To further serve the needs of our ever growing number of families struggling with autism, we have announced RTAAF CARES.

Community Autism Resources Education and Support

RTAAF CARES is a 10-12 week intensive training program for parents of newly diagnosed children. It is was developed based and in cooperation with a very successful program at Gunderson Lutheran Hospital in La Crosse, WI. CARES is supported by the Mayo Clinic and The Minnesota Department of Human Services.


Sample Topics:

Understanding IEPs and Special Education.
Learning about types of therapy available (music, ABA, RDI, Floortime, etc).
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.
Taking your child out in public (stores, restaurants, etc)
Learning about County Case Management Services, Medicaid, Tefra, funding, etc. 


Objectives of RTAAF CARES:


By the end of the program families should:

Know where to turn for social support.
Know where to turn for community services.
Know how 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 strategies 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 truly unlimited potential !


Read more details below ! 


We are excited to announce an exciting new initiative and resource in Rochester.   The RT Autism Awareness Foundation (RTAAF) received a grant from the Rochester Area Foundation to start a 12 week training and support program for parents and caregivers of children who have recently been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.   There will be no out of pocket costs for families to participate in this program, which is part of a new initiative by RTAAF called RT Autism CARES (Community Autism Resources, Education and Support).   

In order to apply for participation in the parent training program, parents should contact James Rechs through the Southeast Minnesota Autism Alliance at director@rtaaf.org.   If you do not have access to email, you may contact The RT Autism Awareness Foundation at 507-226-7037.  In order to apply, parents or guardians will be asked to provide documentation of the chid's diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.  This diagnosis may be educational, medical, or from a licensed mental health professional.  Families who are an appropriate fit for the program will have a child who has been diagnosed with autism within the last 12 months.   Families must be willing to commit to 12 weekly group sessions.   Parents who apply for participation in the program will be asked to attend an intake meeting to determine eligibility.    Each family will be connected to individual support from a Mental Health Professional that has specialized training and experience with autism spectrum disorders.   Mental health services will be covered either by the child/family's insurance, or through a grant.  

The RT Autism CARES Parent Training Program consists of a small group of parents who will meet at an agreed to evening and time. One or two caregivers may attend for each family. Children will not attend. The groups will be lead by a Licensed Mental Health Professional and a Licensed Special Education Teacher, both of whom have specialized training and experience with autism spectrum disorders.   Child care is not available through the program at this time.   During small group times, parents will learn about the autism diagnosis and what it may mean for their family.   The parents involved will work with the facilitators to set the agenda for the twelve weeks.  Some sessions will include guest speakers/trainers and experienced parents from the community who are able to provide unique and valuable perspectives and information on autism.  These sessions will be an opportunity for parents to learn about their child's diagnosis, to plan for the future, to gather information about resources in the community and to develop a support system of parents who share some of their experiences.   The RT Autism Cares program will provide contact information for community resources, but will not endorse any one community service or agency over another.    

Any community service providers who are interested in sharing information about the resources they provide with parents through the RT Autism CARES Parent Training program are welcome to contact James Rechs at RTAAF (director@rtaaf.org), or call the RT Autism Awareness Foundation at 507-226-7037.   Likewise, any community service provider who has special expertise working with autism spectrum disorders, and would like to volunteer as a guest speaker at an RT Autism Cares Parent Training session should also contact RTAAF at director@rtaaf.org.   Please provide information about the topic of training you would be interested in providing, as well as your contact information.  Presentations will be 60-90 minutes and include time for questions.  The specific presentations provided to each group will be determined by the interests and needs of the parents who attend the program. 



James P Rechs 

Executive Director

RT Autism Awareness Foundation

Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker



Sarah 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.