The mission of the Family Support team at The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders is to support families in the process of getting evaluations for their child, learning about resources, accessing services and coping with psychosocial stressors that impact family life.
Our Family Support team is involved in new patient evaluations and providing ongoing follow-up care for patients. Families who are experiencing problems accessing services for their children, or need guidance to find community-based resources may contact the team to set up consultations over the phone or in the center. Families with children with special needs may feel overwhelmed by their children’s diagnosis and unsure where to turn for help. The team assesses family needs and provides guidance for navigating systems to connect children and families to appropriate resources. They also offer emotional care and support. They empower parents to learn to be advocates for their children. When needed, the Family Support team speaks with parents who are waiting for an appointment and need assistance in the meantime. They will also speak with callers needing referrals outside of the center.
Monthly support group
All families with children with autism spectrum disorder are invited to attend the Center’s monthly parent support group. The support group focuses on parent and caregiver experiences, successes, challenges, and family impact. Flyer
The Family Support team coordinates the Center’s Autism Educational Series, a 5-week introductory class for parents of newly-diagnosed children with autism spectrum disorder and anyone interested in learning more about autism spectrum disorder. The Autism Education Series is open to the community. Flyer
Topics covered in this series include:
- What is Autism?
- Services, Regional Center, and Schools
- Communication in Children with ASD
- Understanding Problem Behaviors
- Impact on Family and Family Resilience
- And your Questions!
The Family Support team is also available to meet with community-based programs and provide presentations as needed regarding autism spectrum disorder awareness and specific topics upon request.
Family Support Team
Maureen Dillion, LCSW
Maureen has been a clinical social worker at the Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders (formerly For OC Kids) since 2006. Maureen earned her Master in Social Welfare (MSW) degree with an emphasis in medical social work at the University of California, Los Angeles. While working on her degree, she completed internships at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and Children’s Institute. Prior to attending graduate school, Maureen worked in a group home for adolescents in New York and later worked as a case manager for families in Los Angeles. She also spent two years in the area of program evaluation for non-profit organizations dedicated to healthcare issues throughout California. Maureen earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Spanish at Santa Clara University.
As part of our multidisciplinary team, Maureen provides support to families and medical providers during initial patient evaluations and also provides ongoing support to families in coping with their child’s diagnosis, accessing educational and other community-based services, and dealing with crisis situations. She provides parent workshops and facilitates a parent support group. She serves as a liaison between the center and other agencies in the county which serves vulnerable families, such as the foster care and child protective services system, and public health nursing. Maureen makes presentations to community-based agencies, schools, child care providers and other organizations that request training for their staff regarding developmental issues and autism. She works on several projects and committees with the Autism Treatment Network (ATN). Maureen speaks Spanish and has been a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences since 2010.
Marlene Cuevas, MSW
Marlene joined the Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental disorders in 2016. She is a bilingual (Spanish and English), social worker who earned her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from the University of Southern California with an emphasis in mental health and social work in business. Marlene completed her undergraduate work at California State University, Fullerton where she focused on mental health and substance abuse. Throughout her career, Marlene has worked with children, teens, adults, and families. She also created and facilitated social and life skills groups for teens with autism. Marlene has focused on many areas including emotional distress, eating disorders, autism, infertility, anxiety, depression, grief/loss, stress, crisis intervention, substance misuse, and health and wellness. She performed extensive research at USC in sleep hygiene and in creating the necessary and desirable behavioral changes to improve the sleep quality of her clients.
Marlene works with the multidisciplinary team at The Center to assess the needs of families and provide support, care coordination, and resources. Marlene is registered as an ACSW with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.