Spotlight on Dining-Out Fundraisers for Chapters

Editor’s note: For those who have a loved one with Autism Spectrum Disorder, a community of support can be a lifeline. For more than 40 years, ASNC Chapters and Support Groups have provided families who face similar challenges an opportunity to encourage one another, share experiences, find information and resources, and have a place where they feel welcomed and understood. These volunteer-led groups also offer education to families, increase autism awareness and understanding, and support and extend ASNC’s mission in their local communities.

Throughout this year, we are highlighting the ways each of our Chapters and Support Groups makes a difference. To find one near you, please click here or contact Marty Kellogg, ASNC State Chapter Coordinator, at 919-865-5088 or mkellogg@autismsociety-nc.org.

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Two big fundraisers are happening this month for Autism Society of North Carolina chapters, but they’re not just about the money.

 Autism Aware Fare, a day when restaurants in the Charlotte area donate a percentage of their profits to the ASNC Mecklenburg County Chapter, started 12 years ago. “Autism wasn’t that well-known then. There wasn’t a lot of info about it,” said Kathy Snyder, who leads the fundraiser. So the chapter set cards on the restaurant tables describing autism, its signs, and what their chapter offers families. The cards also asked people to be kind and not judge individuals with autism whom they might see in public acting differently.

In the Triangle, the Wake, Durham, and Orange/Chatham Chapters are just starting their fundraiser, Dine 4 Autism, this year. They, too, will set out information cards that tell diners what ASNC chapters do to support families, such as providing free workshops and holding inclusive social activities.

“The idea is to get people who aren’t already aware of us, and who might be going through a diagnosis, and then connect them with our chapters,” said Leslie Welch, ASNC Wake Chapter leader.

Over the years, Autism Aware Fare has brought enough money in that it is the Mecklenburg Chapter’s only fundraiser. They chapter usually raises $15,000-$20,000 for grants to teachers who work with children with autism, training for teachers and aides, and chapter expenses. Last year, the chapter gave $12,500 to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for the purchase of 22 iPads for the self-contained autism classrooms.

logo-color-with-transparency-smaller1For the Wake County Chapter, the biggest funding need is camp, Welch said. The chapter gives $4,500 a year to both ASNC’s Camp Royall and YMCA of the Triangle for their summer camps for individuals with autism.

Each of the fundraisers has dozens of participating locations, so Welch hopes that everyone will take the opportunity to gather their friends and family and dine out to support ASNC chapters.

Get involved

 

ASNC Advocates for People with Autism and Their Families, Part 2

Editor’s note: This is part 2 of a Q&A with Jennifer Mahan, ASNC Director of Advocacy and Public Policy, and Kerri Erb, Senior Director of Quality and Programs. We have merged their responses to each of the questions.

What do you, Jennifer Mahan and Kerri Erb, do?

website_jen website_kerriHere are the main areas:

Coordinating public policy

  • Communicate with the public, especially those who are concerned about people with ASD. The goal is to help make advocacy and public policy more understandable and encourage people to get involved. We do this through writing blogs, alerts, updates, and publications; making presentations and talking with the media; and talking one-on-one with people who have questions.
  • Oversee grassroots efforts to involve families and individuals in working with elected officials and support them as they voice their concerns.
  • Advocate directly with elected and appointed officials at the state level to effect policy change that makes a difference in people’s lives. Support and direct ASNC’s lobbyists in their efforts to meet our policy targets.
  • Work with staff in state government and Local Management Entities/Managed Care Organizations (LME/MCOs) on issues that affect the autism community and greater intellectual/developmental disability (I/DD) community in terms of service policy and provision, implementation based on feedback from families and staff, and distilling research on what is working and what is not in the field.
  • Work with other organizations, building consensus, and making our voices stronger by having many organizations in agreement and advocating for the same things.
  • Do research on what good policy looks like, how other states are doing things, what the regulations are, what specifically needs to be changed. Listen to staff, families, individuals and professionals about what they want to see happen and figure out how to get there.
  • Monitor activities of the state legislature and administration related to ASD and other developmental disabilities. Includes budget and tax policy, health care, disability services, employment, transportation, education, housing, civic life, etc.
  • Work to educate our staff and community groups on the latest and most evidence-based or promising practices for working with individuals with ASD. Emphasize the importance of using what works for each individual with that in mind.

Operating one-on-one advocacy programs, direct services, and training:

  • Research and understand how our current systems that support people with autism operate to better assist families and individuals in getting help.
  • Help people understand how the services system, health insurance, and other programs can help them access assistance.​
  • Provide oversight, direction and support to staff who work in direct services, training and education, clinical services, support groups, chapters, and as resource specialists.
  • Help staff with problems. Work directly with families and individuals who have very complex needs and staff who require some support in assisting them.
  • Compile reports to funders on the work of the organization, its staff, and its volunteers.
  • Manage data collection system and resource database.

In any given week, Kerri and Jennifer might do things such as (a sample from the past month):

  • Attend a legislative meeting on Medicaid reform. Talk to advocates and public officials at the meeting about what we like or don’t like about policy changes.
  • Visit a legislator, at their request, who wants to know more about autism and what they can do to help.
  • Talk with a parent who doesn’t understand the new scholarship program or the tax credit.
  • Talk with a parent who is upset that there is no support available for their child or one who is surprised to find they have no insurance coverage.
  • Help colleagues write a proposal for funding our programs.
  • Run a report in our data collection system showing how many people we served and what their needs were to share with policymakers, LME/MCOs, or the public.
  • Add new resources to our database of community resources.
  • Speak to parents about how to access services or help them navigate various resources.
  • Meet with a group of child advocates to talk about how system reforms might affect us and what we would recommend.
  • Serve as chairwoman for a coalition of advocacy organizations and help them write recommendations for crisis services and system direction recommendations.
  • Attend a conference on innovative technology or evidence-based and promising practices in ASD and discuss with policymakers around the state about changes needed to adopt new technologies and practices to improve lives.
  • Read reports about Medicaid, budget issues, or recent policy changes to better understand the impact on services and supports.
  • Attend conferences on latest clinical advancements with ASD and translate that for our community.
  • Develop new information toolkits and training for families and individuals in collaboration with ASNC staff.
  • Make recommendations to a committee on business practices that streamline administrative functions in the LME/MCO system.
  • Be a part of an advisory council on implementation of policy and what can be done better in a local region to meet the needs of the greater I/DD community.
  • Work with LME staff to provide information about clinical promising or best practices in ASD or brainstorm with LME/MCOs on how to reach the best outcomes for folks with ASD in our system.

What are the top issues that ASNC is focusing on this year?

Our legislative targets are posted each year on our website. See them here.

How can families or professionals help or learn more?

  • Join our mailing list.
  • Read blogs and check in on Facebook for news.
  • Join our advocacy list and let us know how you might want to help.
  • Respond to requests from ASNC for calls, letters, and emails to elected officials.
  • Write a short note to your elected official introducing yourself and your family member on the spectrum and letting them know that you live in their district. (See tips).
  • Get involved with the local chapter: Attend, join an online group or mailing list, and find out what help the chapter might need.
  • Talk with neighbors about what you have learned about services and support for your family member: what works, what is missing from our system, what would help.
  • Give us your perceptions and ideas. One way to do that is with this survey.

If you have questions about public policy issues, please contact Jennifer Mahan, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy, at 919-865-5068 or jmahan@autismsociety-nc.org.

Autism is Hard; That’s Why We Do This Together

This article was contributed by Amy Perry, an ASNC Autism Resource Specialist and mom to a daughter with autism.

SONY DSCWhenever I see the movie “Mary Poppins,” I smile at one of the film’s early scenes in which the next door neighbor fires his cannon every day. Everyone in the house automatically anticipates this temporary disruption by manning their “posts” to catch falling breakables and straighten the pictures on the walls. While a blast that shakes the whole house would be a disaster in most residences, it is just routine maintenance and survival in the Banks household. This scenario reminds me of what it’s like to live with autism.

In the wake of Autism Awareness Month, I find myself wondering whether the general public is actually aware of how hard it can be to have a child with autism. Sometimes autism is hard in ways that nobody talks about: like walking through the produce section of the grocery store with my 17-year-old daughter, praying she doesn’t take a bite out of a random piece of fruit or sniff the wrong stranger. At home, we keep the refrigerator locked because my daughter will drink a bottle of BBQ sauce if given the chance. We keep extra rolls of toilet paper hidden, because if we don’t, we risk them all ending up in the toilet at once. It’s fine to have dishes, cooking utensils, or even junk mail on the kitchen counter, but for reasons I will never understand, it is an unforgivable offense to leave out salt shakers or seasonings. (That’s my daughter’s rule, not mine.) Our house has adapted to these “quirks” of autism, and I seldom think about them until I’m at an autism-less house.

Autism presents challenges on several levels. There are the day-to-day survival tricks; we adapt and modify our behaviors or our environment within our own family such as never, ever running out of applesauce or having a copy of “Barney’s ABCs” for every DVD player in the house. There’s the bigger picture of dealing with autism within our extended network of family and friends. Have you ever had a well-meaning friend or relative ask “How’s _____ doing?” and your mental response is “you wouldn’t believe me if I told you what I had to clean up last night” or “my life is somewhere between ‘Apocalypse Now’ and ‘Madagascar.’” Then there’s the big question: “What’s going to happen in the long run? Does autism grow up?,” a question so scary I didn’t allow myself to even ask it for years. There is a lot to worry about, think about and plan for. How can anyone survive this, and not only survive, but have a child with autism who is thriving?

Recently, I read a research study on the benefits of parental support groups in families who have children with autism. I wasn’t surprised to see research reveal something I already knew. Parents of children with autism who participate in support groups report a higher quality of life for themselves, their families, and their children. This is especially true for families who have had a child recently diagnosed with autism. The CDC reports that the incidence of autism is now 1 in 68. That’s a lot of families, a lot of moms and dads struggling to adapt their lives for the special child that is no doubt their greatest joy as well as their greatest challenge. One of the best things about the Autism Society of North Carolina (ASNC) is that at any event you go to – support groups, chapter meetings, camps, conferences, workshops – it’s full of people who “get it.” There are other people who have to lock their refrigerator or follow strange rules in hopes of avoiding a meltdown or a domestic malfunction.

ASNC is here for you because we are you. We get it. We do it every day. We sit in IEP meetings and feel lost, we struggle to accept or decline invitations at well-meaning friends’ or relatives’ homes, we ignore strangers who stare, we pretend shrieking in the checkout line is normal. We learn from each other’s experiences. There’s the very special grin when we hear another person telling their story and it sounds so much like our own. Support for families really does make life better, for you as well as for your child. ASNC offers a plethora of support groups, workshops, and parent education meetings every month. I have no doubt that you want the best life possible for your child with autism. The first step, the next step, just might be for you.

Please visit one of our groups, workshops, events, or trainings, and find something that meets your needs where you are. As an Autism Resource Specialist for ASNC, I teach a variety of monthly workshops in my area designed to help parents who are new to the diagnosis, who are looking for more resources and a place to get their questions answered, or who want to learn more about the ever-popular topic of special education and IEPs. Workshops and webinars on these topics and more are taught by Autism Resource Specialists across the state. Something is happening somewhere every week. Contact your local chapter, connect with us on social media, get involved. You’re one of us.

Autism is hard; that’s why we do this together. I look forward to seeing you at an ASNC event soon.

 

For more information

 

Amy Perry can be reached at 910-864-2769, ext. 1206, or aperry@autismsociety-nc.org.

ASNC Advocates for People with Autism and Their Families

Editor’s note: The following blog post is a Q&A with Jennifer Mahan, ASNC Director of Advocacy and Public Policy, and Kerri Erb, Senior Director of Quality and Programs. We have merged their responses to each of the questions.

What does “advocacy” mean to you personally and within the scope of your job?

website_jen website_kerriMost advocacy is about issues of fair treatment and discrimination. People should be able to have the same opportunities as others, the same choices, and our world should not set limits based on their condition or disability. Being an advocate means having a voice in decisions that are made and speaking out for yourself or others. As people, and for the organization, when we look at advocacy and public policy, we consider:

  • Is this going to improve people’s lives?
  • Will it offer them the opportunity to succeed?
  • Does it improve not only the individual’s life, but our communities?
  • Does it make sense? Is it informed by what people say they need? What data supports it or can we collect data about it?
  • What outcomes will this help us reach as an organization and for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in NC and how can we improve on those?

Advocacy at ASNC is both one-on-one with individual people and systemic to change the way our world operates and make it more inclusive. It takes a number of forms, but all have those goals at the center. When we say “advocacy,” we mean:

  • Assisting families that are helping and supporting other families in their communities through our Chapters and Support Groups.
  • Our Autism Resource Specialists helping individuals on the spectrum and their families sort out problems and find resources, and providing a supportive ear when times are difficult.
  • Our staff coordinating with other providers, local management entities, professionals, families, communities, schools, and other organizations to provide quality services.
  • As an organization, voicing the needs of people with autism in the development of public policies and implementation of public programs. We work across systems, at the legislature, in the state administrative offices, and at the regional and local level to meet that part of our mission. This ranges from MCOs that serve multiple counties down to small towns.

Why is it important that the autism community have advocates?

The incidence of autism is on the rise; an estimated 60,000 people with autism live in North Carolina. Because autism is a spectrum disorder, the needs of those 60,000 are going vary across the range of the spectrum as well as across ages. Studies show that because of autism’s significant impact on families’ time, resources, and finances, there are unique needs for an autism advocacy voice at the state and local level. Individuals and families know their own needs and can best articulate what will help them to succeed. With the pressures of raising a child with autism and managing the services and supports needed as they age into adulthood and beyond, self-advocacy can be lost in the focus on day-to-day issues. Our goal is to give a voice to these collective needs. We know our voice is strong, but it is not enough. We need everyone who is affected by autism to lend their voices. Responding to surveys, getting involved with the work of the organization, and, yes, speaking and writing to their elected officials. We need to be sure we are speaking to benefit the next generation. We advocate for early, accurate screening and diagnosis, and using research to guide our system toward what is known to work best.

How many people do you have working as advocates for the autism community? Who else works on policy- and advocacy-related issues and what are their roles?

Many families and individuals are amazing advocates for themselves. Recognizing the need for more advocacy and supportive services, ASNC has worked in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services, the state legislature, and community donors to develop support for families in need of advocacy help.

Autism Resource Specialists: ASNC is the only resource in the state that provides individuals with ASD, their families, and professionals with information, resources, support, family-to-family connections, and system navigation that is tailored to their unique situation. We employ 19 Autism Resource Specialists throughout the state who have firsthand knowledge and experience with autism as parents of children on the autism spectrum.​ Many of our resource specialists work part-time; we are always working to ensure we have enough resources to meet demand. With resource specialists responding to more than 6,000 requests for help last year from 93 identified counties across NC, resources are often stretched thin.

Chapters and Support Groups: ASNC also has two staff members who, with the help of some part-time Regional Coordinators, are dedicated to supporting Chapters and Support Groups covering 60 counties across NC, as well as a specialty support group for families with children in the autism and behavioral specialty units at Murdoch Developmental Center. These chapters are led primarily by volunteers, mostly parents and family members, whose generous spirit and passion for their own children inspire their desire to help other families facing similar challenges. ASNC is working to provide support groups in counties where no such groups exist. As our base of support groups and volunteers expands, so does the need for staff and group facilitators to ensure that groups remain viable for the long term.

Systems and Public Policy: Jennifer Mahan and Kerri Erb are primarily responsible for, as we describe it, advocating for what policies should look like and how they should operate in the real world. There are a lot of opposing forces at work in changing large systems, and change often takes a long time to sort through the many viewpoints. Jennifer and Kerri are supported by our CEO and Communications staff as well as many other people in the organization lending their expertise. Jennifer and Kerri only spend part of their time on policy. Each is responsible for ensuring the delivery of other services for ASNC, including our direct services, training and education, clinical services, Autism Resource Specialists, and Support Groups/Chapters as well as helping manage quality and data collection.

All ASNC staff: Our Regional Directors, Program and Services staff, clinical staff, and really all of our staff do their part to help individuals and families to follow their dreams and advocate for themselves. Many staff members serve on advisory groups for a variety of community settings such as schools, churches, and LME/MCOs.

Read the second part of our Q&A with Jennifer Mahan and Kerri Erb on Thursday.

Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnoses rising, CDC says

Editor’s note: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced new prevalence rates for Autism Spectrum Disorders. The Autism Society of North Carolina’s Director of Communications, David Laxton, participated in the conference call announcing the results of the study. Here are his notes and observations with some insights as to what the numbers mean for our state.

On Thursday, March 27, 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data as part of their biennial estimates of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) prevalence rates. This effort has occurred since 2000.

  • The data included new prevalence rates for the sample population of 11 states and communities that were monitored through the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDM). The prevalence rate of ASD is now 1 in 68, a 30 percent increase since the 2012 report, which showed it to be 1 in 88.
  • The median age of diagnosis across the sites was 4 years old.
  • ASD is still five times more common in boys than in girls. White children are more likely to be identified than children in minority groups. Most children are diagnosed after age 4.
  • The most notable change in the past decade is the growing number of those diagnosed who have average or above-average intelligence. A decade ago, it was one-third; now it is 50 percent.
  • A subset of the data was specific to NC and indicated a new prevalence rate in our state of 1 in 58 children. This is an increase of 17 percent from the 2012 data. (The data were from an 11-county sample in central NC totaling 37,783 children.)

What is causing the increase?

  • There was a 30 percent increase in the prevalence of ASD in two years. Some of that was attributed to how individuals with autism are identified and diagnosed in communities.
  • Additional awareness among parents and child-care, school, and medical professionals has helped identify children at risk at an earlier age.
  • Significantly, NC had the youngest median age (37 months) of diagnosis for ASD in the study.

During the media call, the CDC announced a new “Birth to Five: Watch Me Thrive” initiative, which is a federal, cross-agency effort launching today. The initiative has 4 goals:

  • Celebrate developmental milestones via regular screenings
  • Promote developmental/behavioral screening for all (language, motor)
  • Identify delays and concerns early through regular screenings.
  • Enhance developmental supports by providing tools, guidance and tips.

What does this mean for North Carolina? How does the Autism Society of North Carolina help?

  • Early screening and diagnosis continue to be critical. We offer a variety of workshops and information about the signs and symptoms as well as a statewide network of Autism Resource Specialists to answer questions from families, caregivers, and professionals. The ASNC Training department continues to consult to early intervention programs and offer trainings about early diagnosis and best practices.
  • Understanding ASD is critical. Once a child is diagnosed, what do you do? There is a wealth of information available, but how can parents determine the best course of treatment for their children? The ASNC Autism Resource Specialists and Clinical staff are available to provide individualized consultation and family training.
  • Early diagnosis and intervention helps individuals on the autism spectrum lead more productive lives. The Autism Society of North Carolina, in partnership with other organizations, is working to pass HB 498, which would require the State Health Plan and private insurance policies to cover costs associated with the diagnosis and treatment of autism. This will provide significant financial relief to families while saving the state money.
  • There is no cure for autism, but by focusing on the individual’s strengths and working to improve their weaknesses, we can help individuals with ASD live, work, and contribute in meaningful ways to their communities.

“When my son Andrew and I were diagnosed with autism 20 years ago, the Autism Society of North Carolina was there to help us with services and support, as it had been doing for North Carolinians since 1970,” said Dave Spicer, a member of ASNC’s Board of Directors. “Through ASNC, professionals, parents, volunteers and people like me with autism are working together to provide North Carolina’s autism community with the best possible resources to enhance quality of life for everyone affected by autism. We stand ready to listen, and ready to help.”

Families and community members are invited to join ASNC for a free World Autism Awareness Day celebration at Camp Royall in Moncure on Wednesday, April 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is an opportunity to learn more about available services and supports.

The Autism Society of North Carolina is committed to providing support and promoting opportunities that enhance the lives of individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. Individuals interested in supporting ASNC’s efforts can donate online at www.autismsociety-nc.org.

To read the complete CDC report, click here.

To read a report on the NC portion, click here.

Spotlight on the Cabarrus County Chapter

CabarrusRunners

Editor’s note: For those who have a loved one with Autism Spectrum Disorder, a community of support can be a lifeline. For more than 40 years, ASNC Chapters and Support Groups have provided families who face similar challenges an opportunity to encourage one another, share experiences, find information and resources, and have a place where they feel welcomed and understood. These volunteer-led groups also offer education to families, increase autism awareness and understanding, and support and extend ASNC’s mission in their local communities.

Throughout this year, we are highlighting the ways each of our Chapters and Support Groups makes a difference. To find one near you, please click here or contact Marty Kellogg, ASNC State Chapter Coordinator, at 919-865-5088 or mkellogg@autismsociety-nc.org.

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For families affected by autism in Cabarrus County, the local chapter of the Autism Society of North Carolina (ASNC) has become a sort of extended family.

“We’re there for each other. We think that’s what it’s all about,” said Maria Anthony, leader of the Cabarrus County Chapter. She explained that many residents of the area are not originally from there and so do not have a local support system.

Anthony said that when she had knee surgery, other members of the chapter took care of her family for two weeks. “We’ve kind of built a village network. We’re all friends and we help each other out.”

Twenty to 30 members attend each of the chapter’s monthly meetings, Anthony said, many of them couples attending together. The chapter makes that possible by hiring three child-care workers for each meeting.

CabarrusRunGroupTo help pay for the workers and other activities, the chapter holds the annual Cabarrus County Chapter Puzzle Run each spring. This year will be their fourth, and they’ve raised their goal to $10,000. As of this writing one week before the March 29 event, they had less than $1,000 to go.

Anthony said the Puzzle Run is a fun day for all involved. The chapter invites area resources to set up information tables, and there is a bouncy house for the kids. But what the kids really like is the running. “They’re freaky fast,” she said. “They run like crazy. They just love it.”

In addition to paying for chapter activities, the Puzzle Run raises money for grants that the Cabarrus County Chapter provides to local teachers – about $23,000 worth since 2005. The teachers use the money to buy materials “above and beyond what are provided by the schools” and to attend community-based training, Anthony said. Some have bought special stools for their students, weighted vests, and even a Nook e-reader so that students could work on apps shown to benefit children with autism.

Another way that the chapter has reached out to its community is by donating thousands of dollars’ worth of books on autism to local libraries and the Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center.

Chapter leaders get together each June to decide their activities for the year. They hold a monthly meeting and have social activities about once every other month.

They also like to try a new activity or event each year. This past year, the chapter started a social group for teens and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and attendance has doubled in the past six months, Anthony said. Participants have truly enjoyed it, Anthony said, relating a comment she heard from one 24-year-old.

“He just looked at me and he said, ‘Thank you. Now I met somebody like me.’ ”

Cabarrus County Chapter

Website: http://www.autismcabarrus.com/ or search “Autism Society of NC Cabarrus County” on Facebook

To learn more about the 4th annual Cabarrus County Chapter Puzzle Run set for this Saturday in Concord, click here. You can still register on-site that morning to support local families affected by autism!

World Autism Awareness and Acceptance Day: Send a Kid to Camp Campaign

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On Wednesday, April 2, recognized as World Autism Awareness Day, families across NC will mobilize in support of people affected by autism. The goal is to help others understand autism, while raising $10,000 in one day to send kids with autism to summer camp. This campaign is led by families across the state who understand what is possible when campers with autism experience summer camp.

Camp Royall, the nation’s oldest and largest camp for individuals with autism, provides life-changing experiences to campers every year. Campers learn to swim or make their first friend, all while their families enjoy a much-needed break. For many campers, this would not be possible without scholarships.

“This camp has given my son the chance to be a kid in a world that understands and embraces him.” – Parent of a camper

Photo-159 What can you do?

Sign up to attend our World Autism Awareness and Acceptance Day celebration and come to Camp Royall so you can see this magical place! The activities and lunch are free, but we will accept donations. To help us plan for staffing and food, please RSVP by clicking here. Help us reach our goal of raising $10,000 in one day to send kids to camp by making your donation here. Spread the word about our World Autism Awareness and Acceptance Day celebration and our Send a Kid to Camp campaign.

“I hope I get to come back here next year!” – Amy, Camp Royall camper

We Need You

If each family that reads this blog inspires five people to donate $20 – enough to give a camper an hour of summer camp to learn skills once thought unattainable and families a much-needed break – we will exceed our goal. Spread the word by issuing this challenge to friends through email, Facebook, Twitter, or your blog.

To learn more about what makes Camp Royall “The Best Week Ever,” click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMfi7YwtUmE&list=UUxEhhhjCt0oT18J6pjP78TA

What is World Autism Awareness and Acceptance Day?

DSC_0806In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day to highlight the need to help children and adults with the disorder to lead full and meaningful lives. The Autism Society of North Carolina recognizes that acceptance of each person as an individual and of their ability to contribute to society is just as important, so we include “Acceptance” in the day’s title.

After last year’s event, a mother shared a wonderful perspective on the day. Read it here: http://therighthue.com/2013/04/02/professor-hank/

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