Family Resources

Clinical Services Workshops

R.I.S.E. (Resiliency, Independence and Social Engagement) social skills workshops, are conducted for one hour per week, and due to the pandemic, sessions have been held on Zoom.

The summer sessions that will begin in July. Groups have a maximum capacity of 8 participants, and each participant must commit to attend all sessions. 

RISE Topics for Skill Development

These are some of the topics that may be targeted in the RISE sessions. Individual groups will work together to come to a consensus on skill targets (Working together to come to a consensus will be our first target skill).  

• Disagreeing without yelling 
•Relationships: how to ask someone to go on a date, how to let someone know you are interested in them, how to tell someone you are not interested in them 
• Conversation skills – being a good speaker and listener 
• How to be safe when you are out with your friends 
• How to stay safe online and avoid scams 
• How to be safe when you are walking alone (like out of work) 
• How to advocate for yourself 
• Making good friends and doing things together 
• Telling someone if they hurt your feelings 
• Knowing how to talk to your boss or other people you work with 
• What to do if you don’t want to do what your boss tells you to do 
• Compromising when you disagree 
• Talking to someone about how they made you feel (angry, sad, etc.) 

RISE Group Facilitator

All groups will be led by a licensed clinician, Christine O’Gara, LMHC, with clinical oversight from Robert Smith, BCBA, LABA. The focus of the RISE groups will include direct and explicit teaching of specific social skills in a small group format that is safe, fun, and supportive. 

The structure of the small group will allow participants to develop and practice skills utilizing modeling, role-play, prompting, shaping and reinforcement techniques. Group members will receive constructive and supportive feedback from staff and peers.  Skills taught will assist residents in developing and maintaining social connections, improve overall social functioning, increase functional independence and increase self-management/coping skills.  LIFE staff will be provided with current social skill targets and methods for prompting, supporting, and reinforcing targets outside of the group setting. 

Cost to Attend

$60 per session, plus a one-time assessment of $145 for new participants, which will be conducted prior to the start of the R.I.S.E. sessions.  Because these sessions are run by an LMHC, those with private insurance may be able to submit the paid invoice to their insurance for partial reimbursement of the cost of the sessions. 

Session Demand
Sessions will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis and in consideration of the formation of complimentary peer groupings. Wait lists are maintained and those who are already on the wait list will be among the first served.  The RISE sessions are 12 weeks in length, and there will be four RISE sessions run throughout the year.  

Instruction for Registration

A RISE Social Skills Group Proposal and a Social Skills Checklist must be completed by participants and parents/guardians for enrollment (click links). Please indicate your preference for Live or Zoom session, or if you do not have a preference.

Individual Supplemental Sessions 

Individual sessions are also offered as a supplement to the group sessions.  These sessions tie directly into the topics and work of the group sessions and allow for more individualized interventions and practice. These sessions are offered in ½ or 1-hour formats at a rate of $145/hr.  Frequency of the individual sessions will depend on the goals for the individual.  If interested in learning more about these supplementary sessions, please let us know and we will follow-up to discuss specifics with you.    

To Register
To register, please email Heather Steede at [email protected]. Notification regarding final group assignments will be sent by email.


August 2020

LIFE is pleased to announce an expansion in our clinical services. Under the direction of Robert S. Smith, M.A., M.Ed., Licensed Applied Behavior Analyst, Board Certified Behavior Analyst, LIFE will now be offering a full suite of behavioral services to enhance the lives of the individuals we serve.

LIFE has expanded its clinical services as a result of feedback from the individuals we serve, their families, and our partners including the Department of Developmental Services.

At LIFE, we have the unique opportunity to provide these services within the natural everyday environment were the individual lives, works and plays. This allows these services to be provided seamlessly with the other services LIFE provides and allows for better acquisition and maintenance of the learned skills. All LIFE staff that work with the individual will be utilized and leveraged as part of a natural support network to make these services even more meaningful and powerful.

These services will be delivered through and guided by research and evidence-based practices with the goal of developing specific skills that open new opportunities and increase the life satisfaction of the individual.


Health Care Coverage for Adults with Autism and Other Disabilities

This presentation focuses on health care coverage for adults with autism and other disabilities. Topics include: private and public insurance benefits as children transition into adulthood, keeping adult disabled dependents on a parent’s private insurance past the age of 26, social security and how it impacts coverage, and strategies for maximizing access to insurance-funded treatments.


Amy Weinstock is the Director of the Autism Insurance Resource Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, and an instructor in the medical school’s Department of Psychiatry. 

She has an extensive background on insurance issues related to autism and has played a key role in passing several significant pieces of autism insurance legislation in Massachusetts, including the groundbreaking 2010 law requiring health insurance to cover medically necessary treatment for autism. Amy also serves as a trustee of the Riverview School, and as a Commissioner on the State’s Autism Commission.

Following a successful career in real estate and banking, Amy, the parent of a child on the autism spectrum, decided to merge her personal passions and professional experience. 

She completed a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) fellowship at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center in 2005. 

Following this, she served as President of the outreach organization of the Lurie Center for Autism at Massachusetts General Hospital for two years prior to her appointment as Chair of the Insurance Committee for Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts (AFAM).

Amy’s work has been recognized through numerous awards including the Federation for Children with Special Needs Martha H. Ziegler Founders Award, the Margaret L. Bauman Award for Excellence, the Massachusetts ARC’s Distinguished Citizens Award, the Autism Speaks Advocacy Award, the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation’s Shining Star and Essential piece awards, and the Northeast ARC’s Edward C. O’Keefe Memorial Award. 

She is a graduate of Wellesley College and received a Masters of Architecture from Harvard University.

Acquiring the Skills That Lead to Resiliency

Robert shares his work at LIFE during the pandemic, and discuss a clinical approach to supporting the development of skills in the people we serve that lead to resiliency.


Robert S. Smith, M.A., M.Ed., LABA, BCBA is a licensed applied behavior analyst, a board-certified behavior analyst, a licensed special educator, and consultant to organizations serving individuals with disabilities and mental health conditions across the lifespan. 

He has over 15 years of experience implementing positive behavior supports within organizations and providing educational and clinical support to individuals with developmental disabilities and mental health diagnoses. Robert is a certified trainer in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention and has provided certification training to hundreds of individuals. 

He has served as a senior level therapist for Massachusetts’ Department of Developmental Services’ Autism Waiver Program and provides post graduate practicum supervision to those seeking board certification as a behavior analyst throughout the United States. Robert specializes in assessing and treating individuals with explosive and unsafe behavior, conducting functional analyses, teaching social skills, designing individualized skill acquisition plans, developing coping skills, training staff and providing programmatic development consultation to organizations.

To watch the video below, use password: lifeskills


Call to schedule a tour: 508.790.3600

Main office: LIFE, Inc., 550 Lincoln Road Extension, Hyannis, MA 02601

[email protected]

Living Independently Forever, Inc. is a non-profit with multiple locations throughout Southeast Massachusetts supporting adults with autism, learning disabilities, and intellectual disabilities in their pursuit of a happy, independent life.

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