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Bellingham Bulletin

Amego to Celebrate 50 Years of Autism Services

Oct 30, 2019 03:22PM ● By Pamela Johnson

Sara St. Peter (left) and Julie Hayes review next steps at the new Amego facility in Franklin.

story & photo by Dave Dunbar, Contributing Writer

Coming up on its 50th anniversary, Amego has opened a large, three-floor facility in nearby Franklin. To the 400+ families it serves in Massachusetts, Amego is well-known (and gratefully acknowledged) for the wide spectrum of services it provides to children and adults with autism.

“It was a wonderful welcome last month,“ recalled Vice President of Consultative Services Julie Hayes, “with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, families, friends, and local officials.“
Amego opened its doors in 1971, founded by the Sangree Stokes family, who were caring for an autistic child. Today, it serves families in 115 communities and has more than 600 employees.

Hayes, who lives in Bellingham, said she “is very excited to be able to continue to support the families within [her] community. And now,“ she continued, “Amego is in nearby Franklin with an amazing team of behavior analysts and psychologists.”

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.

In Franklin, Amego offers two main branches of services: BEST (Behavior, Education, Socialization, Training) Clinical Services, which Hayes is in charge of, and a spacious new school that serves 45 children.

“This non-profit agency is amazing,“ said Hayes. It serves those with the most difficult challenges, provides educational opportunities with the premise that all can learn, and focuses on the strengths of relationships, families and communities. BEST Clinical Services helps more than 200 children.

“We have children who come to us with limited skills who make tremendous progress,” she explained. “It’s amazing!”

BEST Clinical Services provides Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) services, both in-home and clinic-based, that address social skills and offer support groups for parents and siblings. There are more than 200 in Amego’s programs for adults and children.

“Through our clinic, we have psychologists conducting diagnostic evaluations, behavior analysts providing ABA services to children with autism, social skills groups, and speech and language services,” said Hayes; she continued, “Services are provided within our new center as well as within clients’ homes and community locations. Every program is individualized and tailored to meet the needs of each child.”

“We are in-network with all insurance providers, including Mass Health,” and, she added, “Amego is an approved Specialty Service Provider through the Department of Public Health to serve children receiving Early Intervention services.”

Amego is the result of one family’s journey to find answers for their autistic child. It now touches the lives of families across the Commonwealth through private residential homes, a fully-accredited school, day habilitation programs, a community-centered employment program and a team of dedicated professionals.

Visit www.amegoinc.org or call 508-455-620 to find out more. Amego is located at 122 Grove St., Franklin.

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