News


Now Hiring Bike Ride Coordinator!

We are looking to hire a Bike Ride Coordinator (Temporary).  Please email a resume and cover letter through Indeed com here, if you are interested after reviewing the job description below.  Thank you!

JOB DESCRIPTION – Bike Ride Coordinator

(Contract/Temporary position, approximately 4 months)

Salary Hourly: $18.00/hour

Location: Austin, Texas

 Overview:

The Autism Society of Texas is searching for a professional with a strong background in event planning and fundraising to work with the Bike Ride Planning committee and report to the Director of External Affairs. The Autism Society of Texas (AST) is seeking a part-time (10-20 hours/week) Bike Ride Coordinator to implement a work plan, oversee key event activities, and coordinate with the AST staff and board on the 10th annual Texas Autism Bike Ride and Fun Run on Sunday, April 15th 2018.

The AST is a vibrant non-profit (501c3) organization whose mission is to ensure individuals affected by autism in Texas are valued, included, and given the opportunities to pursue fulfilling lives by providing information, support, and advocacy for people affected by autism and their families, educators, professionals, and the community-at-large.

Definition of Position:

The Bike Ride Coordinator reports directly to the Director of External Affairs and will work closely with AST staff and board members. The Bike Ride Coordinator will oversee and prepare for the event on Sunday, April 15th. Minimal local travel is required. Valid driver license, auto insurance, and reliable car are a must. Some evening and weekend hours are required.

Key Responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

  • Part time, temporary contract position through 4/30/18.
  • Approximately 10-20 hours per week until event week. The month prior to event, hours may increase but will dramatically drop off after the event.
  • Manage task list and duties related to event and on event
  • Coordinate and work on outreach for sponsors
  • Manage and update list of participants into Mail Chimp
  • Develop communication and send out team updates
  • Manage social media posts with intern or AST staff regarding event
  • Coordinate volunteers on event
  • Communicate with AST staff weekly on event progress
  • Attend and facilitate monthly event team meetings with volunteers
  • Outreach for key volunteer positions (i.e. MSET, SAG)
  • Manage vendor relationships (photographer, announcer, t-shirts, etc)
  • Supervise and work on food outreach
  • Manage overall event budget
  • Set up packet pick up(s)/registration for event
  • Coordinate technology needs with AST staff
  • Other duties as assigned to help make this a successful event

Strong candidates for this position will have:

  • Documented work experience in event planning
  • Excellent organizational skills including attention to detail, good recordkeeping, responsible time management, and the ability to juggle multiple projects and deadlines in both an independent and collaborative setting.
  • Good oral and written communication skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work as part of a team.
  • Flexibility, self-motivation, enthusiasm, and commitment to the AST’s mission.
  • Familiarity with Excel and Google Docs.

 

December Mid-Month News

Read our December mid-month newsletter here! It’s packed with information & events! Not getting the newsletter? Subscribe here.

Take two! No Tax on Disability Call-In Day! (Again!)

TAKE TWO! NO TAX ON DISABILITY CALL-IN DAY!

The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act continues to be a threat to people with disabilities, with the potential for huge cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and negative changes in provisions in the ACA. The Autism Society of America along with the state affiliates, have joined forces nationwide with disability rights groups and advocates to call in and oppose this act! Please call today.  If you called the first time, thank you! We have another opportunity to act! Please call today, 12/12 or tomorrow morning 12/13 and let your opinion be heard! 

Please call Senator John Cornyn and Representative Kevin Brady today and urge them to please vote NO on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. If you have more time, please call all the people listed in the information from Autism Society of America. Thank you!

Senator John Cornyn
Washington D.C. Office: 202-224-2934
Central Texas Office: 512-469-6034
Representative Kevin Brady:
Office will only take emails if you are in District 8. (Includes all of Montgomery, Walker, Houston, San Jacinto, Trinity, Grimes, Madison, and parts of Leon and Harris counties).
Phone: (202) 225-4901
Fax: (202) 225-5524
TAKE ACTION

We’re hearing that a vote on the final tax bill is not going to happen this week. This delay provides us more time to protest this bill and shows that our efforts so far have been effective. Please join people with disabilities, our families, and advocates around the country TODAY for a national call-in day to tell our Representatives and Senators to oppose the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. We’re told that call volume on Capitol Hill has been high – keep it up!

Call the Capitol switchboard, or the numbers provided above, at 202-224-3121. This may be the most important vote of the year with the most far-reaching impacts for every individual and every family in the country.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is very close to reaching President Trump’s desk and becoming law. Every Representative and Senator needs to hear about your opposition to this bill!

WHAT TO SAY

  • I am a member of the Autism Society
  • Please vote NO on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
  • This tax plan will significantly reduce federal revenue and will create pressure to cut Medicaid and other programs that are critical for people with disabilities.
  • We cannot afford these tax cuts that disproportionately benefits the wealthiest Americans and large corporations.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

More information from Autism Society of America:

The House and Senate each passed their own version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which means that now a conference committee must work out the differences between each bill to produce a final version. Both the House and Senate have appointed conferees (see below for list) that are working to come up with a bill that can pass both chambers. The private House and Senate Conferences will be meeting all week. A three hour meeting between the House and Senate Conferences is scheduled for December 13, 2017.

Senate Conferees:

  • Republicans: Hatch (UT), Enzi (WY), Murkowski (AK), Cornyn (TX), Thune (SD), Portman (OH), Scott (SC), and Toomey (PA)
  • Democrats: Wyden (OR), Sanders (VT), Murray (WA), Cantwell (WA), Stabenow (MI), Menendez (NJ), and Carper (DE)

House Conferees:

  • Republicans: Brady (TX-8), Roskam (IL-6th), Nunes (CA-22nd), Black (TN-6th), Noem (SD-at large), Bishop (UT-1st), Young (IA-3rd), Upton (MI-6th), and Shimkus (IL-15th)
  • Democrats: Neal (MA-1st), Levin (MI-9th), Doggett (TX-35th), Grijalva (AZ-3rd), and Castor (FL-14th)

This means we still have a chance to stop these harmful and unpopular plans from becoming law and we urgently need your help to do so. Thank you to everyone who has called their legislators. Hill staff tell us the bill’s supporters are feeling the heat and need us to keep up the pressure.

While neither bill directly cuts Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, or other programs people with disabilities rely upon, they dramatically cut the revenue necessary to fund the programs people with disabilities rely on to live and work in the community. And many Members of Congress have recently said that cutting Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security IS precisely the plan once they pass the tax cuts.

TAKE ACTION

We’re hearing that a vote on the final tax bill is not going to happen this week. This delay provides us more time to protest this bill and shows that our efforts so far have been effective. Please join people with disabilities, our families, and advocates around the country TODAY for a national call-in day to tell our Representatives and Senators to oppose the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. We’re told that call volume on Capitol Hill has been high – keep it up!

Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121. This may be the most important vote of the year with the most far-reaching impacts for every individual and every family in the country.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is very close to reaching President Trump’s desk and becoming law. Every Representative and Senator needs to hear about your opposition to this bill!

WHAT TO SAY:

    • I am a member of the Autism Society 
    • Please vote NO on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
    • This tax plan will significantly reduce federal revenue and will create pressure to cut Medicaid and other programs that are critical for people with disabilities.
    • We cannot afford these tax cuts that disproportionately benefits the wealthiest Americans and large corporations.

The Senate tax bill is extremely dangerous to the well-being of people with disabilities.

  • Tax cuts open the door for cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, Supplemental Security Income, and other services that benefit people with disabilities. While neither the House nor Senate tax bill includes direct cuts to these services, cuts are expected to follow to offset the $1.5 trillion added to the deficit due to providing large tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. Medicaid and other disability services were the target of intense cuts over the summer through the various Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal bills proposed in the House and Senate. There is no doubt that these same services remain on the chopping block to help pay for the proposed tax cuts.
  • The Senate bill eliminates the Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual mandate. The individual mandate helps make health insurance affordable. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that 13 million people would lose access to affordable coverage by 2027 if the individual mandate were eliminated. Furthermore, insurance premiums would rise by 10%, which amounts to an increase of hundreds of dollars per year for nearly 7 million middle-income Americans and by over $1,000 per year for seniors, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).
  • The Senate bill benefits the wealthiest Americans while the poorest would be worse off. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report which found that Americans earning less than $100,000 a year would, ultimately, not benefit from the proposed tax cuts. According to a Washington Post analysis of the CBO report, “By 2019, Americans earning less than $30,000 a year would be worse off under the Senate bill, CBO found. By 2021, Americans earning $40,000 or less would be net losers, and by 2027, most people earning less than $75,000 a year would be worse off. On the flip side, millionaires and those earning $100,000 to $500,000 would be big beneficiaries, according to the CBO’s calculations.”

The House bill is also damaging as it proposes to eliminate several tax deductions and credits that benefit people with disabilities. These include:

  • The Medical Expense Deduction: This tax deduction allows people to deduct large, unreimbursed medical and dental expenses that exceed 10% of their income. Approximately 8.8 million people utilize this deduction, 70% of which have an income at $70,000 or lower. Most filings are around $10,000 by people with high healthcare costs, which largely includes people with disabilities, chronic health conditions, and other medical conditions. People are allowed to deduct expenses for a variety of expenses including treatments, surgeries, medications, and medical travel.
  • The Disabled Access Credit and Barrier Removal Tax Deduction: Businesses that accommodate people with disabilities may qualify for tax credits and deductions including the Disabled Access Credit and the Barrier Removal Tax Deduction. This credit and deduction incentivizes small businesses to make their businesses accessible for disabled people. Small businesses can claim a 50% credit per year for expenditures between $250 and $10,250 that increase access and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • The Work Opportunity Tax Credit: This federal tax credit is available to employers for hiring individuals from certain target groups (including disabled people who receive services from Vocational Rehabilitation, SSI recipients, returning citizens, veterans, and long-term unemployment compensation recipients) who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment. The current tax credit for hiring a person with a disability can be as high as $2,400 for a business.

The final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act could contain any of these harmful provisions from the Senate and House bills.


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Autism Society
4340 East West Hwy Ste 350
Bethesda, MD 20814
United States

 

December News

 Read the entire December newsletter here

Are you getting our newsletter? It comes out twice a month! Don’t miss out on what’s going on! You can subscribe here.

Announcement Regarding AST Executive Director
Letter from Suzanne Potts, Executive Director

With much sadness I am announcing my departure from the Autism Society of Texas as Executive Director effective December 15, 2017. While I have been so honored to serve as the first Executive Director for this incredible organization, I have been offered an opportunity for growth with another organization and cannot at this time turn it down.

I am extremely proud of the work we have done over the past four years, growing our organization of two part time staff to now three full time, one part time and two contract employees. We have seen our budget, office, and service area grow exponentially during my tenure, and I’m so proud of our collective efforts. We have a wonderful board who volunteer countless hours to keep us mission focused and strategically moving in the right direction. We have countless volunteers who engage with our mission, and our grassroots efforts would not thrive without their support.

I will work with our board and staff to seek my replacement and ensure a seamless transition of leadership. I have absolute confidence in our board, staff and supporters that we will continue to improve the lives of all Texans living with autism under new leadership.

I am beyond grateful for you all and know that this is not a goodbye, rather a transition for me as ED to another strong autism advocate in your fold. I’m not going far and plan to re-engage as a steadfast volunteer as you see fit for me to participate. Thank you for taking a risk on me four years ago and letting me learn, lead and love our autism community here in Texas.

With tremendous gratitude,
Suzanne Potts

A Letter from Kathy Palomo, President, AST Board of Directors 

It is with mixed sadness and gratitude that I say bon voyage to Suzanne Potts, the first paid Executive Director of our local autism society who grew our small organization into the Autism Society of Texas. We would not be where we are today without her tireless commitment, advocacy and leadership. She fearlessly took on a new robust strategic plan and embraced innovative ideas, increasing our credibility and visibility across the state.  Suzanne’s heartfelt passion supported the AST mission of improving the lives of all affected by autism across all spheres. We know that her legacy of achievement will be the stepping stone for our next leader who will continue to shape AST’s future vision.

The Autism Society of Texas is immediately commencing a statewide search for a new Executive Director as part of our transition plan. Our board and staff will work with Suzanne to build a seamless transition of duties over the next few weeks. We hope that you will assist us and forward this job opportunity to your networks. Please view the job description below and link to apply, if you are interested. AST will continue all programs, support groups, and activities.

Sincerely,
Kathy Palomo
Board President

A Message from the AST Board of Directors

We are sad to announce the departure of our Executive Director, Suzanne Potts effective December 15, 2017. She has accepted a new position within another organization and would like to spend more time with her family. She has been a valued part of our team, and has led this organization over the past four years with tenacity, strong leadership skills and compassion for our autism community. She will be greatly missed, however we know she will become an even louder voice in our autism advocacy efforts. We wish Suzanne the very best in the next chapter of her life.

Executive Director, Autism Society of Texas, job description:

AST Executive Director 2017 Job Description

Update 1/4/18:  We are no longer accepting resumes for this position. Thank you.

Advocacy Alert! National Call-In Day: No Tax on Disability!

Please join the Autism Society of America and advocates across the country on Wednesday, November 29th for National Call-In Day: No Tax on Disability!

Photo images from Center for Public Representation.

Call our Texas U.S. Senators today and urge them to please vote NO on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

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

Background
On November 17, the House of Representatives passed its version of a tax bill.  The Senate Budget Committee passed their version today. A final vote in the Senate is expected Thursday.  Both bills are extremely harmful to people with disabilities. A conference committee may have to work out the differences between the bills, meaning that provisions in either bill could end up in a final tax bill.  Both bills are harmful because they:

  • Increase the deficit significantly to provide tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the wealthiest Americans and corporations.
  • Lead to cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, Supplemental Security Income, and other critical programs for people with disabilities in order to reduce the deficits and debts incurred by tax cuts.

While the House tax bill does not directly cut Medicaid, the actions it takes will have the same or even worse effect on Medicaid and other services and supports for people with disabilities. The House bill that has many provisions that harm people with disabilities and their families by eliminating the following tax deductions and credits:

  • Deduction for high medical expenses, which is critical to many people with disabilities and their families
  • A $2,400 tax credit businesses can get when hiring someone with a disability
  • A $5,000 tax credit for businesses that make their businesses accessible to people with disabilities (Architectural Barriers credit)
  • Reduces incentive to contribute to non-profit agencies that often provide support for people with disabilities and their families (charitable giving)

The Senate bill is even worse. It includes a provision to repeal the individual mandate to obtain health insurance. The individual mandate is a central part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which greatly benefits people with disabilities by eliminating pre-existing condition exclusions, banning annual and lifetime limits, prohibiting discrimination based on health status, and much more. Repealing the individual mandate will:

  • Result in almost 14 million people losing health care coverage (according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)).
  • Increase health insurance premiums for those purchasing coverage on the exchange by at least 10% for the unforeseeable future (also according CBO)·
  • The CBO analysis also says the repeal of the individual mandate will save approximately $330 billion (because of the large number that will not be insured) over ten years.  This money will be used to pay for a making the corporate tax cuts permanent and to cut to the tax rate for corporations and individuals on the upper income scale.
  • According to the Tax Policy Center, the Senate plan shows that 87 million households earning less than $200,000 will get a tax increase under the plan

We have a VERY short timeline to stop this very harmful and unpopular legislation.

TAKE ACTION

  • Contact your Senators NOW. We only have days to defeat this! Autism Society is co-sponsoring a national call in day on Wednesday, Nov. 29. Call your Senators.  Use the Capitol Switchboard number202-224-3121 and ask for your Senators.
  • Participate in a Tax Plan Protest Event.

WHAT TO SAY

  • I am your constituent and a member of the Autism Society.
  • Please vote NO on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
  • This tax bill will hurt people with disabilities and their families.
  • Do not repeal the ACA individual mandate.  This will further destabilize our health care system, raise premiums, and could lead to my family losing their health insurance.
  • We cannot afford these tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the wealthiest Americans and large corporations.
  • Tax reform should not be rushed.  People should have time to understand the bill and how they will be affected.
  • This bill will lead to fewer jobs for people with disabilities.
November Mid-Month News

Read all about our November “Volunteers of the Month” who helped families affected by Hurricane Harvey. Read this & more  in our November Mid-Month Updates here.

Pass Kevin & Avonte’s Law, S. 2070

Texas Families! Please help us by calling Senator Ted Cruz and Senator John Cornyn today (Wednesday 11/15) or tomorrow morning at 11/16. If you cannot call, please send an email. Ask Senator Cornyn & Senator Cruz to support Kevin & Avonte’s Law, S.2070. Contact information is below! Thank you!


Call our Texas U.S. Senators today and urge them to support Kevin & Avonte’s Law, S.2070.

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

November News

Read all about AutFest Texas, the free surf therapy event with “A Walk on Water”, a recap of our San Antonio Walk in the Park, and more! So much happening this month!

Read the newsletter here.

 

Autism Film Festival local radio coverage

We were excited to go on air last week with B-DOE with KLBJ to talk about our upcoming AutFestTX Film Festival on November 12! Here’s his blog post about the event and you can listen in to our chat with Jennifer Miller, parent and advocate, and Suzanne Potts, parent and Executive Director of the Autism Society of Texas.

Blog post:

http://www.klbjfm.com/blogs/b-does-blog/2nd-annual-autfest-alamo-draft-house-s-lamar  

We were also excited to go on-air with Heather White, from local radio morning show Bama, Rob and Heather with KVET Radio. Heather serves as a board member with the Autism Society of Texas, is an autism parent and long time autism advocate.  Our PSA about the Autism Film Festival will air again on Nov 5 at 7am on 96.7 KISS FM, 102.3 The Beat, and KASE 101. It will also air at 10:30pm on AM1300 the Zone and 98.1 KVET radio!

If you miss it on air, you can listen in here: