Check it out: Autism center changes its name

  • Devyn Handran, 7, gets help with her homework from her mom Tiffany Van Buren on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at their home in Oakland, Calif. Devyn has autism and is participating in the Kaiser Biobank autism project. Scientists are looking for new ways to prevent and treat autism spectrum disorder (ASD). (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group/TNS) Jane Tyska

Published: 11/14/2016 5:27:02 PM

Compiled by Debra Scherban. Please send items to

Autism group has a new name

Community Resources for People with Autism of Easthampton and Pittsfield has changed its name to Autism Connections.

The new name better reflects the mission of the 27-year-old autism center, according to Karen Serra, Autism Connections’ director.

“We help hundreds of families calling into the center; we offer social skills trainings groups, support groups, intensive case management; we organize family fun community events, and so much more,” Serra said in a prepared statement.

Autism Connections was founded in 1989 by parents of children with autism and has served thousands of local families since. It is staffed by autism professionals and works closely with family members to provide a wide variety of services through Autism Centers in Easthampton and Pittsfield, as well as family and individual supports through referrals by the Department of Developmental Services.

Autism Connections offers its services in collaboration with local organizations. In addition, it provides direct services including educational advocacy, behavior supports and more.

Autism Connections is a program of Pathlight, a social services organization based in Springfield, a leader in services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in western Massachusetts.

For more information on Autism Connections, visit .

Active aging event planned

Active Aging In The Valley, a free event that includes workshops, exhibits and health screenings, takes place Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Campus Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

New this year are free hearing screenings and free parking.

For more information go to

Free prescription monitoring training

The Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, Hampshire HOPE, Quaboag Hills Task Force and Baystate Health are sponsoring a free training for medical professionals and their designated representatives on how to use the new Prescription Monitoring Program called MassPAT to track prescription drug use data.

It will take place Friday from 7:45 to 9:15 a.m. at Clinical and Support Options, 8 Atwood Drive, Northampton.

Presenters include Lynn Ferro, director of the Northwestern Rx Drug Abuse Task Force and Cherry Sullivan, executive director of Hampshire HOPE and Tammy Lewis of Valley Medical Group.

MassPAT is designed to help save time for health care providers, increase patient safety and perhaps even save lives.

To register contact Tammy Lewis at tlewis@vmgma.

Area blood drives

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Following are some upcoming local blood donation opportunities.

Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Center for Extended Care, 150 University Drive, Amherst.

SATURDAY, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Hopkins Academy, 131 Russell St., Hadley

Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Cooley Dickinson Hospital, 30 Locust St., Northampton

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