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Assisting Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Guiding Parents to Services (GPS), a program at Smart Start of Mecklenburg County, is a navigational system offered free to families who are entering the world of autism. GPS is available to parents of young children, birth to 5, whose child is suspected of having, or has been recently diagnosed with, an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). GPS is designed to be the first stop for families seeking to access resources, referrals, information and support for ASD. GPS connects children at risk for ASD with the services that they need.


Our goal is to provide an opportunity for parents to process the meaning and impact of autism spectrum disorders and to learn about the benefits of early intervention and to start the journey towards good outcomes.

What GPS Offers

  • Referrals to early intervention and other important community agencies.
  • Resource information on topics and services appropriate to the needs of families experiencing ASD.
  • Home visits designed to equip families to optimize their child's engagement and learning and to encourage families to use the natural environment to support learning and development.
  • Free parent workshops at ImaginOn, the children's library in downtown Charlotte (300 E. 7th St.).
  • A notebook containing information on referrals, red flags for autism spectrum disorders, interventions, best practices, links to websites and a glossary of terms.
  • Training opportunities for interested parents and professionals in the community.

Check the calendar for workshop topics and dates. Workshops specific to situations or needs for information, may be scheduled upon request and will be offered free of charge.
Vonetta Blakely is the coordinator of GPS. Call at 704-943-9416 to schedule a meeting.

Dianne Alexander, Ph.D.
GPS Coordinator

Ph: 704-806-5123
Ph: 704-943-9416

Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.