News


Bike Camp Volunteers Needed!

The Autism Society of Texas has partnered with Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas for a Bike Camp!  We need a huge number of volunteers! 
What do you need Volunteers to do?
Volunteers will be paired up and work with one rider, jogging alongside them during their 75 minute session helping the rider keep balance and grow confidence in their skills.
Who Can Volunteer?
Anyone 16 years or older and physically able to walk/jog/run alongside riders for 75 minutes with short breaks.
 
When?
Monday, July 31- Friday, August 4, 2017, 5 different time slots available
Ideally, volunteers commit to the same time slots for all 5 days of camp but we will also accept those who can do just individual shifts.
 
Where?
Dripping Springs Ranch Park
1042 Event Center Dr.
Dripping Springs, TX 78620
We know this may be a bit of a drive for some folks but we promise the joy you will get from this volunteer experience will make up for the few extra minutes in the car.
 
Where do I sign up? 
Summer Tips!

Summer Tips!

  1. Create a schedule for each day just like your son or daughter has at school, to help them know what to expect. For pre-readers, pictures are best. There are a variety of schedule apps available for the iPad, Kindle Fire, and phones. Many of them can incorporate photos, or provide the “First/Then” option for encouraging your child to tackle a tough activity, knowing that a preferred activity is coming. You can also go old school and use a plain paper schedule or calendar.
  2. Have a backpack with you always that has favored food, a change of clothes, and comfort objects. Don’t forget a spare cable to recharge electronics, ear protection, bug spray and sunscreen.
  3. Even fun things like a trip to the zoo can be stressful. Use photos and Social Stories to help prepare for outings.    If you have never written a Social Story, you can learn about them at carolgraysocialstories.com.   The website describes Social Stories as “A social learning tool that supports the safe and meaningful exchange of information between parents, professionals, and people with autism of all ages.”  We use them to explain what’s coming, to reduce anxiety.
  4. Money to pay for activities can be a problem, especially if you don’t know that you will be able to stay for more than 10 minutes.  Check out the list of free days available at local museums and attractions. Also check out local libraries- many now have a special needs story time.
  5. Remember to take things slow and follow your child’s lead.  Have a plan “B” and try not to be upset if you have to leave quickly.  Watch your child for signs that things are going sideways and leave before behavior escalates out of control.  Don’t force a child to stay past their comfort level or you may end up dealing with a meltdown, which is no one’s ideas of a good time.
  6. Many people are drawn to water. Summer is a good time to teach swimming and water safety. If your child is not experiencing success in a regular swim class, talk to the instructor about options. Some clubs and many YMCAs offer adaptive swim lessons.
  7. Doing things for the first time can provoke fear and anxiety. Plan for some new things, but also have familiar favorite activities sprinkled through the schedule.
  8. Look for strengths and interests, and nurture them.
  9. Check for what is offered at your local public library and school rec program. Offer to attend with your child or send a therapist along if they will need a higher level of support than the program provides.  Don’t drop your child off without letting the organizers know your child has a disability and what types of support they will need.
  10. Don’t forget to check out the Autism Society’s calendar for lots of great events, special needs hours, and activities!

Thanks to the Autism Society Milwaukee Chapter for these great suggestions!

Meet Mighteor:
After 7 years in development at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, the team at Neuromotion Labs is excited to introduce Mighteor – a Bioresponsive Gaming platform using the power of video games to help kids 6-14 having a tough time with self-regulation and controlling their emotions. In clinical trials, Mighteor has helped reduce children’s outbursts by 62% and reduce parent stress by 19% and of the families that have completed the 12 week Foundation Program, 90% report positive behavior change.
Migtheor have just opened access to the public and is offering $20 off to friends of the Texas Autism Society by using the code “ASOT20” at checkout. For more information, visit the Mighteor website.
June News

The June newsletter is packed full of information! We’re starting a new group for girls with autism, and a run club for individuals with autism and their families! We also have an Access-Austin interest meeting this month (adult vocational program), and our First Responder Morning on June 11th which is a free event for kids and adults on the spectrum!

READ all about what’s happening in June here.

SUBSCRIBE to our newsletter here.

Press Release: Announcing Autism Friendly Businesses

     FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: AUTISM SOCIETY of Texas

                                                                                    Suzanne Potts

                                                                                                512-479-4199

                                                                                                Suzanne@texasautismsociety.org

                     Announcing Autism Friendly Businesses

Texas- May 25, 2017: Autism Friendly Business (AFB) is a new program that was developed by the Autism Society of Texas in order to encourage and celebrate community inclusion.  This recognition allows all affected by autism to know safe spaces in the community.  AFBs are recognized based on their work to include individuals with autism through sensory friendly events, receiving training from the Autism Society of Texas, has hired an individual with autism or much more.  The Autism Society of Texas is grateful to all the businesses that have already taken these steps and are proud to share their information statewide.  For the first round of applicants, the Autism Society of Texas is pleased to announce the following businesses as autism friendly:

  • Ride Austin
  • CrossFit City Limits
  • Bloom Consulting
  • First Leap
  • Williams Community School
  • The Doseum
  • Precision Car Wash
  • DartBowl
  • AMC Barton Creek Square
  • Project Genius

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 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:  www.texasautismsociety.org.

DownloadPressRelease_Autism Friendly Businesses.

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Run Club Starting Soon!

We are very excited to start our own Run Club, thanks to William Greer, avid marathoner from Coalition of Texans with Disabilities! We hope to start in the middle or end of June and hold Run Club at Austin High School. We welcome parents and caregivers, as well as siblings, to join the club and run with us! We will start off with very short distances, but hope to have some of our runners work up to running a 5K or greater!  No previous running experience is necessary, and all fitness levels are welcome!  The group is for all ages, but probably best suited for adults, tweens and teens due to the distances and stamina we hope to work up to, however, if you have an elementary aged child that loves to run and could participate, please feel free to join!

We will begin next Tuesday 6/13/17 at Austin High School track, from 6:30-7:30 pm, and continue every Tuesday & Thursday. Austin High is located at 1715 Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78703.

We need volunteers to run with the group!  If you’d like to volunteer please give us your contact information here so we can email you with details.  You do not need to have a child or adult with autism in the program to volunteer!  We need a few runners to stay with the group and assist William in encouraging runners, keeping the group together, etc.

Individuals with autism should register here.  For those under 18, a parent or caregiver must stay on site at the track during run club.  Parents/caregivers can choose to observe or participate!

There is no charge to participate. Please email Caroline with questions at Caroline@texasautismsociety.org.

Help Save Medicaid! Call our U.S. Senators!

Call our Texas U.S. Senators Now! 

The recently passed American Health Care Act (AHCA) places valuable resources for people with disabilities in serious jeopardy. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO),  the AHCA:

  • Creates overwhelming reductions to Medicaid, slashing funding for programs people rely on to meet basic needs by an estimated $834 billion over the next decade

  • Yanks 23 million current enrollees from insurance plans by 2026 due to higher premiums and a fundamental restructuring of the Medicaid program to block grants and per capita caps

  • Shifts primary funding to states and forces officials to make difficult decisions regarding worthiness of care among multiple vulnerable populations

  • Makes essential health benefits such as rehabilitation services optional

  • Increases insurance coverage rates for people with pre-existing conditions, including those with disabilities, resulting in loss of care for families who simply can not afford high premiums

Medicaid is the primary lifeline that millions of Americans depend on to care for their loved one with a disability. The impact of any reduction in benefits could be truly devastating for many families, possibly even yours. WE can’t let that happen!

Call our Texas U.S. senators today and urge them to Save Medicaid.

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

Here is what you can say:

  • Do NOT allow cuts to Medicaid. Caps and block grants would destroy the program in which people with disabilities and seniors rely on for critical health care and community services.  

  • Do NOT allow states to opt-out of requiring health plans to cover basic health care and keep it affordable for people with pre-existing conditions, including people with disabilities.

  • OPPOSE any bill that cuts health care, employment or long-term community living services for people with disabilities

What Else Can You Do?

Don’t forget this week is crucial because Congress is still on recess. Time is of essence to arrange a visit in the district office, organize a town hall meeting, attend an event, or create a listening tour. Senate leadership is convening several work groups to draft improvements to the House-approved version of the AHCA. We must take action now!  Access to health care benefits is an issue that affects us all. Call your senators today and urge them to Save Medicaid!

The next steps will be critical for disability advocates. Elected officials and policymakers continue to overlook the real world impact of cuts to Medicaid. That’s why we need you to raise your voice and share why families such as yours need to be heard on this crucial issue. Talk about what cuts to Medicaid mean for you and your loved ones. 

Together we can stand up for families and ensure each and every person can access care.

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Autism Society
4340 East-West Hwy, Suite 350, Bethesda, Maryland 20814
301.657.0881 or 1.800.3AUTISM

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May News

      

 

To read about what’s going on in May click below:

May Newsletter

May Mid-Month Updates

Subscribe to our newsletter here.

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 Caroline@austinautismsociety.org