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March 11, 2015
Autism Resource Specialist Profiles: Suzanne Bloomer from The Lurie Center for Autism

Tags: Resource Guide

For as long as I can remember, I have had a deep desire to help individuals of all ages.  Whether volunteering time to offer companionship and support to home-bound seniors or working as a caseworker to assure safety and provide permanency for children and youth involved in social services, I have strived to be caring and empathetic to those around me.   Through an internship working in an Early Intervention Program, I learned firsthand about children with Autism as I co-led a play group for 2-3 year olds.   Years later I worked at The New England Center for Children (NECC), a private day and residential school for students with autism spectrum disorders.   In addition to my various positions in the Day School at NECC, I also provided in-home behavioral support for families of children with autism spectrum disorders.  During this time, I really got to know many families intimately and understand the joys and challenges of having a child with autism spectrum disorder.   These experiences led me to want to help families in a more global capacity. 

 Since 2010, I have had the honor of working as Family Support Clinician at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Lurie Center for Autism.  The Lurie Center is a multidisciplinary program that integrates developmental medicine, neurology, psychiatry, neuropsychology, gastroenterology and genetics to evaluate and treat children, adolescents and adults with autism spectrum and other neurodevelopmental disorders.   I am one of three clinicians in the family support department.   My primary focus is to support families through the frequently overwhelming time around a new diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  This begins with helping the family to understand their child’s diagnosis and find the support and services they need. Over the following months or years, I am available to aid in “navigating” to and through the resources available for their child as well as the whole family. 

The first resource I usually share with families is their local autism support center which can provide parent support, information/referrals and activities closer to home.   Many families often request information about in-home behavioral support, school advocacy and outpatient therapy (mainly speech and occupational therapy).  The Autism Insurance Resource Center is an invaluable resource for families attempting to get services covered by insurance. 

Through collaboration with my colleagues at the Autism Consortium, many families have been provided with the resources to increase their children’s potential to lead productive and happy lives.