American Health Care Act: Statement from Autism Society of America

May 5, 2017

The House of Representatives voted to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) with the addition of amendments that fail to reflect the reality of the lives of people with disabilities. The Autism Society of America, along with its many partners, are outraged by this vote. AHCA was not properly debated and was voted on without a Congressional Budget Score. Most importantly, this bill has deep cuts and restructuring which will decimate the Medicaid program – the lifeline for individuals with disabilities and their families. The bill allows loopholes that permit discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions. In addition, the American Health Care Act will cut Essential Health Benefits–such as rehabilitation services and mental health programs. The cuts will permit states to return to imposing lifetime caps on coverage and will not keep healthcare affordable for people with disabilities. Rather, this legislation would have devastating cuts of over $800 billion to Medicaid.

The bill now goes to the Senate where we hope it will be debated and scored to determine the impact on low income households, seniors, and those with disabilities. Despite the outcome of the House vote, we will work on both sides of the aisle to ensure our voice is heard on coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and individuals requiring Essential Health Benefits. “We strongly encourage our advocates across the country to continue to reach out to their members of Congress and educate them on why AHCA harms millions of individuals with disabilities and why this bill could have detrimental consequences,” said Scott Badesch, President/CEO of the Autism Society of America.

Access Austin: Looking for clients

On September 1st at the Austin City Council meeting, the Autism Society of Central Texas was approved for a Social Services & Capacity Building grant through Austin/Travis County Health & Human Services Department! We are beyond thrilled that with this generous grant, and we can now provide even more services to our local adult autism population through this new program we are creating with these monies, called Access Austin. This is a capacity building grant so in addition to direct client support we’ll be working with a nonprofit professional to help us build our internal organizational capacity.

By offering volunteer opportunities with local organizations, and providing job coaching and training, we hope to provide a way for adults with autism to not only learn vocational skills, but also learn social and communication skills while connecting with their peers. Furthermore, the program will enable individuals with disabilities to be a part of their community in a meaningful way.

Access-Austin will help us fill gaps for adults with autism here in Central Texas and encourage employment, post secondary training, education and volunteer opportunities. We are grateful to the City of Austin for this wonderful grant that allows us to provide this program to participants at no cost!

Here’s how you can sign up!  We are still looking for clients to serve and would love to share more information with you.   Access-Austin Interest List Sign Up

Interested in learning about providing employment or volunteer opportunities? Please email Caroline at

Hunter Hinze Adult Transition Grant Awards

AS Texas logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                   CONTACT: AUTISM SOCIETY of Texas

                                                                                    Suzanne Potts



Funding awarded to adults with autism through the Hunter Hinze Adult Transition Grants

Austin, TX May 3, 2017, the Autism Society of Texas was pleased to award four (4) young adults with autism with Hunter Hinze Adult Transition Grants. These individuals were from areas around the state and had requests for Post-Secondary Education, Life Skills, and Vocational skills interests.

Interested candidates submitted short applications and were asked to identify how the funds would be used, how they would impact their transition into adulthood and were reviewed by a team of internal and external reviewers.  Our next grant cycle will open up August 1, 2017.

“The Autism Society of Texas is so pleased to help young adults with autism who are seeking to broaden their options and transition into adulthood successfully. We are so proud of the great work that each of them are doing and look forward to hearing updates about their progress as a result of these funds. We could not provide this support without the generosity of Texas donors who helped make this fund a reality.” Suzanne Potts, Executive Director.

The Hunter Hinze Transition Grant was launched by Dr. J.D. and Kathy Hinze, in conjunction with the Autism Society of Texas to honor the memory of their son, Hunter, who died at the age of 18 in May of 2015. Today, the Hunter Hinze Transition Grant helps adults with autism live their dreams and maximize their potential as they transition to adulthood.

The Autism Society is the nation’s largest and oldest grassroots autism organization.  Founded in 1965, the Autism Society and its national network of local affiliates is dedicated to improving the lives of those living with autism, supporting families and communities, and ensuring that individuals lead lives that include acceptance, dignity, and independence to the greatest extent possible.

Additional Facts:

  • Approximately one in four young adults with autism is socially isolated.
  • Four in every 10 young adults on the autism spectrum never worked for pay between high school and their early 20s. Those who got jobs tended to work part-time in low-wage jobs.
  • Approximately 26% of young adults on the autism spectrum received no services – services which could help them become employed, continue their education, or live more independently.
  • Over half of young adults with autism received no vocational or life skills services during their early 20s.
  • Nearly 37% of young adults with autism were disconnected from both work and education after high school

As one of over 90 local affiliates, the Autism Society of Texas has supported families and individuals with autism for over 27 years here in Texas and is dedicated to improving lives in our community through a series of services and supports.  The Autism Society of Texas includes three area Chapters in El Paso, Houston and San Antonio, and is proud of our programs and initiatives and the contributions we make to our community:

  • Information and Referrals
  • Support
  • Education and Training
  • Advocacy
  • Awareness
  • Community inclusion

For more information about autism and the Autism Society, please visit:




Summer Camp Guide 2017 & Autism Society Camp Partners

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Take a look at the 2017 Summer Camp Guide! This is a very comprehensive guide for children with special needs in Central Texas and surrounding areas, developed in collaboration by Easter Seals Central Texas, Parent Support & Training Program, and Austin Independent School District Family and School Support Team. The Autism Society of Texas has teamed up with Texas Rowing for All in Austin, and KidsActing Foundation in Austin to provide Summer camp opportunities. You can read about them below.

Autism Society of Texas Camp Partnerships:

Texas Rowing For All Summer Camp: June 19-23rd

KidsActing Foundation Summer Camp Week 1: July 17-21st

KidsActing Foundation Summer Camp Week 2: July 24-28th

Download the 2017 Camp Guide here: 

English: 2017_CampGuide_English_WCAG   Spanish:  2017CampGuide_SP_FINAL

Autism Twitter Chat Storify Results
April Twitter Chat – April 26th 11:00AM

The Autism Society of Texas will be hosting our first ever twitter chat April 26th, 2017 at 11:00AM. #autismchatstx

Please read below for instructions, the official Twitter chat questions, and suggested readings.

What is a Twitter Chat?

A Twitter Chat is an informal reverse Q&A on Twitter. The ‘host’ of the chat posts 3-6 questions related to a topic on Twitter over the course of 1 hour and others chime in with their comments and feedback. Twitter Chats generally have the hashtags associated with the event. Twitter Chats are searchable in Twitter.

  • Length: 1 hour
  • Connect at 11:00AM by searching the hashtag: #autismchatstx
  • All the questions will come from the Autism Society of Texas’s Twitter Account: @AutismATX
  • All the questions will be labeled in the format of Q then the question number. For example: Q1 means Question 1
  • All responses should include A then the number of the questions. For example A1 means an answer to Question 1
  • All responses also must include the hashtag #autismchatstx to be viewed by the rest of the Twitter Chat
  • Retweet, like, share and discuss with the other participants using the hashtag #autismchatstx


Autism Society of Texas April Twitter Chat Topic:

National Autism Awareness Month

April is National Autism Awareness Month. Some big steps have been made to increase awareness, as evidenced by more media attention and representation on shows like Sesame Street.  Although awareness has increased, there are still many areas where acceptance and community inclusion still lack.  As the month comes to a close, we need to think of how we as a community will continue to spread awareness, advocate for acceptance and inclusion, open new dialogues, and create space for individuals and families affected by autism.


Please, join us on April 26, 2017 at 11am CST.

Here are the questions we hope to discuss during the chat:

  1. What you are doing for National Autism Awareness Month?
  2. Why is recognizing National Autism Awareness Month important in 2017?
  3. What challenges do people with autism face?
  4. Where do we as a community go for services?
  5. What ideas do we have moving forward to continue to conversation on awareness and acceptance?


Here we have compiled some readings on National Autism Awareness Month: 

Twitter Chat


April Newsletter & April Mid-Month News

The April mid-month newsletter is out! See what’s happening the last two weeks of April!  Read it here.

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Read all about what’s happening at the Autism Society of Texas in April! We are grateful to have numerous partnerships with local businesses, excited about our upcoming Talent Show, and can’t wait for our Texas Autism Advocacy Day on April 12th!  We also recognize our April Volunteer of the Month, Jennifer Miller! Thank you, Jennifer.

Read here: April Newsletter

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Autism Awareness Month PSA on KVET/I Heart Radio

Check out our Executive Director on I Heart Radio with our board member, Heather White from 98.1 KVET Morning Show. This is just one of the ways we’ll be working to raise awareness and acceptance about autism during the month of April.  This show will run Sunday, April 2, and 7:00 AM on KASE 101, 96.7 KISS FM, and 102.3 the Beat. It will air Sunday night at 10:30 PM on 98.1 KVET and AM 1300 the Zone. #autismriderun

Autism Awareness Month Newsletter: Everything You Need to Know!

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Read our special edition Autism Awareness Newsletter here.

April is right around the corner! At the Autism Society of Texas, we’re excited to promote not only awareness, but also acceptance, for everyone affected by autism. We have many events happening throughout the month, including City Proclamations declaring Autism Awareness Month, fundraisers at Chuy’s, Kendra Scott, Cookie Cutters Hair Cuts for Kids, and Charming Charlie, as well as our Texas Autism Bike Ride & Fun Run, Texas Autism Advocacy Day, community events, special hours at The Thinkery, a free ABA training workshop, as well as a toolkits, photo contest, and ways to get involved. There is truly something for everyone! Click link above to read about events & happening in our newsletter.
We hope you’ll join us and support our autism community!  

April Is Autism Awareness Month!


Autism Awareness Month is on the horizon! Are you looking to spread awareness and acceptance during National Autism Awareness Month? Here are some fun ways to get involved and help celebrate throughout the month of April!

Here is a short list of 30+ things to do for autism in 30 days- April 2017

  1. Attend Crossfit For All – April 1st 2017 10:30AM
  2. Participate in or donate to The Autism Society of Texas Bike Ride and Fun Run – April 2nd 2017
  3. Write a letter to a loved one with autism
  4. Try out an Autism Friendly Business
  5. Read a book about autism or with a character with autism
  6. Share something on social media about autism
  7. Invite a friend of family member with autism to your house
  8. Attend Bowling Fundraiser Event in San Antonio @ Main Event 4PM-8PM
  9. Watch a movie about autism
  10. Change your Facebook header picture to an image about autism
  11. Subscribe to the Autism Society of Texas Newsletters
  12. Attend Texas Autism Advocacy Day at the Texas State Capital -April 12th 9:30 am – 3:00 pm
  13. Buy an item at Kendra Scott’s Domain location – April 12th 6:00PM-9:00PM
  14. Watch the Autism Society’s Brown Bag Learning Lunch @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm with Kathy Palomo
  15. Wear an autism shirt
  16. Donate to the Autism Society of Texas via Facebook or the website
  17. Talk to a stranger about autism
  18. Write a letter to your legislator to advocate for individuals with autism
  19. Order your Amazon goods via Amazon Smile and select Autism Society as the organization
  20. Attend Taco About Autism Event at Chuy’s and eat the Love Me Tender taco – April 19th (all day)
  21. Attend Autism Society of Texas open house – April 20th @ 5PM
  22. Attend the Quiz for a Cause benefiting the Autism Society of Texas at Nomad Bar – April 20th @ 8PM (21+)
  23. Create an autism friendly workplace
  24. Ask for a shout-out for autism awareness month on the radio
  25. Share educational facts about autism on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
  26. Ask your employer to match your donations to Autism Society of Texas.
  27. Thank someone who has helped you or your loved one affected by autism
  28. Learn & share information about autism safety.
  29. Practice or watch someone with autism’s talent & sign up for the May Talent Show
  30. Call a caregiver of someone with autism and let them know that you care
  31. Share a story about how you have or would want to accept someone with autism
  32. Attend sensory friendly house at the Thinkery 8:00AM-10:00AM
  33. Attend the ABCs of ABA at ABA Today (sponsored by The Autism Society of Texas) 9:00AM
  34. Attend Charming Charlie Gives Back: Multiple Locations at Charming Charlie’s Apr 22 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
  35. Get your child’s haircut at Cookie Cutters Sunset Valley and they will donate to Autism Society of Texas Apr 24 @ 10:00 am – Apr 30 @ 7:00 pm


We also created a calendar for you to print and hang to remind you of some of the things you can do to increase autism acceptance and awareness!


Autisn Awareness Month april 2017 (6)


Lastly we created toolkits for families and schools to use to help teach others about autism and spread the message of autism awareness and acceptance! Share it with your friends, family, and schools and help us spread awareness and acceptance of autism!

Family & School Toolkits:

AST 2017 Family Toolkit AST 2017 School Toolkit

AST 2017 Family Toolkit