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Autism Society of America

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Autism, Civil Rights, Developmentally Disabled Centers, Disabilities, Disabled Persons Rights, Health, Human Services

Mission: Our Mission is Improving the lives of all affected by autism. The Autism Society envisions a world in which individuals and families living with autism are able to maximize their quality of life, are treated with the highest level of dignity, and live in a society in which their talents and skills are appreciated and valued

Results: Autism Core Services: In 2016, the Autism Society of America’s National Contact Center, which operates from 9 am to 9 pm Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday and AutismSourceTM our national resource database accomplished the following: Answered calls live 76% of the time. Maintained a less than 1-Day response time for calls and e-mails. Supported over 7,000 constituents by phone and email. 80 affiliates nationwide set up on our inquiry and resource database to serve their local communities Education and Awareness: In 2016, the Autism Society of America continued the ongoing efforts of making sure that individuals and families impacted by autism were informed about issues impacting their well-being. 1. Provided daily Facebook information posts to 590,000 Facebook followers. 2. Provided daily twitter posts to over 90,000 Twitter friends. 3. Maintained an over 34,000 listing of resources on www.autism-society.org 4. Sent out information updates each month to over 100,000 people. In 2016, the Autism Society of America held its 47th Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. With over 1,000 people in attendance, this three day conference provided individuals, families and professionals an opportunity to hear keynote speakers such as John Donvan, Caren Zucker, Alycia Halladay, Dr. James Ball and Steve Silberman with a panel of young adults with autism. Attendees could choose 88 breakout sessions on topics of interest to those impacted by autism. The evaluations from those attending the conference once again showed that this conference, the oldest and longest running national conference is highly valued in terms of networking, information gathering and learning. Advocacy: The Autism Society of America continued to advocate and represent the needs of all impacted by autism. To this end, in 2016, the priority advocacy efforts of the organization were: 1. Promote passage of Kevin and Avonte’s Law of 2016 to provide funding for law enforcement and community training to reduce wandering incidents involving people with autism and other disabilities. 2. Provide relief to family caregivers by supporting legislation to create public and private partnerships to evaluate national strategy and ease financial burdens through implementation of tax credits for caregiving expenses. 3. Advocate for comprehensive long term care legislation that addresses the needs of individuals with disabilities, including, Medicaid, Social Security, and Social Security Disability Insurance. Create an infrastructure for Long Term Support Services that is driven by self-direction, personal choice, and families and individuals with disabilities. 4. Fully fund IDEA and assure that every child with a disability obtains a free appropriate public education. 5. Build infrastructure and create incentives for employers, as well as other solutions that will expand work opportunities for individuals with autism.

Target demographics: all affected by autism

Direct beneficiaries per year: Over 7,000 individuals and thousands more through our affiliate network

Geographic areas served: The United States

Programs: Since 1965, the Autism Society in partnership with our over 100 local and state affiliates has supported millions of individuals and families impacted by autism. The Autism Society envisions individuals and families living with autism are able to maximize their quality of life, are treated with the highest level of dignity, and live in a society in which their talents and skills are appreciated and valued. Answering the Call, the Autism Society’s National Contact Center, Autism Source The Autism Society provides a National Contact Center, Autism Source, Monday to Friday from 9 am to 9 pm. Staffed by professionals, it is here to help individuals, families and professionals seeking valuable information on available services and referrals and to better understand issues associated with autism. Our Autism Source™ online resource database contains over 35,000 listings of autism service providers throughout the nation. Many parents say that their first call after receiving a diagnosis of autism is to the Autism Society, however it doesn’t end with that first call. We are here through all phases of one’s lifespan, empowering those affected by autism through a one-on-one connection with our staff of trained Information and Referral specialists. Contact us! The Autism SourceTM contact center is available to take calls, emails and letters Monday to Friday from 9 am to 9 pm. Connect to our comprehensive service via our toll-free number, 800-3AUTISM (800-328-8476) or info@autism-society.org, and through the largest online referral database of autism services, Autism Source. Supporting locally through the Autism Society’s Affiliates Network The Autism Society supports the needs of its over 100 local or state affiliates through training, advocacy, financial support through grants, fundraising assistance and much more, to help each affiliate maximize its effectiveness in being a leader of services and support in a community. Autism Society’s affiliates are your best source of information and support, and where the person in need is helped directly. Through support groups, help with understanding the services in the community or state, local and state advocacy, help to an individual and his/her family to navigate often complex and confusing service systems, and training to local and statewide organizations on being autism friendly and responsive, the local or state Autism Society affiliates thrive each and every day. A listing of the local and state affiliates can be found here: Affiliate Map. Building Autism Friendly, Inclusive Communities Inclusion is one of the Autism Society’s Quality of Life Indicators. The Autism Society’s vision is to increase the quality of life of everyone living with autism. When we say “quality of life,” we’re talking about basic human rights that allow people to interact with one another and the world on their own terms. The Autism Society believes that individuals with autism deserve to live, work, play, socialize, learn and worship in the setting and manner of their own choosing. The Autism Society works with national employers throughout the nation to help them advance the hiring and retention of workers with an autism diagnosis. The Autism Society works with companies and other entities to become autism friendly, meaning their products or services are responsive to the needs of an individual with an autism diagnosis, they promote and encourage the hiring of individuals with an autism diagnosis, and they support the needs of their employees who have children or other family members with an autism diagnosis. Click on the links below to learn more about initiatives creating better communities for those with autism: Safe and Sound® Inclusive Faith Initiative AMC and Sensory Friendly Films Educating and Training, the Autism Society’s National Conference For over 40 years, the Autism Society has hosted the largest and oldest conference on autism spectrum disorders every July bringing together individuals with an autism diagnosis, family members, professionals as well as community, state and national leaders for three days of training and listening to nationally recognized and respected leaders in the field. The national conference brings together an audience of individuals with autism, their loved ones, and professionals from multiple disciplines including – educators, behavior analysts, social workers, speech and hearing pathologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, registered nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and physicians – attendees from across the country with a range of experiences and needs- creating a wonderful and unique opportunity to learn, network and share ideas. The collective expertise and experiences of family members, professionals and individuals on the spectrum, makes the Autism Society National Conference the place to be to learn from expert presenters and each other how to more effectively advocate and obtain supports. The Autism Society’s online magazine, the Autism Advocate offers a diverse collection of articles that address the latest news on autism, personal perspectives, as well as strategies and tips from individuals with autism, parents, and professionals. The Autism Society’s offers excellent printed materials such as our “What is Autism?” brochure and our Living with Autism series. These four-page booklets provide easy-to-understand, practical information related to the autism spectrum for a broad audience on a wide range of educational topics such as “Building our Future: Educating Students on the Autism Spectrum” or “Transition to Middle School” as well as daily life topics such as sleep, siblings and puberty. The series has also been expanded to support Victims of Crime as part of our Safe and Sound® program with resource materials for Law Enforcement and First Responders, Attorneys, Judges, Counselors, and other community leaders. Raising Awareness, Acceptance and Appreciation Raising awareness of autism is part of everything we do. The Autism Society founded National Autism Awareness Month, which helps focus attention on autism in April every year. The United States recognizes April as a special opportunity for everyone to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community and foster acceptance and appreciation of individuals on the autism spectrum as the valued members of our community that they are. The Autism Society is also the home of the Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon, one of the most recognizable cause-related symbols. Strategic Planning The Autism Society, in partnership with volunteers and staff from the over 100 local and state affiliates, has established a strong strategic plan which advances the well being of all with an autism diagnosis to always maximize their quality of life. As part of the plan’s implementation, the Autism Society is making sure that measurable outcomes are defined and assessed to best help individuals. For more information visit http://www.autism-society.org/about-the-autism-society/guiding-principles/strategic-plan/

Community Stories

15 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Varied and very, very, valuable and helpful information. Anyone wanting information on issues with Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorders are urged to research this site. Be sure to sign up for their free magazine; it's full of very helpful information for parents, grandparents, teachers, all friends and family members. I highly recommend this site.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The articles and webinars provide us with timely updates, even if we are in other countries. I reside in the Philippines and am unable to attend conferences because of distance and cost of travel. The webinars on a myriad of topics are a great help to keep me updated and knowledgeable about the latest initiatives and discoveries in the ever evolving approach to autism and related disorders

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I met Amy Pennington and learned about All 4 Autism from her. Her enthusiasm was contagious and I watched as the program grew into an awesome source for student and parents with students on the Autism Spectrum. While I do not have first hand experience with an Autistic child, I was truly amazed and impressed with their dedication and services provided to the community.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Excellent , well - organised, reliable nonprofit! Doing marvellous job for people touched by Autism. Well done!

Client Served

Rating: 5

When my son was diagnosed in 1999 Autism Society of America was the first place I contacted - they were so helpful!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son was diagnosed with autism in 2002, and since that time we have been getting very valuable information from the Autism Society. It has included very practical information for families handling life with an autistic family member. For example, information on potty training problems, autistic children wandering from home, issues on entering puberty, and autistic individuals encountering law enforcement. When we started reading the information when our son was only two, we got a picture of the realities that we would have to learn to manage over coming the years. The information was not very pleasant, but it was authentic informative that we needed, from a reliable, experienced, expert source.

The Autism Society of America is an invaluable resources to families caring for an autistic family member. Other organizations may focus on finding a cure in the future, but the Autism Society focuses the practicalities of managing life with autism right now. It's a unique and invaluable resource for families of autistic individuals.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I first turned to the Autism Society back in 1988 when my son (then 3 years old) was diagnosed with autism. The Autism Society network provided me with information and support that would have been very hard to find on my own in those pre-internet days. Autism Society volunteers and staffers have helped our family every step of the way and have inspired me to volunteer, too.
These days there are many autism-related nonprofits but I still support the Autism Society because of its mission and its positive approach. The Autism Society doesn't claim it can solve everyone's problems but it does strive to help everyone affected by autism in some way. From my perspective, it accomplishes this goal every day.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Reliable information, excellent conferences and website is easy to use- great combination.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have both spoken at and attended the National Conferences. I have enjoyed the diversity of the topics that they select. I read the advocacy material and find it very helpful.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm a single 63 year old mother of four sons, one with autism. I take care for my son full time since I retired 2 years ago. My other 3 boys have long fled the nest. My job was very demanding and as an exempt employee, often included weekends. In the back of my mind I always worried about Andy not being taught basic independent skills. Now, with my days only to invest on him I am able to reach out to other parents and professionals, attend meeting and trainings and/or simply pick up the phone and ask for a resource or advice.
All of the above I can count on and do thanks to the great San Diego Autism Society! In the short time that I have been meeting with the leaders and other parents of the San Diego Autism Society, I have learned about all the support and resources available to my son and I. I'm going through a very critical time, due to being the single bread winner for my boys, I missed the precious window of opportunity to teach my son to be as independent as his potential promised. Now I find myself scrambling to do just that and it's been very difficult to start a 41 year old man at learning skills that he probably could have learned at a much younger age. However, I've been leaning heavily on the Autism Society for advice, connections, activities for the both of us. So much so, that this last Spring, Andy attended camp for the first time in his life! And I was able to find a loving and caring community willing to be there for each other. While I always knew of the Autism Society-San Diego, I was unable to reach out to them as my job had me driving at a minimum 200 miles a day, and we live in a very rural area of San Diego. Making meeting times, was mission impossible for me. My hope is to be able to stay healthy and help my son in learning basic living independent skills with the short time I have ahead of me. I'm deeply grateful to the SDAS for being there for us. Sylvia and Andy

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Autism Society of America is the national leader in advocacy and dissemination of information about autism and related disorders.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

For 25+ years I have been a paid professional education advocate. Parents contact me and I help them get the services their child needs from their school district. Children with autism are entitled by law to receive certain services, accommodations, and even be placed in another school if that is what they NEED. Districts have been slow to respond to the needs of children with autism. I link parents to info from Autism Society of America, attend their conferences, and work for children with autism to make their lives and their families lives better. I am active in W. PA. My name is Trea Graham. I am listed in many places.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I first debated leaving NY for PA in 1999, and I needed information about resources for my 3 year old newly DXed son, the Greater Philadelphia ASA was the first I went. It happened by accident, actually; back then Google wasn't what it is now. But the people of the ASA email loop stepped up to help guide me through the process. Their kindess and wisdom has led me to a community I never knew existed, mainly with the unflagging support of Patti Erickson (GPASA president and fearless leader). From Sensory Friendly Movies to the Day Out at the Zoo, there's always something amazing going on for our kids in the Philly area, and usually I hear about it from the GPASA first. Thank you!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

As the parent of a child with autism, the ASA has been a constant source of useful information at each stage of his development. As a result, he took Honors classes in high school, is now beginning his sophomore year in college, and is an Eagle Scout. I strongly endorse the Autism Society of America, and its work on behalf of persons with autism, and their families.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Without your support, Autism Society of Texas would not exist. And without AST, there would not be family friendly activities, social groups for our young people, First Responder's Training, Autism Friendly Business Program, swim programs, or a strong voice at the legislative level in advocating for our families. Thank you Autism Society of America for sticking it out over 50 years with us and growing your programs, which impacts our programs on the ground as the needs continue to multiply exponentially!