Autism Society of the Mahoning Valley launches program to help caregivers of special needs children


YOUNGSTOWN — One of the most persistent concerns for a special needs parent is how their child will be cared for when the parent is gone. The long-term needs of a family affected by autism are significant and costly.  Inspired by the moving true story of a local special needs single dad who faced a life-threatening health crisis, the Autism Society of the Mahoning Valley is launching Sophia’s Gift, a multi-part family trust project.

The project begins with a free family workshop series led by local attorneys. A recent community survey determined that the majority of local families lack understanding and, as a result, do not have legal guardianship, STABLE accounts, or a Special Needs Trust established to establish a care system for an adult child with special needs.

The one-hour workshops will focus on these legal and financial needs. Similar information will be shared at each, but you can attend as many as you would like. It is a great opportunity to meet many local experts.

The workshops are scheduled at varied times and locations to accommodate the work and family schedules of the families in the three counties ASMV serves. It is hoped that every family affected by autism will attend at least one of these events to help with their planning needs.

The first workshop will be Aug, 12, at 10 a.m. at the Canfield Library, 43 W. Main St. in Canfield. Attorney Karen Bovard of the firm Johnson & Johnson will be the featured speaker. Future workshops will be in Columbiana, Youngstown and Niles.

In conjunction with this effort to offer further support, ASMV will launch Sophia’s Gift. This ASMV-directed fund will provide workshop-participating families the opportunity to have the often-costly life planning provided gratis or at a reduced cost.

In addition, a future emergency mini-grant fund will be established should a family experience a catastrophic need. Donations are being accepted now.

For additional information, call 330.333.9609 or visit


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