July News

Find out what’s happening this month! From Autism Awareness Night with the Round Rock Express, to a yogurt family social with our El Paso chapter, and multiple support groups, there’s a lot going on!

Read the newsletter here.

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Preparing for July 4th!

Watch the Autism Society of Texas on Spectrum News Austin here to see tips on celebrating July 4th and see our suggestions below!

Preparing for July 4th!

1.Plan something that will work for your loved one with autism! Consider what you think your child or teen can handle & pick your activity accordingly. Take into consideration bedtime, crowds, loud noises, and think about what your options are. A family picnic or neighborhood parade might be more enjoyable than fireworks. Also consider watching fireworks from a distance if your child is noise-sensitive!

2. Prepare for the activity! Set your loved one up for success! Whether it’s a parade or fireworks (or both!) discuss it, but more importantly, make a simple story about the activity that explains the who/what/when/where of your activity, and how that will impact the child or teen and what they can do in the situation. The story should have simple descriptions and pictures. Include any fun parts of the day as well as potential scary things and what the individual can do if they feel scared or overwhelmed. How can they take a break? Do they know how to communicate that? You can google pictures from past events if it’s an annual activity like a local fireworks display or a parade. If there’s any videos from past years, show the video too!

3. Bring items to help with sensory issues. Noise reducing or noise canceling headphones can be a life-saver. Try them at home first and make sure your loved one knows they can wear them if needed. Older children, teens and adults may be fine wearing ear plugs. Include this in your story! If light-sensitivity is an issue, offer sunglasses.

4. Bring electronic devices, toys & snacks! Bring things to do and warn about the wait if there will be one! Bring snacks, toys, and activities to do while waiting! Include this in your story! Make sure electronic devices are charged, and if the person uses one for communication, practice how they will let you know if they need a break or need to leave.

5. Have an escape route & pick your location wisely!  If you’re doing something that has the potential to be overwhelming, discuss in advance (with other adults attending) how you’re going to remove your child from the situation if things don’t go well. Decide in advance who will leave with the child. You may also want to sit somewhere that is easy to exit from. For kids who are really high energy pick somewhere your child can run or jump around while waiting for the activity.

6. Don’t be afraid to try new things! With preparation and practice, you can accomplish more & more! Over time your loved one with autism may become more comfortable with events and celebrations. When you provide sensory accommodations, breaks, and an exit strategy, it will make your loved one feel less anxious about trying the activity so they can enjoy the fun along with everyone else!

June News
Check out what’s happening in June, including welcoming our new Executive Director, events, support groups, and more! Read the June newsletter here.
Federal Action Alert: Autism CARES Reauthorization Act

The Autism CARES Act (CARES stands for Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support) provides critical funding for support, research, and education. It will expire on September 30, 2019 if not reauthorized before that date.  

This law does the following:

•Increases the federal government’s response to the increasing numbers of individuals diagnosed with autism

•Expands & coordinates existing federal efforts including:

  • Research being conducted within the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Surveillance and awareness activities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Professional development and research into evidence-based interventions at the Health, Resources, and Services Administration (HRSA)
  • Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) ensures all federal agencies are coordinating their efforts, sharing information, and obtaining input from people on the autism spectrum and family members as well as other outside experts

You can read more here on Autism Society of America’s website, and TAKE ACTION by emailing our Texas U.S. Senators and Representatives at the link below!


Please help to make a difference! Get the Autism CARES Act reauthorized before September 30th! Thank you!

May Mid-Month News

Check out what’s happening in the last half of May!  Read the newsletter here.

Hunter Hinze Fund Accepting Applications!

The Hunter Hinze Fund is accepting applications from May 1st-May 31, 2019. The Hunter Hinze Fund helps autistic adults live their dreams and maximize their potential as they transition throughout adulthood. The fund 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.

It is their wish that these funds be used for:

•services and supports that would provide autonomy, skill development; or

•a sense of purpose that promotes self-sufficiency and fosters independence.

Grants are available for individuals 18 years and older who have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and live Texas. You can read more about the fund here and find the applications here:

Apply Here: English

Aplicar aquí: Español

Thank you to the Hinze family and so many of you that generously donated to the fund. You have made this possible. The fund takes donations on an ongoing basis.

If you’d like to make a gift to the Hunter Hinze Fund to help adults in transition, you may give a donation online using the “Donate” button at the top right of the screen and in honor/memory of -please include For Hunter Hinze Fund.  Or a check can be mailed to Autism Society of Texas, 300 E.Highland Mall Blvd., #205, Austin, TX 78752. Please put Hunter Hinze Fund in memo line. Thank you! Questions:

Help Fix Special Education!
Please call and tell conference committee members (listed below), “Please support House Budget Rider X-9/ Senate Budget Rider III-75”.
These budget riders will:
1) Provide transparency about the progress of TEA’s corrective actions. The Texas Education Agency recently indicated that it cannot implement federally mandated overhauls to comply with special education IDEA requirements until at least June 2020! (Not acceptable!)
2) Require the Legislative Budget Board to examine how special education funding is being spent in Texas. Recent calculations show that Texas could have misspent nearly $223 MILLION.  (The federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld a ruling that Texas improperly used federal funds to reduce state spending instead of supporting children who need special education services).
3)  Would create a report that would provide more clarity about how special education money is being spent.  (The TEA has been subject to some contracting scandals, and this would provide more transparency).
4)  Create a report on special education with a review by the Legislative Budget Board, which would provide critically-needed transparency to Texans and insight to the Legislature about how to fix special education in Texas.
Please contact/message via phone, tweet or Facebook!

Texas House Appropriations Committee:

Rep. John Zerwas, (512) 463-0657 (@johnzerwas) (@RepJohnZerwas)

Rep. Sarah Davis, (512) 463-0389 (@sarahdavisrep134) (@SarahforHD134)

Rep. Oscar Longoria, (512) 463-0645 (@RepLongoria) (@RepLongoria)

Rep. Armando Walle, (512) 463-0924 (@RepWalle) (@RepWalle)

Rep. Greg Bonnen, (512) 463-0729 (@DrGregBonnen) (@DrGregBonnen)

Texas Senate Finance Committee:

Senator Jane Nelson, (512) 463-0112 (@SenatorJaneNelson) (SenJaneNelson)

Senator Joan Huffman, (512) 463-0117 (@senatorjoanhuffman) (@joanhuffman)

Senator Lois Kolkhurst, (512) 463-0118 (@LoisKolkhorst) (@loiskolkhorst)

Senator Larry Taylor, (512) 463-0111 (@senlarrytaylor) (@SenLarryTaylor)

Senator Robert Nichols, (512) 463-0103 (@SenatorRobertNichols) (@SenatorNichols)

Thank you to Representative Gina Hinojosa for her work to support special education! Thank you to the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee for including these budget riders.
A big thank you to Representative Mary González & Senator Kirk Watson for adding these amendments. 
May News

April may be over, but as usual, we’ll be spreading acceptance and awareness year-round! Check out our May newsletter! The Hunter Hinze Fund is accepting applications, we have multiple events this month including First Responder Community Day, The Possibility of Disability Art Show, and our Texas Autism Bike Ride and Fun Run makeup event this Sunday!

Read the May newsletter here:


April Mid-Month Updates

What’s coming up in then next few weeks? Advocacy Day, art & autism at Davis Gallery,  our make-up Park & Play Day, and many support groups! Read about it here.

Subscribe here.

April News

Check out our April newsletter to read about World Autism Awareness & Acceptance Day, our Texas Autism Bike Ride & Fun Run, and more!

Read it here.

Subscribe here.