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!


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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!

AST 2017 Family Toolkit AST 2017 School Toolkit

AST 2017 Family Toolkit





March News

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We have so many great things going on!  Read all about it here:

March Newsletter

March Mid-Month Updates

Are you getting our newsletter? Subscribe here.

Welcome to our San Antonio Regional Coordinator!

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We are excited to announce that we have hired a part time Regional Coordinator for San Antonio! Lisa Owens received her bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas.   She specializes in Special Education Advocacy and has trained parents  throughout the state of Texas.  She is a mom of three children who are on the autism spectrum and advocates throughout her community to ensure that all children with disabilities are given the same opportunities to succeed.  Lisa returned to school last August and will complete her Masters in non-profit management in December 2017 if all goes well.  In her spare time she likes to read and sew. She especially enjoys making costumes for her kids.

We are happy to have Lisa on board!  Lisa can be reached at or 512-479-4199.

March Advocacy News: Announcing “Texas Autism Advocacy Day”!

Screenshot 2017-03-10 09.58.05Please join the Autism Society of Texas, Autism Speaks, Easterseals, Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, Texans for Special Education Reform, and other nonprofit groups, stakeholders, parents, and concerned advocates, as we come together to advocate for the needs of children and adults with autism, and their families. We’ll hear from legislators, learn about issues, then make legislative office visits in the afternoon, after a complimentary lunch.

Please register here for this free event. We would love to have a large number of attendees, and no advocacy experience is necessary to attend!

Read our March Advocacy Newsletter here.


Wondering about Amplify Austin 2017?

Are you wondering why you haven’t heard anything from the Autism Society of Texas about Amplify Austin 2017? 

“I Live Here, I Give Here” is a message we wholeheartedly agree with but we have several reasons why this program just isn’t the right option for fundraising for us this year. We wanted to explain why Amplify is not right for us and also encourage you to still consider giving to the Autism Society of Texas.

Here’s why we aren’t participating in Amplify Austin 2017:

  • Labor intensive

As you may know, the Autism Society of Texas is a small operation with only four staff members.  Amplify Austin requires participating organizations to work huge amounts of time for the campaign.  Not counting the preparations for Amplify, the day of is nearly 24 hours of staff checking stats, reminding donors, updating social media, etc.  After reflecting on our mission, we feel that this use of staff time doesn’t align with what we want to do as an organization.

  • Cost

Amplify Austin charges an eight percent service charge on each donation on Amplify Austin Day.  This service charge subsidizes the cost of including training and support, staff, financial services, platform, technology, marketing, public relation and credit card transactions. We, and some of our donors, feel that it is best for us to have donations go directly to Autism Society of Texas without the service fees associated with Amplify.

  • Timing

At the Autism Society of Texas, we are working hard to raise the funds to support our many programs.  Amplify falls between two other major events for us at the Autism Society of Texas, The Austin Marathon on February 19th and our Annual Bike Ride and FunRun on April 2nd.  We are busy planning and organizing these events and participating in Amplify Austin could take away from our other, more mission-focused events.

  • Incentives

In previous years, we attempted to get the incentives through Amplify Austin, but because we are a small (albeit mighty) organization we just could not compare to some of the other, larger organizations.  With no large match grant, and our size the likelihood of winning an incentive is very low.

Although we won’t be participating, we still encourage you to give to the Autism Society of Texas We offer a variety of services to individuals and families affected by Autism.  Services include information and resource referrals, support groups, employment services, life skills trainings, recreation events, advocacy presentations, and education on autism.

Here is what your donations could do for individuals and families affected by autism:

$10 would provide an adult with autism the opportunity to go to a bowling recreation event.

$25 pays for a support group for parents who have children with autism.

$50 pays for a swim lesson for a child who has autism with sensory processing issues.

$100 provides an adult or child with autism the opportunity to attend a recreation camp.

$200 provides trainings for professionals, such as teachers, firefighters and police officers on autism and the needs of individuals with autism.

Please donate:

Please go our Facebook page to donate to the Autism Society of Texas, donate online here, or mail a check made out to the Autism Society of Texas, 300 E. Highland Mall Drive, Suite 205,
Austin, TX 78752. As a nonprofit, all donations are tax deductible, and you will receive a tax receipt letter confirming your gift.

Thank you so much for your support. Your gift will make a difference in the autism community.

Enter Our 2017 “Give Me a Place to Stand” Autism Society of Texas Photo and Video Contest

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WHO: The 2017 “Give Me a Place to Stand” Autism Society of Texas Photo and Video Contest is open to all photographers and videographers who are affected by autism, including children, adults, family members and caretakers.

WHAT: We are looking for original, striking images and videos of the impact of the Autism Society in the lives of those affected by autism. These images may reflect a range of topics and subjects but should embrace the Archimedes quote: “Give me a place to stand and I can move earth”. We encourage entries from all regions, in both rural and urban settings of Texas. Each photo and video submission must be accompanied by a brief description, as well as the name of the person who took the photo/video.

Entries must be:

  • The original work of the entrant
  • Non-infringing of the rights of others
  • Respectful of the rights, sensitivities, and culture of persons depicted

WHEN: All entries must be submitted by 11:59pm US CST March 20th 2017. Judging for the Outstanding Photo and Video Award begins on March 21st and ends March 24th, 2017.

HOW: Up to 20 photographs and 5 videos (under 5 minutes) may be submitted per person. Entries may be entered by emailing digital files to or using the hashtag #ASTgivemeaplace on Facebook and Twitter.

FILE REQUIREMENTS: Digital images/videos or scans of prints may be emailed. The Autism Society of Texas cannot be responsible for lost, damaged, late or misdirected entries, or for faulty uploading connections, garbled transmissions, unauthorized intervention, or technical malfunctions.

JUDGING: Judges will include professional photographers and photo editors, and social media experts. Entries will be judged on originality, composition, overall impact, and artistic merit. The story behind the photo may influence the judges’ decisions. Decisions made by the judges are final.

WINNING ENTRIES: All entries may be used by the Autism Society of Texas in printed publications, on any Autism Society of Texas web asset, in a slideshow, or in any other media, provided that all uses are accompanied by appropriate attribution to the photographer. Entrants retain ownership and all other rights to future use of their photographs. The Texas Autism Society holds copyright to the collection of photos that constitute the Autism Society of Texas Photo and Video Contest. The Autism Society of Texas shall have the right to verify, in its sole judgment, winner eligibility.

LEGAL CONDITIONS: By entering the contest, you must agree to the 2017 Give Me a Place to Stand Autism Society of Texas Photo and Video Contest Legal Conditions. Entry of photographs into the Contest implies acceptance of these conditions, regardless of whether entrants sign a statement confirming acceptance.

Copyright: By entering, you retain copyright and remain the owner of your images and may also continue to use them in any manner you choose. You agree that the images you submit may be used in printed publications, on the Autism Society websites (including and, in a slideshow and screensaver, may be uploaded on the Autism Society’s social media channels, or in any other media, provided that you are afforded appropriate attribution as the photographer.

For questions regarding the 2017 “Give Me a Place to Stand” Autism Society of Texas Photo and Video Contest, please contact Kiki McGuinn, MSSW Intern


the beauty art makeup competition 2018



February News

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Check out our February newsletter and mid-month updates!  Read about events and happenings for adults and kids with autism, as well as their families or caregivers.

February Newsletter

February Mid-Month Updates

Subscribe to our newsletter here.

Autism Society of America’s “Day on the Hill”

AS Texas logo

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We sent our Administrative Coordinator, Jacquie Benestante, to the Autism Society of America’s “Day on the Hill” Advocacy Conference last week from February 15-17th in Washington D.C. Autism Society affiliates from all over the country were educated on a number of legislative issues affecting adults and children with autism and their families.

The Autism Society of America encouraged the need for bipartisan support on key legislative priorities including Medicaid, retaining provisions under the Affordable Care Act, and protecting the rights and needs of students receiving special education services.


  • Requires bipartisan support to protect Medicaid from cuts and structural changes that would impact children and adults with autism
  • Ensure Medicaid is not block granted or changed to per capita caps that would open the door to federal budget cuts and allow states to change Medicaid funding and reduce eligibility and benefits for people with disabilities, including autism

Affordable Care Act (ACA)

  • Ensure the needs of children and adults with autism are protected under potential replacement or repeal of ACA
  • Safeguard health insurance so that it is affordable, comprehensive, and does not discriminate against people with health conditions or disabilities, such as autism
  • ACA is not repealed unless there is a simultaneous replacement with a plan that maintains or improves existing coverage and access, and includes coverage for pre-existing conditions and the ability for young adults to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26


  • Fully fund IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act) and protect the rights & remedies afforded to students under IDEA
  • Ensure that ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) regulations create a strong accountability system that allows states, districts and schools to raise achievement for all, including students with disabilities

After a day of issues training, Autism Society affiliates met with legislators from their home states to discuss the legislative priorities. Jacquie met with staff from Senator John Cornyn & Senator Ted Cruz’s office, as well as staff members from the offices of Representative Jodey Arrington, Representative Kevin Brady, Representative Kenny Marchant, and Representative Sam Johnson.

Are you one of an estimated 400,000 Texans affected by autism? Please let your U.S. Senators & U.S Representatives know how these issues affect you or your family. Use the links below to email or call and let our Senators and Representatives know how these legislative priorities affect you or a loved one with autism.

Contact your U.S. Representatives: 

Find your U.S. Representative 

Contact your U.S. Senators:

Senator John Cornyn


Washington D.C. Office: 202-224-2934

Central Texas Office: 512-469-6034

Senator Ted Cruz


Washington D.C. Office: 202-224-5922

Central Texas Office:  512-916-5834

For questions or more information about legislative priorities, please contact

February Advocacy News

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Read about what’s going on in Texas and hear about our upcoming trip to Washington D.C.

February Advocacy News