Advocating Success for Kids | Overview
The Advocating Success for Kids Program at Boston Children's Hospital works with children under age 14 who are having learning, developmental, emotional, or behavioral problems at school or at home.
Our multidisciplinary team offers evaluation of developmental, learning, and/or behavioral difficulties, referral for services, and advocacy. We serve the Children's Hospital Primary Care Center and Primary Care at Martha Eliot.
The ASK Program at Boston Children's Hospital was created in 2000 to provide children with specialty care services. Children seen in the ASK Program typically have diagnoses of autism, learning disabilities, ADHD, language delays, and intellectual disabilities. We work to improve their overall health, their ability to function in school, and their chance for a brighter future.
Our team assesses and screens children referred to us by their primary care providers for developmental issues. We meet parents and their child, discuss the child's problems, come up with a treatment and follow-up plan, and refer them to any additional resources.
ASK serves over 500 children in the Boston area each year. Our multidisciplinary team of experts in developmental medicine, neurodevelopmental disabilities, social work, education, and psychology work together to:
- develop an understanding of your child and propose interventions that reduce barriers to success coordinate plans that involve your child's clinic, school, family, and community resources
- help educate parents about child development and negotiating school systems, while empowering families to become better advocates
- disseminate specialty knowledge to schools to better serve children with unique learning, emotional, or developmental needs
We would like to thank the following funding contributors for their continued support and partnership with the ASK Program:
- Digital Federal Credit Union
- Community Care Alliance
- Office of Child Advocacy at Boston Children's Hospital
- Boston Children's Hospital Primary Care Center
- Jennifer Aites, MD: Attending Physician, Division of Developmental Medicine; Instructor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
- Patricia Coffey, MSW, LICSW, Clinical Social Worker
- Barbara Wiechert, MEd, Education Specialist
- Rachel Leary, PsyD, Staff Psychologist
- Alison Rosenberg Mostyn, MSW, LICSW, Program Director
Frequently asked questions
Our team members may include:
- a developmental-behavioral pediatrician or a neurodevelopmental disabilities attending
- a nurse practitioner
- developmental-behavioral fellows and general pediatric fellows
- a social worker
- an educational specialist
- a psychologist
- volunteer student advocates
Your child must receive primary care at Boston Children's Hospital or the Martha Eliot Health Center to participate in ASK.
Talk to your child's primary care provider about being referred to ASK. If your primary care provider thinks that ASK is appropriate for your child, they will refer him/her to the ASK team.
Once a referral is made and approved, an appointment will be scheduled for you and your child to meet with the ASK team. Appointments will take place within your primary care center.
At the first appointment, you and your child will meet with a member of the ASK team (i.e. developmental behavioral pediatrician, pediatric fellow, nurse practitioner, social worker, or psychologist). Both you and your child will talk about the problems your child is having.
This interview covers many different parts of your child's needs, including your child's developmental history, how they do in school, family stressors, medical concerns, and the way they interact with their peers in social settings.
Based on this meeting, the ASK team will create a plan to help you and your family find the most appropriate resources to help your child. Together, you will talk about what was learned and discuss treatment options, if indicated. Outcomes of this meeting and treatments plans will be shared with your child's primary care provider.
- copies of any other evaluations your child has had, including school TEAM evaluations (CORE/IEP) and copies of your child's IEP (if appropriate)
- recent report cards and other reports from your child's teacher or school
- a list of questions you would like answered
- Studies have shown that children who receive help early and have more support in school have better academic success.
- Parents/caregivers who know their child's rights and understand the school system can better advocate for their children.
- Having outside support services in place for your child can often help them overcome obstacles that may be affecting their learning.
Project LAUNCH is a preschool arm of the ASK program that promotes social-emotional wellness in young children ages 0 to 6 through the use of individual/family play therapy or parental support. Families with concerns of early childhood behavior can find flexible support to help navigate the pathways to accessing educational and mental health services for their young children. Through an initial assessment and identification of risk factors, the Project LAUNCH clinician, together with the family, establishes goals to improve parental skills and overall family wellness. A family centered approach is used to work within the social and racial, structural, and cultural identity of the family, to ensure that goals set are equitable, attainable, and possible. ASK team clinicians are available for assessment of significant developmental questions, if necessary.
- ABCD - Head Start (3 to 5 years old) gives low-income, pre-school children experiences that help them compete effectively with their middle-income schoolmates.
- Boston After School & Beyond is a public-private partnership that seeks to ensure that every child in Boston has the opportunity to develop to his or her full potential. Boston Beyond's role is to expand learning and skill development opportunities for students.
- BOSTONNavigator: Search thousands of programs that run before and after school, on weekends, and during the summer to find the program that is right for you.
- Boston Public Schools Family Resource Centers provide parents with school registration information and answers for other school-related questions.
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston provides a safe, affordable place with caring adults and enriching programs for kids to go when they are not in school.
- Federation for Children with Special Needs provides information, support, and assistance to parents of children with disabilities, their professional partners, and their communities.
- Massachusetts Department of Education provides info on the state's education system and resources.
- Massachusetts Office on Disability is an advocacy agency that serves people with disabilities of all ages, including special education needs.
- Parent Stress Line (1-800-632-8188) offers parents and caregivers of children in Massachusetts an empathetic and supportive person to talk with about any parenting concern, big or small.
Make a gift
Many people ask what they can do to help the Advocating Success for Kids (ASK) Program. One important action you can take today is make a gift. Your donation helps children with developmental, learning, and/or behavioral difficulties get the help they need from our multidisciplinary team. Every gift, no matter the size, plays a vital role in raising healthy children. When you make a gift, you will receive a gift acknowledgement for tax purposes. Your gift is tax deductible to the extent provided by law. To make your gift online, visit this webpage.
For more information about giving, please contact:
Boston Children's Hospital Trust
1 Autumn Street, #731
Boston, MA 02215-5301