Made possible by a generous grant from the Rochester Area Foundation




Community Autism Resource, Education and Support

RTAAF CARES is a 12 week intensive training program for parents of children who have been diagnosed with autism within the last year.    Parents meet weekly for 12 weeks in a small group of 4-6 other parents.  The cost of CARES is covered by charitable donations and grants, and the group is open to families who live within a 50 mile radius of Rochester, MN.  Childcare is not available at this time and children do not attend the group.  CARES groups meet at the RTAAF offices in a safe and confidential setting, led by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and/or a Licensed Special Education Teacher.  CARES facilitators also offer individual consultation and referrals for each family that participates. 

CARES  improves the lives of families impacted by autism by seeking to achieve the following objectives:

1. Help families gain confidence in their ability to effectively care for and raise their child or children with autism.

2.  In the first year of their child's diagnosis, families will learn about the resources that are available in the community, and they will learn how to access those resources.

3.  The family will meet professional experts in the community from a variety of disciplines who are available to provie services and support.

4.  Families will learn how to advocate more effectively for their child or children who have autism.

5.  Parents will expand their social support network by meeting other parents who share similar experiences, and are raising children with a similar diagnosis in the same age range.  

Sample Weekly Topics:

Understanding IEPs and Special Education.
Managing aggressive or challenging behavior.
Learning about recreational programs.
Challenges of raising siblings of children with autism.
Educating and dealing with extended family.
Learning about nutrition and diet.
Understanding medications and supplements.
How to handle bullying.
Learning about County Case Management Services, Medicaid, Tefra, funding, etc. 

Sample Guest Speakers:

-Disability Advocates from SEMCIL and ARC

-Licensed Speech Pathologist from RPS School District

-Occupational Therapists who specialize in ASD and Sensory Processing Disorders

-Board Certified Behavior Analyst or Behavior Specialist

-Music Therapist

-Recreational program coordinator

By the end of the program families should:

Know where to turn for social support.
Know where to turn for community services.
Know how and where to connect with other parents of children with autism.
Feel confident and empowered to make important decisions for their child and family.
Be prepared with a  set of tools and resources for handling difficult situations. 
Understand that autism is not a “tragedy” but a new path they will travel with their children to help them reach their greatest potential !

For more information contact Executive Director and Program Facilitator James Rechs, director@rtaaf.org, 507-226-7037

CARES Program Staff

James P Rechs , Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Sarah D. Larson, Early Childhood Special Education Autism and Behavior Specialist.


Best in America - Independent CharityThe RT (Reece Trahan) Autism Awareness Foundation is an organization dedicated to making people aware of Autism and the effects it has on individuals and their families.

The diagnosis of Autism is an emotional one for families, and the RT Autism Awareness Foundation wants individuals and families to recognize that they are not without help.