Our Future, Together

teamwyatt

 

This article was contributed by Kristy White, the Chief Development Officer for the Autism Society of North Carolina (ASNC). Kristy has been a leader in the field of inclusion, launching cutting-edge inclusion models and raising millions for inclusive programming across the country. She joined ASNC in March 2012 because of her passion for improving the lives of individuals with autism and their families.

The Autism Society of North Carolina is celebrating 45 years of improving lives this month! This is certainly something to be proud of, and it is something we all did together. Each and every one of you is an important part of our autism community and family.

Whether we are celebrating new words learned, supporting one another through a difficult school year, or just lending an understanding ear, we pull together to support one another. I think we can all agree that through the hard times and the happy times, the one thing that remains constant is that we are stronger together.

ASNC’s family – made up of the people we serve, our supporters, and our staff across the state – is strong because we have such an incredible love for those in our lives with autism. We know that each and every one of us makes a difference in the life of another.

Personally, I have the life I have today because of a little girl with autism. When I was a young camp counselor, she taught me to see everyone for their abilities. She taught me that we are all better when everyone is included. Because of her, I have had the opportunity to work in our community helping others for almost two decades, made some of the very best friends, and am a better mother. I am so grateful to her for making me the person I am today.

Our loved ones with autism are teaching the world, one person at a time, to embrace each other for our differences. They are teaching the world what any of us is capable of, when given the right support.

As the Autism Society of North Carolina looks to the future, we are committed to working alongside our families throughout their lifetimes to help our loved ones with autism have their best life. To that end:

  • We’ve launched LifeLong Interventions. Think early intervention, but for all ages, because we recognize that people with autism are lifelong learners. So we plan to offer direct training to individuals of all ages, using the same or similar evidence-based practices that have been demonstrated to be so effective with children on the spectrum.
  • Dr. Aleck Myers, our Clinical Director, is leading the expansion of our licensed staff and BCBAs, positioning ASNC as a clinical leader in the field. We continue to be the best provider of services for individuals with autism.
  • We’ve expanded our direct services and increased access to those services throughout the state for more children, adolescents, and adults by recently opening a services office in Mecklenburg County.
  • We are growing our job-training initiatives and created an Employment Supports Department to help more individuals with autism gain meaningful employment.
  • We are advising decision-making entities about how best to work with and prevent crisis for individuals with autism, because crisis response is now recognized as one of the greatest needs for people with autism in North Carolina.
  • We are creating awareness about autism and fundraising for necessary support. We recognize that more is needed than ever before because of the growing number of families affected by autism.

Together, our future is bright! With our support, North Carolinians with autism are teaching people to love, understand, and include people for who they are. I know that is the world we all want to live in.

Kristy White can be reached at kwhite@autismsociety-nc.org.

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