding to buy a handicap van or convert a pre-owned minivan, read “How to Apply for a Grant for Wheelchair Vans, Mobility Equipment, or Minivan Conversions.”

Government Wheelchair Van Financing Resources
Fund your wheelchair van with these government grant programs provided by the U.S. government and locally in your state.

Administration for Children & Families
On this website, new funding opportunities are displayed as they become available.

The U.S. government resource listing federal grants available.

Sometimes provides assistance when children or other special circumstances are involved.

Medicaid/Department of Human Services (DHS)
Children are screened as part of the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) program of Medicaid. Under Medicaid’s “rehabilitative services,” people often receive handicap van or lift funding to achieve their “best possible functional levels.”

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)
Located within each state’s Department of Human Services (per state), helps you prepare for work, train for a job, find a job, or keep a job as early as high school. Services are prioritized according to the severity of the disability.

Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS)
Check your state’s branch for grant availability.

Division of Developmental Services (DDS)
Check your state’s branch for grants.Those with Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits from the Social Security Administration can contact the agency about its Plan to Achieve Self Support(PASS). A PASS plan sets aside income to buy equipment or services in a way that keeps income, as well as resources, below the SSI eligibility cut-off so there are no reductions in benefits. The emphasis is on whether the handicap van or equipment will help the SSI recipient become vocationally self-sufficient. It’s important for an individual to contact and receive the approval of Social Security before setting up a PASS plan. Once money has been set aside for a PASS, spending it on something else can result in the loss of SSI benefits.Please note: You can use multiple sources of funding that include grants, loans, and other funding assistance. If you’re unable to find government grants for people with disabilities or need to acquire more money to help pay for your wheelchair van and/or mobility needs, check out more opportunities at our mobility finance page.

World Autism Awareness Day: Light It Up Blue

Light It Up Blue - World Autosm Awareness Day

Every April 2, Autism Speaks celebrates World Autism Awareness Day with a global autism awareness campaign called Light It Up Blue. It’s easy (and fun!) to be a part of it — you can do anything from wearing blue to lighting your whole office or school up blue.

Add your name to say you’ll be a part of it, and we’ll be in touch with resources and ideas to get your friends involved. Thanks for helping shine a light on autism.

World Autism Awareness Day - Light It Up Blue

What Is Autism?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. With the May 2013 publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual, all autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD. Previously, they were recognized as distinct subtypes, including autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome.

ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some persons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math and art.

Autism appears to have its roots in very early brain development. However, the most obvious signs of autism and symptoms of autism tend to emerge between 2 and 3 years of age. Autism Speaks continues to fund research on effective methods for earlier diagnosis, as early intervention with proven behavioral therapies can improve outcomes. Increasing autism awareness is a key aspect of this work and one in which our families and volunteers play an invaluable role.

Semper Fi Fund: Our mission is crucial. Our duty is clear.

The Semper Fi Fund, and its program America’s Fund, provide immediate financial assistance and lifetime support to post 9/11 wounded, critically ill and injured members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, and their families, ensuring that they have the resources they need during their recovery and transition back to their communities. Since establishing the Semper Fi Fund in 2004, they’ve issued more than 86,000 grants, totaling more than $102 million in assistance to over 13,300 of our heroes and their families.

Who Are They?:
The Semper Fi Fund was created by a group of Marine Corps spouses nine years ago, and those same women run the Fund today alongside other spouses from all service branches, retired service members, all of whom intimately know the needs of our military families. They have been by our injured and ill service members’ sides from day one, helping them as they navigate lengthy recoveries and rejoin their communities.

How They Help:
Financial, emotional, and tiered support for our injured/ill service members and their families through the following programs: Family Support, Adaptive Housing, Adaptive Transportation, Specialized Equipment, Education and Career Transitioning, Rehabilitative Sports programs, and more.

Who They Help:
Qualifying post 9/11 Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and reservists with amputations, spinal cord injuries, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), burns, blindness, other physical injuries, or those suffering from life-threatening illnesses. We also help spouses and children of active duty service members who face a life threatening illness or injury.

How Are They Unique:
The Semper Fi Fund has been awarded the highest ratings from watch dog groups: A+ Top Rated Charity from CharityWatch, and we are one of only three veteran nonprofits to receive this rating in recent years; and 4 Stars from Charity Navigator a rating only given to 4% of all charities. They maintain an extremely low overhead – 6% and provide rapid assistance with no red tape.

How They Raise Funding:
The Semper Fi Fund relies completely on donations from generous individuals, corporations, foundations, and community groups. In an effort to keep their fundraising and administrative costs low, they do not receive government funding or use direct mail campaigns. Their communities across the country host fundraising and awareness events for their mission, both big and small: golf tournaments, motorcycle poker runs, 5/10K races, dinners, and contests – whatever their passion may be! Their are members of the Combined Federal Campaign, through which federal, civilian, postal, and military donors can support us. They encourage all citizens across America to join them in their quest to support our military members who have sacrificed so much in the service to our country.

Their Philosophy:
The basic ideal that drives our efforts is simple: for as much as our heroes have sacrificed, they deserve the best care and support available in their hour of need. They are committed to being there at the time of injury or illness and for a lifetime if needed.

Looking Forward:
The Semper Fi Fund has been successful over the years thanks to their loyal supporters, both individuals and corporations. Yet our challenges continue to intensify due to the level of severity of injury, illness, and post-traumatic stress unique to the length of war on terrorism. These critical injuries are brought home and often call for a lifetime of assistance.

Tax-deductible contributions from people like you make up our lifeblood; whether donations are large or small, a one-time gift or ongoing endowment, every individual or corporation has the power to make a real difference, here and now, no matter where they are in the world.

The Semper Fi Fund is forever grateful to each of their supporters who share in their ongoing mission.

Please help them help those who have given so much in the name of freedom.