The Framingham-based Autism Alliance of MetroWest, a program of Advocates Inc., has received a grant from the Foundation for MetroWest’s Fund for Families to hire a bilingual staff member to better meet the needs of Spanish-speaking families in the region. A new phone line with information and assistance in Spanish is now available at 508-628-6777. The grant has enabled the alliance to provide the Latino community with information about autism, educate families on the importance of early intervention for children on the autism spectrum, and launch and facilitate a Spanish-speaking support group for families living with autism. The alliance estimates that there are about 1,100 Latino families in the region who may be caring for a family member with autism but have little or no support. “In the relatively short time we have been conducting this outreach, we have seen a considerable and growing response,” said Diane Gould, chief executive officer and president of Advocates, in an announcement on the program. “Overcoming linguistic barriers is one key to ensuring that families receive the information, advice, and support they need for their loved ones with autism.’’ Since beginning outreach into the Latino community two years ago, the alliance interacts with more than 150 families whose primary language is Spanish.

Jennifer Fenn Lefferts can be reached at jflefferts@yahoo.com.