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September 2022 News
Our September 2022 newsletter is out! Read about what’s happening at AST! 
Newsletter Highlights!
• AutFest Texas Film Festival & Music Knows No Boundaries are this Oct! Get your tickets now 🎫
• Our Hunter Hinze Fund Application closes Sept 15th
2 Free Virtual Education Events Happening This September!

Autism Society of Texas is offering 2 free educational events this month on Facebook Live, and you won’t want to miss them!

Join us on September 14th at noon CST on Facebook Live with presenters from Integral Care for our Seminars Across The Spectrum Presentation, “Safety & Education: Interacting With First Responders”. We will give tips and suggestions for what to expect in an emergency situation and how to respond and interact when social, behavioral, and/or communication challenges may impact the situation.

View the presentation slideshow here. 

Accessing Crisis Services PDF  | CIS First Responder Form | Example Crisis Packet Face Sheet


Then join us on September 22nd at 7:00 PM CST on Facebook Live for our AUTonomy Discussion, “Healthy Relationships”, which will be an open discussion about building healthy relationships with guests panelists from SAFE Austin, self-advocates from the community and other professionals who specialize in setting healthy boundaries and creating safe ways to engage with others to build meaningful connections. This event is for teens and young adults, as well as parents or caregivers.

Connections Created: AST August Recap!

We opened our Hunter Hinze Fund scholarship program to provide funding for Autistic adults to meet their needs for "I wanted to say thanks to the whole group for welcoming me and making me feel validated." spoken by a support group attendee. autonomy and independence, we hosted our Evolution Support Group to guide parents and caregivers of middle and high schoolers. We also taught Autistic young adults and teens, who learned about Financial Literacy during our AUTonomy presentation, and we hosted our last two Autism-Friendly COVID-19 Vaccine clinics, one in Austin and one in Dallas! A few families discovered the outdoors at Big Thicket National Preserve in East Texas and in Austin we held our annual Texas Rowing For All camp week, which was a big success!

We hope you’ll make your own connections by attending an event or group! One group attendee said after attending our Statewide Parent/Caregiver Support Group, ” I wanted to say thanks to the whole group […] for welcoming me and making me feel validated.”  



AutFest 2022 Films Announced!

Our 5th Annual Film FestivalAutFest Texas, is back on October 23rd in Austin, Texas (or virtually starting October 24th) and we are so excited to announce our 2022 Films, which feature a diverse array of perspectives, experiences, interests, ages, abilities, challenges and triumphs of people living with Autism.

2022 Short Films: 299.00 • The Academy of Extraordinary Heroes • Backyard Camping • Fierce Love & Art • The Home Office
Lionfish: Menace to the Atlantic Basin • Moving Into Adulthood

2022 Short Film Selection Posters - 299.00 • The Academy of Extraordinary Heroes Backyard Camping • Fierce Love & Art • The Home Office Lionfish: Menace to the Atlantic Basin • Moving Into Adulthood

2022 Feature Film: Beyond (In-Person Event Only) “Beyond” follows Tamara Mark, a once rising Broadway star and full-time single mother of two nonverbal Autistic adults, fighting for their dream to build a community for Autistic adults to live better and safer.

2022 Feature Poster - Beyond (shows 4 images of an early 20's man with his mother)

Get your tickets now with code EARLYBIRD for 20% off! 


Thank you to our 2022 AutFest Sponsors! 

Leading Role: ASPIRE ABA Therapy & Counseling • The Hart Family • Tier 3 Montessori • PHRMA
Supporting Role: Texas Cannabis Clinic • Kyo Autism Therapy • Autism Learning Partners • Cultivate Behavioral Health & Education
Ongoing Support: 
Spark Learning • Greater Goods Coffee Roasters

AST Seeks Development Director!

Development Director Job Description

OVERVIEW:

The Autism Society of Texas (AST) is the state affiliate of the Autism Society of America, which is a non-profit (501c3) organization that works to improve the lives of individuals with Autism by providing education, information, support, and advocacy for people with Autism, their families, educators, professionals, and the community-at-large. The Autism Society of Texas is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

Mission: We create connections, empowering everyone in the Autism community with the resources needed to live fully. 

The Autism Society of Texas’ Development Director position is approximately 30 hours/week and offers opportunities to engage with the community, its leaders, and potential new supporters in an effort to raise funds in order to support the mission of the Autism Society of Texas.

AST is seeking a professional with a strong background in fundraising, grant writing, and cultivating individual and corporate donations and partnerships, as well as excellent donor stewardship skills. This is a newly created position which will require approximately 30 hours per week. The Development Director is responsible for planning, organizing, and directing all of Autism Society of Texas’ fundraising initiatives including major gifts, planned giving, special appeals, fundraising components of events, and any revenue generating initiatives and programs. The Director works closely with AST Staff and Board of Directors in all development and fundraising endeavors.  

POSITION SUMMARY:

The Development Director reports directly to the Executive Director. The Director is responsible for knowing the vision and mission of the organization, as well as helping to develop and adhere to the strategic plan. The Development Director will design annual development plans based on the direction of the organization. Some evening and weekend hours are required, as well as occasional travel for fundraisers, events, or conferences. We have a positive work environment and offer a flexible schedule with the option to work remotely for some of the time. At the time of this posting, we are working mostly remotely due to COVID-19, but will resume a mix of remote and office hours in the near future.

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Must embrace the mission of the Autism Society of Texas.
  • Strong interpersonal and writing skills.
  • Have knowledge and experience in fundraising techniques, particularly major gift fundraising.
  • Proven experience in grant writing.
  • Possess the skills to work with and motivate staff, board members and other volunteers.
  • Talent and drive for building external relationships.
  • Be a “self-starter” and goal driven to initiate donor visits and fundraising calls.
  • Be organized and exhibit “follow through” on tasks and goals.
  • Display a positive attitude, show concern for people and community, demonstrate presence, self-confidence, common sense and good listening ability.
  • A bachelor’s degree.
  • Minimum of 5+ years experience in professional fundraising.
  • Demonstrated experience with Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook. 
  • Donor database management experience required.

JOB RESPONSIBILITIES:

  1. Meet prospective donors and supporters on a continual basis to establish effective communications with them.
  2. Grow a major gifts program including identification, cultivation and solicitation of major donors.
  3. Oversee grant seeking including research, proposal writing, and reporting requirements.
  4. Build the planned giving program with a focus on deferred gifts such as bequest expectancies.
  5. Direct the annual fund program, including mailings and annual fundraising drives.
  6. Direct all major fundraising endeavors.
  7. Coordinate fundraising special events in conjunction with AST staff.
  8. Oversee prospect research.
  9. Work closely with the Executive Director and Board of Directors.
  10. Make public appearances/accept speaking engagements to share information about the Autism Society of Texas when needed.
  11. Attend and coordinate Board Development Committee meetings.
  12. Oversee fundraising database and tracking systems.
  13. Supervise and collaborate with fundraising volunteers and any contracted staff.
  14. Provide content for the creation of publications to support fundraising activities.
  15. Maintain gift recognition programs.
  16. Demonstrate professional conduct at all times.
  17. Occasional travel for events or conferences.
  18. Perform other related duties as requested.

SALARY:

Range: $23-31/hour. This is a salaried position.

Salary dependent on experience level and agreed upon part time hours. 

Mileage reimbursed at state rate.

TO APPLY:
Please send resume and cover letter to office@texasautismsociety.org or apply via Indeed.com.

Connections Created: AST July Recap!

In July we had a focus on Employment with our Autism Employment Empowerment Day on July 23rd, sponsored by Amerigroup! Participants heard from HEB, Dell, Peak Performers, ACC, Greenleaf, and other organizations on how they can help Autistic adults meet their employment needs. AST staff were also busy helping spread education and training about what it means to be Autism Friendly. Through our Autism Friendly Partnership program, we were able to assist in making a 4th of July event sensory friendly and assist a national retail chain with a back to school campaign! Anastasia Sharp-Keller from Galliant Care provided a first responder training on behalf of Autism Society of Texas to the Childress Police Station! We look forward to more ways where we can engage the broader community.

Photo from first responder training. We had our Autism-friendly COVID-19 vaccine clinics in Austin and Dallas, and some great connections were made at our parent/caregiver groups around the state! We wrapped up the month with a fun night at the Round Rock Express baseball game, where Jason, 22 years old, and a huge baseball fan, got to throw out the first pitch! Our Navigating Autism team continues to support Autistic adults as well as families of children with Autism through personalized guidance and support. We received this feedback from one adult who believes she may have Autism and requested information on how to get a diagnosis. 

Thank you so much for all of the resources. It saves a lot of time and energy (and heartache) for me so I really appreciate it.”



Connection Created: June Recap!

In June, we continued with our Autism-friendly COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics!
We held our second clinic in San Antonio, and our first clinics in Austin and Houston! We kicked off June with our AUTonomy Series geared to Autistic adults and teens who learned about “Independence Through Healthy Habits”. Understanding how to better meet your own health and self-care needs goes a long way to successful independence! We had an amazing month with support from our community partners! Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods, thanks to the suggestion of an Autistic Manager at Spec’s, selected us as their charity of the month in May! In June we were presented with $75,000! The day before we were invited to the annual Slaughter Invest Charity Golf Tournament, and we were one of four charities to receive $15,000! We are so grateful to these organizations for recognizing and supporting our work for children and adults with Autism statewide. It was phenomenal for us to receive these generous gifts that fund our work to create connections, so everyone in the community can live fully. Finally, our Autistic adult recreation group discussed “Advocating for Ourselves and Others” and talked about the importance of self-advocacy, and wider advocacy efforts such as the Civil Rights Movement and why voting is important! Our Navigating Autism team continued to provide outstanding personalized support around the state!

Quote: Since talking to you, I feel so much better… It’s like the dark cloud that was hovering over me has been lifted. Once again, thank you so much.



Preparing for 4th of July

Watch this July 2019 story with 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: Plan for Success!

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 or calm place to go to, it will make your loved one feel less anxious about trying the activity so they can enjoy the fun along with everyone else!

Here are a few events around Texas you could try!

Dallas – Sensory Sensitive 4th of July Celebration

July 3, 2022 : 6pm-10pm

Join The Sound at Cypress Waters on July 3rd from 6 – 10 PM for a laser light show, Windy City concert, picnics, Creature Teacher, Hollywood Feed cooling station, face painting, and more at Sensory Sensitive 4th of July Celebration at The Sound! The Sound will be replacing fireworks with a very patriotic laser light show to celebrate our nation’s independence. The Autism Society of Texas has helped them to prepare to make the event sensory-friendly and helped to train restaurant staff to be Autism friendly! This event has been created to keep individuals with sensory sensitivities in mind!

San Antonio – Beyond Limits: Sensory Friendly 4th of July

July 3, 2022 : 6pm-8pm

The July 4th Beyond Limits will be bursting with sensory-friendly activities and performances! Kids can paint their own firework display and experience a magic trick inside their favorite DoSeum exhibit from a traveling magician. Community partners will also provide resources and information for your family.

Austin – Sensory Friendly 4th of July Benefitting Autism Society of Texas

July 4, 2022 : 3pm-6pm

Beat the heat this 4th of July with sensory friendly bowling at High 5 in Lakeway, in support of Autism Society of Texas. House lights will be turned up, flashing lights will be reduced, and music will be turned down to better support children and adults with sensory sensitivities. All bowling proceeds will be donated to the Autism Society of Texas!

Houston – Freedom Over Texas

July 4, 2022 : 4pm-10pm

Try the annual Freedom Over Texas 4th of July Celebration using our tips above! Preparation is key, so plan ahead for maximum fun for everyone!