The mission of the Autism Society Central Virginia is to improve the lives of ALL affected by autism by maximizing the self-sufficiency, independence, and quality of life for individuals living with autism.
The Autism Society Central Virginia works continuously to ensure that we are meeting our mission. In the past year we have developed a Strategic Plan with goals for a three year horizon to increase programs for our vision of meeting the needs at "any age, any stage. " We have already accomplished several of the goals:
*In 2013, the position of Executive Director was redefined to address marketing, fundraising, and Board development needs in order to raise awareness of the Autism Society Central Virginia and the resources, services, and supports we offer to the Central Virginia autism community. An individual with these credentials was identified and hired on January 1, 2014.
*In 2013, we created the part-time position of Outreach Coordinator, and hired an individual who has expanded our outreach programs to the community and our volunteer pool so that we can better meet the needs of our community.
*In 2013, we expanded our programs to include more opportunities for adults on the autism spectrum and a monthly preschool music group.
*In 2013, we reviewed our Scholarship Program and changed from providing funds to camps/organizations to providing scholarships directly to individuals and families. In 2014, we added scholarships for membership in the Autism Society Central Virginia to the list of eligible categories.
*In 2013, we launched a new more user-friendly website, which highlights the programs, services, and resources we provide.
Our current goals include:
*Increasing staff, both full- and part-time, to better meet the current and projected needs for Programming and Outreach.
*Starting a program for siblings of individuals on the autism spectrum (Staff being trained in August 2014.)
*Expanding our Programs and Outreach to better cover the entire Central Virginia region.
*Expanding our educational programs for families, including an IEP Boot Camp and an Annual Conference in April each year.
To achieve the goals the Autism Society Central Virginia has identified for the next several years, it is imperative that we continue to diligently work to educate and spread awareness of autism spectrum disorder and to do our best to improve the lives of ALL that are affected. In order to do this, we must increase our fundraising efforts to:
*Cover the hiring of additional full-time and part-time staff
*Increase programs and supports for adults on the autism spectrum
*Increase supports for adolescents on the autism spectrum
*Help families with resources at any age, any stage of their journey
*Bring programs and services to a wider region of Central Virginia
The Autism Society Central Virginia is celebrating over 25 years of nonprofit services, advocacy and support to families and professionals involved with autism. We are the local affiliate of the national Autism Society of America that was founded in 1965. Over the last 35 years, the Autism Society has developed into the leading source of information and referral on autism across the United States. The Autism Society Central Virginia currently provides a monthly newsletter to over 1,000 professionals, families and interested individuals, as well as monthly meetings, a lending library, and support and educational information for families and/or anyone interested in autism.
From Bill Thompson, the 2016 President of the Autism Society Central Virginia (ASCV) Board and the father of a 35-year old man on the autism spectrum… When I retired, I decided that the first thing I wanted to do was give back to the community and the best way I could do this was to serve on the Board for the ASCV. I have served on the Board now for four years, and find it very rewarding, as every day we are making a positive difference in people’s lives.
When my son was diagnosed in 1982, there was no support in the community. The doctor simply told us to put our son in an institution and forget about him. My wife and I had no idea what to do about the diagnosis, but didn’t think that institutionalization was the right answer. My wife researched the condition and related issues using the library (the internet wasn’t available yet.) We were in great need of the support you can get today from the ASCV, but this was not available.
In fact, without the ASCV to provide support, today there would be hundreds of additional people in our community who would be lost trying to find out what to do about the myriad issues that affect people with autism. We know this because of testimonials like this one provided by our members, “When I made that phone call to the ASCV, it felt like someone had thrown me a lifeline. Finally, I had someone who understood what I was going through, another parent just like me.”
I have felt for a long time that this lack of support should not be happening to young people that are going through this journey now. The number of people that are impacted continues to increase at an alarming rate. Today, the incidence rate for autism is estimated at 1-in-68 by the CDC (1 in 42 boys.) The demand for the services and supports that the ASCV provides is growing faster than we can keep up. In fact, in the greater Richmond area in 2013 there were more than 1,900 students in public schools on the autism spectrum. Our membership in 2014, however, is just a little more than 350 families, so we know that the greater part of our community is underserved. These figures also do not reflect the number of pre-school and adults on the spectrum in Central Virginia.
Children of all abilities in grades K – 8 are invited to join us for our monthly Inclusive Lego & Game Clubs. We have thousands of Legos for the children to use. No need to bring your own! The group is facilitated by a recreational therapist and volunteers. Our Inclusive Lego Clubs are held twice a month, at the YMCA - Chester and the ASCV Office in the city of Richmond. Parents must stay onsite, but are encouraged to gather in an adjoining room to network and share resources.
We recognize the importance and need for families to gather with others experiencing life with the challenges and joys of caring for a loved one with autism. To ease the stress and encourage parents to bring their families out for an “autism friendly” activity, the Autism Society Central VA sponsors outings including, but not limited to the following:
We also sponsor Autism Awareness activities at local baseball and soccer games, racing events, theme parks, and other recreational venues.
The Autism Society, Central VA sponsors the following interests groups on a variety of topics. Interest groups are free and most are open to any interested parties.
The Autism Society Central VA sponsors monthly bowling leagues for elementary, middle/high, and adult individuals with autism (Sept-June). Volunteers and staff are onsite to help support the individuals with autism as they bowl. Parents are encouraged to gather in the bowling alley to chat and network.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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