News


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January 2021 News
Please note! The Texas ABLE presentation on 1/7/21 was canceled and is being rescheduled. Read the complete January newsletter here  – upcoming events include our Policy Symposium on 1/14, new Spanish support group, Houston Parent/Caregiver group, and read about our new regional online groups-find support wherever you are! Subscribe to our newsletter here.
2020 Year-In-Review

2020 was an unusual year, but at the Autism Society of Texas we were able to grow programs and add staff, reaching more people impacted by autism statewide.

Read the full year-end review here.

December News

Read our December newsletter here to learn what’s happening!

Subscribe here!

Semi-Finalists: 2020 Season of Giving Art & Photography Contest!
Please view artwork & vote for our semi-finalists for the 2020 Season of Giving Art & Photography Contest!
You can bid to win these fantastic pieces now in our Season of Giving silent auction here: https://www.32auctions.com/SeasonOfGiving2020
Congratulations to all of our talented semi-finalists, listed below along with their entry:
•“Violet Girl” by Renie Jessop
•“Magnolia” by Laura Lincoln
•“Play With Me” by Kali Parsons
•“La Croix” by Jessica Pyrdsa
•“Highway 1, Big Sur” by Tracie Villalpando
All of our artists have a connection to autism! We’ll be sharing a little more info on our artists throughout the month of November on social media, leading up to Season of Giving, but it’s your turn to decide who is our first place winner!
Now through November 27th, you can vote for your favorite piece by visiting http://bit.ly/ASTArtContest.
The artist with the most votes will win a gift card for supplies so they can create their next masterpiece!
Also, please join us December 3rd on Facebook Live for our virtual Season of Giving Launch Party Celebration with jazz singer, Tianna Hall!
November News

Check out what’s happening in November! So much!!! Free Advocacy Training Series, Putt Fore Autism, Phil’s Ice House/Amy’s Ice Cream night, new Houston Support Group, Austin Marathon, Art & Photo Contest, & Season of Giving Launch Party!

Read the November newsletter here.      Subscribe here.

October News

Check out what’s happening this month! It’s not too late to sign up for the Virtual Texas Autism Bike Ride & Fun Run happening 10/25! We also have free advocacy training series throughout November!

Read the October newsletter here.

Subscribe here.

Bring back protections against discrimination in the Social Work Code of Conduct!

TAKE ACTION BY TUESDAY 10/27/20!

Bring back protections against discrimination in the Social Work Code of Conduct!

On October 12, 2020 at a joint meeting, the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners and the Behavioral Health Executive Council accepted suggested language from Governor Abbott to remove protections against discrimination for those with disabilities (including autism), as well as removing protections against sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression from the Social Work Code of Conduct. Removing these protections implies that it is acceptable to treat people differently because they have a disability or for who they love, and that is wrong. Take action now to tell Texas decision-makers that they must keep protections against discrimination in the Social Work Code of Conduct!

Please take a few minutes to sign the petition, and/or call or email the organizations listed below. Let them know this discrimination is not acceptable!

You can help by taking a stand against this instance of homophobia and ableism:

•Sign a petition: Texas Social Workers Petition Opposing Changes to the Code of Conduct:  https://www.change.org/p/texas-governor-oppose-changes-to-the-code-of-conduct-for-social-workers-in-texas

•Contact Your Representatives: https://wrm.capitol.texas.gov/home

•Let the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council know that you oppose these changes: (512) 305-7700 or 1-800-821-3205 or email general@bhec.texas.gov 

Let them know you are angry or disappointed by the removal of protections for disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in the Social Work Code of Conduct. Read our full statement below.

Regarding the Removal of Protections from Discrimination from the Social Work Code of Conduct

The Autism Society of Texas (AST) is disappointed and saddened by the unexpected removal of nondiscriminatory language from the Social Work Code of Conduct at the October 12, 2020 joint meeting of the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners and the Behavioral Health Executive Council.

While we do not believe any social worker would choose to deny services to a person with a disability, having an explicit code of conduct helps guide and manage expectations for the industry and for those who rely on their help and guidance. We also believe that discrimination in any form is offensive and recognize that systemic homophobia and ableism is the exact reason that this Code of Conduct was created.  

For those with autism, and those with disabilities in general, we rely on social workers to help navigate the overly complex federal and state systems of supports and services, we rely on them for mental health care, and we rely on them in crisis. We deserve to know that we can expect social workers to treat us fairly and equitably, regardless of who we are or who we love. There is a lot of trust that must develop in these relationships and the removal of this part of the Code of Conduct weakens that inherent trust.

The fact that social workers have adopted an inclusive code of conduct should be praised. This short statement is simply about fairness and equity: “a social worker shall not refuse to perform any act or service for which the person is licensed solely on the basis of a client’s age; gender; race; color; religion; national origin; disability; sexual orientation; gender identity and expression; or political affiliation.” 

Selectively removing disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression from this inclusive statement is wrong and unnecessary. Removing the expectations to treat everyone fairly absolutely implies that it is acceptable to discriminate against people with disabilities at a time when COVID-19 amplifies isolation and stress, and when there is widespread and devastating unemployment for people with disabilities. The disability community needs trusted expertise and guidance on how to access services and supports that are now so crucial.

We are also very concerned that this unexpected deletion appears to have circumvented public posting requirements and the Open Meetings Act. This law exists for exactly these instances when an arbitrary and capricious decision by a few affects so many. If not illegal, then this decision was certainly improper given the significant ramifications to our community.

Social workers are the foundation of the social support network and often the first person a family or an individual with a disability comes into contact with when seeking help. AST calls on the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners and the Behavioral Health Executive Council to reverse the decision to remove these protections and leave the Code of Conduct as it stands in the future to ensure the continued safety and well-being of any person who asks a social worker for help. 

Support our work with a donation! Thank you!

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advocacy@texasautismsociety.org  |  (512) 479-4199, Ext. 10

Now accepting submissions for the Season of Giving Art Contest!

Art & Photo contest deadline extended to Thursday, 11/4 at midnight!

The 2020 Season of Giving Photo and Art Contest, benefiting Autism Society of Texas, is open to autistic photographers and artists, as well as those with a connection to autism. The entries will be displayed online and auctioned in our Season of Giving silent auction ending on December 4, 2020. Be aware we will not be able to take all submissions.

Please read the guidelines thoroughly and fill out this form to submit your artwork. The deadline has been extended to 11/4 at midnight, please ignore old deadline! 

What are we looking for?
All 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

Photography:
We are looking for original, striking images by autistic artists, or their friends and family, that will be donated to Autism Society of Texas to be in an online silent auction ending on December 4th to kick off Season of Giving. These images may reflect a range of topics and subjects. We encourage entries from all regions, in both rural and urban settings of Texas. Each photo submission must be accompanied by a brief description, as well as the name of the person who took the photo and their connection to autism. These photos will be part of the online Season of Giving silent auction.

Art:
We are looking for original artwork that will be donated to the Autism Society of Texas, and auctioned in the Season of Giving silent auction. Each artwork submission must be accompanied by a brief description, including dimensions of the artwork, (and frame dimensions if included in the donation), as well as the name of the artist and their connection to autism.

By request, we will provide a tax letter for in-kind art and photography donations which are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

DEADLINE:
All entries must be submitted digitally by 11:59pm US CST, Sunday, November 1st 2020. Up to 2 photographs and 2 pieces of art my submitted per person. While we will feature a large number of art & photography entries in our online Season of Giving silent auction, we will select just 6 finalists for the art contest.

JUDGING:
Entries will be judged on originality, composition, overall impact, and artistic merit. The story behind the piece may influence the judges’ decisions. Decisions made by the judges are final, we will not be able to take all submissions. The 1st round of judging to choose the top 6 entries for the Photo and Art Contest will take place that week after the deadline and semi-finalists will be notified on or before Friday, November 6th. We will make arrangements to get artwork at that time.

Public voting to determine the top 3 finalists will take place November 6th – 27th, with the top 3 winners being announced Monday, November 30th.

WINNING ENTRIES:
We will recognize the top 6 entries on social media. The artists of the top 3 entries will be featured in an article that will be on our website and newsletter, as well as on social media. 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 artist. Entrants retain ownership and all other rights to future use of their photographs and art. The Autism Society of Texas holds copyright to the collection of photos and artwork that constitute the Autism Society of Texas Photo and Art 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 2020 Autism Society of Texas Art and Photo Contest Legal Conditions. Entry of photographs and art into the contest implies acceptance of these conditions, regardless of whether entrants sign a statement confirming acceptance.

QUESTIONS:
For questions regarding the 2020 Season of Giving Photo and Art Contest, please contact Abby Rodgers at abby@texasautismsociety.org.

September News

Check out our September newsletter! From AutFest at Home: The Sequel, to our Virtual Texas Autism Bike Ride & Fun Run, to our online support groups and advococy initiatives, we have a lot going on throughout the month!

Read the September newsletter here.
Subscribe here.

Vote 2020!

A note from Autism Society of Texas:

We encourage everyone to vote on November 3rd, or early vote if you can! Need more voting information such as locations and other important details? Check this website: https://www.votetexas.gov

Are you registered to vote? Calling all autistic adults, parent/caregivers of those with autism, autism support professionals and friends and family! We need you! Every vote counts. The autism community is broad, and electing those that will support those with disabilities has a huge impact on the lives of individuals with autism and those that support them! Please join the greater disability community and pledge to vote! Need help or have questions? Contact jacquie@texasautismsociety.org or email Rev Up.

Voting information from our friends at Rev Up:

More than any time in memory:

  • Elected leaders and political candidates are recognizing more than 5.4 MILLION Texans with disabilities— from birth to advanced age—as a powerful, important constituency
  • Issues important to people with disabilities must be part of the platform for any candidate running for public office.Join thousands of Texans with disabilities in this important and historic effort!

    The November 3, 2020, General Election will be one of the most important elections.The disability community—people with disabilities, family members, attendants, providers, professionals, advocates and supporters—has a major stake in the outcome of this election.

    The Disability Vote! can make a difference on issues such as:

USE YOUR POWER! TO VOTE YOU MUST REGISTER BY OCTOBER 5! www.Register2Vote.org

  • Protections and enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Adequate funding and coverage for Medicaid acute and long-term services and supports.
  • No healthcare rationing.
  • Eliminate institutional bias in Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance.
  • Eliminate waiting lists for home and community services.
  • Consolidation and closure of public institutions.
  • Increase availability of accessible, affordable, integrated housing.
  • Implementation and enforcement of the “most integrated setting” requirements in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Affordable healthcare for all, including pre-existing conditions.
  • Integrated employment at no less than minimum wage.
  • Adequate funding for quality public and higher education.
  • Recruitment and retention strategies for improved wages and benefits for community attendants.
  • Quality Medicaid managed care with strict accountability measures.

I Pledge to VOTE! (Send the form below to REV UP Texas, 1100 I-35, Austin TX 78704)

Name: ______________________________________________________________________________ Address: ____________________________________________________________________________ City: _________________________________ State________________ ZIP_______________________ Email: ________________________________________________ Phone: ________________________