Autism Center

Empowering parents to educate, encourage, support and advocate for their child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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The Autism Center supports families and children to navigate the ever evolving process of understanding the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The Autism  Center’s mission is to create a learning environment that supports parents through modeling and coaching,  to encourage, educate, and advocate for their child with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The Center is an extension of wrap-around services accessible to families connected with LRCS and also for those looking to establish community connections. We understand that families with a new diagnosis are often overwhelmed with what to do and where to begin. Families looking for specialized assistance, guidance and navigation of therapy and treatment options, resources and support are welcome to request a consultation.

Person-centered portfolios can be designed for families to help meet their child’s needs – whether facilitating transitions, improving acclimation to new settings and people – or reaching another goal important to the child’s development and to the family as a whole. Highly trained staff regularly observe and assist in inclusive programs offered by the Family Resource Center, such as Giggles & Grins Playgroup, to develop child and parental confidence over time.

Does my child have autism? Family Centered Early Supports and Services

If your child is enrolled in Family Centered Early Supports and Services (FCESS) program and you’ve raised this question, we will walk with you side-by-side down this road. With your permission, your Service Coordinator will work with you to make a referral to one of the Child Development Clinics across the state. Once an appointment has been set, your Service Coordinator can attend with you to provide support. If your child receives an autism diagnosis, the FCESS Autism Coordinator will meet with you to review services available to you. As a parent or guardian you are the driving force behind your child’s programs and services. Our staff are here for guidance and support.

What services are available to my child?

The Autism Center embraces the Early Start Denver Model, which provides specific family and assessment-driven objectives using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), pivotal behavior response and Floor Time. Family -Centered training and strategies build on natural family routines and focus on communication, social, adaptive, cognitive and sensory issues. Practical applications with home-based activities throughout the day are key to the success of this program.

We will introduce you to other community-based programs that are available to you and your family and work collaboratively with all programs to incorporate FCESS into the program of your choice. The bottom line is that you don’t have to navigate this road alone. FCESS will support and guide you in the direction that you want for you and your child.

Future plans for the Autism Center

LRCS Autism Center Community Walkathon

The Family Resource Center Autism Center is in the process of evaluating and revising the Autism Center’s offerings to families. We are actively listening to the voices of individuals and families to create a comprehensive array of resources and services to help meet transition aged  and emerging needs. The restructuring is in alignment with the New Hampshire State Plan to Improve Supports and Services for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Related Developmental Disabilities and Their Families


ACEing Autism Adaptive Tennis Program Ages 5 – 18

The Autism Center  is partnering with Advantage Kids (an adaptive tennis program serving the Lakes Region) to bring an exciting new program ACEing Autism to New Hampshire. ACEing Autism is a volunteer-driven non-profit organization that started in 2008.

The first ACEing program  in the state of New Hampshire begins in Laconia on October 15, 2017. If you have a child between the ages of 5 and 18, this is a great opportunity to have them engage in a strengths-based adaptive tennis curriculum that helps them develop physical stamina, hand-eye coordination, turn-taking and having fun. The cost of the six-week program is $120. Financial assistance is available.  For more information, contact Erin Pettengill at (603) 581-1571, .

For dates, times and locations visit the ACEing autism web site at

Volunteers are also needed and can register at

What families say about the Autism Center

“From day one, the care and support we received from the people at the Autism center was immeasurable. The program helped Christian tremendously and gave us the tools we need to help him with his daily life”  Syl Lapierre & Denise Colby, Belmont, NH

“The Autism center not only helped our son, Aidan, make huge strides, but it also helped us, as his parents, learn the best ways to play and teach at home to enhance his learning that much more.”   Todd Collette & Kara Stanley, Laconia NH

Please contact the Director of the Family Resource Center, Erin Pettengill, for more information at (603) 581-1571,

Guide to Family Resource Center Services   

Community Resources available for area families