Rhode Island Resources for Parents & Families
The Autism Project has been fortunate to collaborate with state agencies, non-profits, and local organizations and businesses to ensure that families have access to education and resources to support healthy child development, developmental screenings & evaluations, post-diagnosis care and support, and safe and inclusive spaces for their children with ASD and other developmental disabilities.
We are grateful to the organizations and agencies below for their collaboration in support of our shared goals.
Supporting Healthy Child Development
Ready to Learn Providence
Ready to Learn Providence (R2LP) improves the education and health of young children (birth-8) by working with the adults who play the largest role in their lives - family members, early childhood educators, and medical practitioners.
RTLP offers many resources, including a number of free courses focusing on the emotional, physical, and intellectual development of young children.
The CDC's Learn the Signs. Act Early.
From birth to 5 years, your child should reach milestones in how he plays, learns, speaks, acts and moves. The CDC's free Learn the Signs. Act Early. materials help you track your child's development and guide you to take next steps if you have concerns.
For Parents/Guardians of Young Children With Developmental Concerns
*The below resources are for parents seeking to refer their child for a developmental screening. The Autism Project recommends speaking with your child's pediatrician about your concerns as an important first step.
Early Intervention: For Children Birth-3
Rhode Island's Early Intervention Program promotes the growth and development of infants and toddlers who have a developmental disability or delay in one or more areas. Developmental disabilities or delays can affect a child’s speech, physical ability, or social skills.
Children referred to the Early Intervention Program receive a comprehensive developmental evaluation to determine if they are eligible for EI services. One of the goals of Early Intervention is to provide support to families so their children can develop to their fullest potential. Services are provided in places where children usually play or take part in daily activities.
There is no cost to families to receive Early Intervention services. Children do not have to be eligible for RI Medicaid to receive services.
How to Enroll
To apply, contact an Early Intervention Provider in Rhode Island. It is not necessary to have a provider referral; parents can self-refer if they have a developmental concern.
Child Outreach: For Children 3-5
In Rhode Island, the Child Outreach Screening Program serves as the vehicle for screening children ages 3-5, prior to kindergarten entry. Screening serves as a first step in identifying and providing support to children who may have developmental delay or disability. Child Outreach can help you understand how your child is progressing and learn ways to continue to support his/her development.
Much like your well child visit with the pediatrician, children should participate in screening annually at 3, 4 and 5 years old. Because children learn rapidly during these early years, each screening provides families with an up-to-date check on their child’s development.
There is no cost to families to receive a Child Outreach screening. Children do not have to be eligible for RI Medicaid to receive services.
How to Arrange a Screening
Screening is offered in a variety of locations such as early care and education settings, Head Start programs, public schools, libraries, etc. All school districts provide ongoing screening throughout the school year.
Families can schedule a screening appointment at any time during the school year by clicking here or by calling the RI Department of Education at (401) 222-4600 and requesting the contact information for the Child Outreach Program in your local school district.
Sensory-Friendly Community Activities
Sensory-Friendly Storytimes in Rhode Island's Public Libraries
Many Rhode Island libraries offer sensory-friendly storytimes for children and their families. The Autism Project Family Support Team has partnered with several libraries to support libraries in starting sensory-friendly storytimes and has created resource binders specifically for families of children with or at risk for ASD and other developmental disabilities: at libraries in Exeter, Greenville, Hope Valley, West Warwick, and Woonsocket.
Click below to download a full list of libraries currently offering sensory-friendly storytimes. Please call your local library to inquire and for dates and times.
The Autism Project has had the privilege of working with several community organizations that offer sensory-friendly recreation for children and their families.
*Note: please inquire with the organization listed or check the organization's website for more information.
- Trinity Repertory Company
- Providence Performing Arts Center
- Rhode Island Museum of Arts & Science
- Providence Children's Museum
- The Museum of Work and Culture - First Saturday of each month, 9 - 10 a.m.
- Roger Williams Park & Zoo - Check the Roger Williams Park Zoo & Carousel Village Facebook Page for updates.