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Autism Speaks U Spotlight: UC Berkeley Chapter President

September 26, 2011 2 comments

This guest post is by Caroline McCloskey, a sophomore at UC Berkeley. She is the president and founder of her school’s Autism Speaks U chapter and is a true ambassador for our cause! Autism Speaks U is a program designed for college students who host awareness, advocacy and fundraising events, while supporting their local autism communities.

Helping those with autism has always held a place in my heart. My older brother Joey was diagnosed with autism at a very young age, and has always been my big “little brother.” Joey has a considerably severe case of autism and is often misunderstood because he has difficulty communicating with others. He lives in the world of a six-year old and still watches Disney movies (his favorite being Peter Pan), Sesame Street and Winnie the Pooh.  One of the truly amazing things about my brother is his ability to complete a 500-piece puzzle in twenty minutes – something I would never be able to do. He will never fail to impress me with his unique gift and now that I’ve gone to college and live 6000 miles away from home, I miss him dearly.

Caroline hikes to the big Campanile to raise autism awareness.

Coming to the University of California, Berkeley was by far the best decision I have ever made. As soon as I got here I knew that I wanted to get involved on campus, so I looked into various student organizations and tried to find one that promoted autism awareness or raised money for scientific research. No such club or organization existed. I thought to myself: of all the hundreds of student organizations that Berkeley has to offer, how is it that not a single one addresses the problem of autism, something that affects 1 in 110 people?

Consequently, some friends and I took the initiative and our chapter of Autism Speaks U at Berkeley was officially founded on March 9th2011. Now we have over 30 active members and have begun to establish a firm presence on campus as of this academic year. The UC Berkeley community has been very supportive of our efforts and during Autism Awareness Month this year we held an awareness campaign and small-scale fundraiser in the Unit 2 Residence Halls. Our biggest achievement so far has been lighting up the Campanile blue on Autism Awareness Day, which we hope to do again in April 2012.

Campanile Lit Up Blue.

Right now we are in the process of planning a benefit concert to be held on November 19, of this year. We are also trying to establish a mentoring program with the Berkeley Unified School District, where members of our chapter would volunteer with children and young adults on the spectrum. Furthermore, we are in the early phases of planning a large-scale walk event on UC Berkeley’s campus, which will be held on April 72012, during Autism Awareness Month.

This year we have a very strong team of officers who are all contributing incredible amounts of time and effort to our cause. It means so much to me that my friends have been so supportive of what I am so passionate about, and I honestly appreciate their help and support more than they will ever know. I know that this year we’re going to go far and it’s all because of them: thank you, guys.

To get involved with Autism Speaks U and/or the UC Berkeley collegiate chapter, contact autismspeaksu@autismspeaks.org.  

Twizzles, death spirals, and throw triple-loops – all in the name of autism.

September 26, 2011 Leave a comment

This is a post by Suzanne Lanthier, the Executive Director of Autism Speaks Canada. 

In my role as Executive Director of Autism Speaks Canada, I get to meet a lot of inspiring people. It is the best part of the job.

From the families who walk, cycle and run with us from coast to coast in Canada to help raise funds to support our mission, to the service providers and teachers and aides and support workers who are so dedicated to what they do with our kids. From the rock-star researchers who work so hard to find the missing pieces of the puzzle to the incredible corporate partners who have stepped up big tim -  check that – HUGE TIME for the autism community here in Canada – Toys”R”Us & Babies”R”Us, KRG Children’s Charitable Foundation, Spin Master Ltd., Mega Brands, Home Restaurants, Scotiabank, Tennis Canada, Peoples and Mappins Jewellers – to name just a few.

Let me tell you about two incredible people who have been my inspiration over the past 3 weeks.

Brad May and Anabelle Langlois.

Brad (“Mayday”) May is a Stanley Cup Winning hockey player – a 19-year veteran of the NHL where he was known as an ‘enforcer’ – you know, one of the tough guys who steps in to, well, enforce. Brad was drafted by Buffalo in 1st round, went 14th overall in his draft year and played for a number of teams in the NHL including the Anaheim Ducks and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Anabelle – along with her pairs skating partner – Cody Hay, won Canadian pairs title in 2008 and placed 9th in Vancouver Olympics and over her wonderful competitive career has finished in top 10 at Worlds six times.

Anabelle is petite, tiny – you might say the complete opposite to Brad the tough guy. Well, looks are deceiving. Despite being maybe 4 foot nothing and maybe 70 pounds soaking wet (a bit of editorial license here) Anabelle is as fierce and as tough and as passionate as hulking hockey star. Truth be told, Brad is really a big teddy bear (but you didn’t hear that from me!).

In Canada, it could be said that we are a bit hockey-crazy. So, our version of the popular US-based show “Dancing with the Stars” is “Battle of the Blades,” where a hockey player is teamed with a figure skater to develop and perform routines with lifts, spins, throw and jumps and win money for their charities. (Not to diminish what Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice and Donny Osmond have accomplished on DWTS but think of their training and then picture them doing the same thing but on skates.)

Not surprisingly, “Battle” draws over 3 million viewers each week from across Canada. Brad and Anabelle have selected Autism Speaks as their charity, guaranteeing us to win at least $25,000 for just stepping on the ice.

But they are not ones to just step on the ice. They are IN IT TO WIN IT. There is a $100,000 at stake for the winning couple.

So.. let’s do the math. $25K guaranteed, $100K possible, 3 million Canadians each week seeing the blue puzzle piece and hearing the word Autism.

To get there, they are working so, so, so hard. I have been lucky enough to see them at practice a few times. Let me tell you, I’m glad it’s them out there and not me.

It is hard. There are falls, bruises, bumps, blood.

But with Brad and Anabelle, there are also lots of laughs and hugs and cheering each other on.

There is a combined twinkle in their eyes that should melt the ice they skate on, and a fierce competitive spirit that will, with the support of the autism community, put them on the winning podium on November 14.

The first skate is this Sunday, September 25 with a 7 hour voting window from 7 PM to 2 AM EST – a Toll-Free phone in vote can be cast as many times as one person can get through by calling 1-877-844-8157. Online, during the 7 hour window, you can also vote by clicking at www.cbc.ca/battle/vote.html

every 5 minutes through a special Facebook application.

Voting is restricted to Canadians by phone and on Facebook but we do know that many of our friends in the US and around the world have friends, families, contacts in Canada, so please reach out to them – ask them to vote! More information can be found at www.autismspeaks.ca

Thank You Grandparents!

September 26, 2011 Leave a comment

In recognition of National Grandparents Day, on September 11th Autism Speaks is celebrating the  grandparent connection in families affected by autism. During the month of September, we are asking grandparents to share your experiences, so that other grandparents across the country can benefit from your knowledge and the road you have traveled.

We extend a special thank you on behalf of your grandchildren and your adult children for being a part of their lives. You have and will continue to make it easier for them to do what they need to do and provide for the best future possible for their family.

Autism in the News – 09.23.11

September 23, 2011 1 comment

Startup company succeeds at hiring autistic adults (New Zealand)
The software testers at Aspiritech are a collection of characters. Katie Levin talks nonstop. Brian Tozzo hates driving. Jamie Specht is bothered by bright lights, vacuum cleaners and the feel of carpeting against her skin. Rider Hallenstein draws cartoons of himself as a DeLorean sports car. Rick Alexander finds it unnerving to sit near other people. Read more.

California leads U.S. in measles cases (Los Angeles Times)
California has outpaced every other state this year, with 28 reported cases. Most of the patients were unvaccinated or likely to lack the vaccination, health officials say. Read more.

Standoff threatens autism research funding (Washington Times)
House lawmakers Wednesday implored their Senate counterparts to break a logjam they said is endangering federal support for autism research and funding. Read more.

Doting dad plans daredevil plunge to raise autism awareness (UK)
A doting dad dad will take to the skies to raise awareness of autism after his three-year-old son made great progress coping with the condition. Read more.

Birmingham autism charity gets £500,000 lottery windfall (UK)
A Birmingham autism charity is celebrating after being handed a near-£500,000 lottery windfall. Read more.

Categories: Autism in the News Tags: ,

In Their Own Words – Hope Found in the Light

September 23, 2011 6 comments

This post is by Tara Washburn, an adult with Asperger’s Syndrome. She says, ‘I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at age 28. I have spent the last 5 years coming to understand where I am now and what was happening inside of myself when I was a moderate-low functioning child. This is Autism from my perspective – Autism from the inside out.’ Visit Tara’s Blog, ‘Hearts that Feel‘ for more.

Autistic individuals are often put into a spectrum. This spectrum is an indicator showing how well your loved ones are able to adapt in society. I also have a spectrum, but it has a different meaning.

Everyone is on my spectrum. There are many that are on the low end of your spectrum that are on the highest end of mine. There are many who are successful (according to the world) who use manipulative means to make circumstances suit them. These people are on the low end of my spectrum. My spectrum measures function in lies or truth. It measures from despotic darkness to liberating light.

I do not pretend to be, or comprehend, the light. But I’d like to share my understanding of it and how it relates to individuals that are placed on your spectrum.

The light of truth is blinding when we are not used to seeing it. For example, imagine that you are outside on a dark night and suddenly a brilliant flash of lightning streaks across the sky. Initially you flinch and are filled with both fear and wonderment. So much is determined in that flash of light. Either you cling to the fear of the lightning, so brilliant, powerful and scary, or you cling to the wonderment, so new and somehow enticing.

Likewise, in the end, we either choose the fear that leads to hatred and suffering, or we choose the courage that leads to love and healing. There is no other path, really. All choices ultimately end in either place: we cling to the darkness or we embrace the light.

There are several ways that the world can harm to your loved ones. There are selfish people who take advantage of others, evil people who molest and make afraid, misguided people who unintentionally harm, clumsy and careless people who maim by mistake. Yet, focusing on situations that bring harm, and the individuals responsible, will not bring light to those who are seeking it. It may “take down” one more institution or individual, but it will not stop the abuse, lies, greed and corruption at the heart of the matter. If you fight them using their own weapons, you lose. Period. You cannot experience a victory for light using darkness.

I have often seen homes that cling to fear – the pain and anguish never seem to vanish out of their lives. I have seen homes that embrace truth – the healing and light seem to permeate not only those who live there, but all who enter. When I enter this kind of home I leave feeling as though I am in Heaven for a moment. I have seen other children on the “spectrum” who are likewise affected.

If you truly want to help your child, forgive those whom you feel have wronged your precious one, no matter the motive and reason. Forgive, love and you will see your child light up. The next time he begins to rock and cover his ears, running from darkness, look inside, find light and show him that there is a safe space in you.

Has anyone studied how to help toilet-train children with ASD?

September 23, 2011 45 comments

This week’s answer comes from two of the clinicians who work within our Autism Treatment Network (ATN) and our Health Resources and Services Administration funded Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P). Both helped write the Autism Speaks Toileting Toolkit for parents, which will become available this fall.
Psychologist Terry Katz, PhD, of our Denver ATN Center

and

 Psychologist Amanda Santanello, PsyD, of the Kennedy Krieger Institute ATN Center in Baltimore, Maryland.

Around half of all children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) learn to use the toilet later than other children. In the Autism Speaks ATN/AIR-P Toileting Tool Kit due out this fall, we talk about why your child might have trouble and provide tips for achieving success.  Here are some important points:

Toileting Challenges with ASD:
* Physical:  Talk with your doctor about medical reasons that may make toileting more difficult for your child.  These can include constipation, and kidney, urinary tract, or bladder problems.
* Language:  Language delay can make it difficult for a child to ask to use the toilet.  Children may need other methods to communicate their needs.
* Fears:  Your child may be afraid of sitting on the toilet or hearing it flush.
* Body cues: Some children with autism have difficulty sensing the “need to go” and may not realize that their clothes are wet or soiled.
* Dressing: Can your child easily pull up and down his or her pants? This may need to be addressed.
* Need for sameness:  Your child may have developed a habitual way of toileting and, so, may resist doing so “your way.”
* Using different toilets:  Your child may have difficulty toileting in new places—such as school vs. home.

Tips for Parents:
Sit for six:  Set a goal for six toilet sits per day.  Start out slow.  First trips may only last 5 seconds.  Encourage boys to sit to urinate until they regularly have bowel movements on the toilet.
Don’t ask, tell:  Take your child to the toilet and tell them it is time to go.  Don’t wait for them to tell you that they need to go.
Stick to a schedule: Take your child to the toilet at the same times each day. Track when they urinate or have bowel movements and use those times if possible. Otherwise plan toilet trips around your usual routine. And think ahead:  Take your child to the toilet before he or she starts an activity that will be difficult to interrupt.
Communicate: Use the same simple words, signs, or pictures during each trip.  Talk with other people who work with your child.  Everyone on the team needs to use the same toileting communication plan.
Reward: Praise your child for trying. Give your child a favorite treat or reward right after going in the toilet.  Be matter-of-fact when accidents happen.
Consider comfort:  Your child needs to feel safe on the toilet, with feet supported for balance. Also address sensory difficulties your child may have with sounds, smells, lights, or textures in the bathroom.

These are just a few of the ideas we discuss in the forthcoming Autism Speaks ATN/AIR-P Toileting Toolkit.

Please remember: Toileting can be difficult for children with an ASD.  One study found that they needed a year and a half of training, on average, to stay dry during the day and more than two years to become bowel trained. So don’t become discouraged. Be consistent. Build routines. Talk with your doctor. And look for the launch of the Autism Speaks ATN/AIR-P Toileting Tool Kit. We’ll keep you posted here in the blog and on the ATN’s Tools You Can Use section of the Autism Speaks science pages.

The Autism Speaks ATN/AIR-P Toileting Tool Kit is the product of on-going activities of the Autism Treatment Network, a funded program of Autism Speaks. It is supported by cooperative agreement UA3 MC 11054 through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and Maternal and Child Health Research Program (MCHB) to the Massachusetts General Hospital. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the MCHB, HRSA, or HHS.

Autism America Radio Presented by Verengo September 24

September 22, 2011 1 comment

Autism America Radio presented by Verengo Saturday, September 24 will air at a special time 2-4 PST!

Special guests Eileen Sweeney of The Motorola Mobility Foundation and Senator Katherine Clark! Join hosts Matthew Asner and Nick Geber for two hours of talk and interviews this Saturday 2-4 PM PT on KTLK 1150 in Los Angeles.

Want to participate? Call in studio 877-520-1150! Listen online and as podcast on iTunes! You can also visit Autism America Radio Presented by Verengo Solar on Facebook!

Fourth Annual World Focus on Autism

September 22, 2011 4 comments
(Back, L to R) Mr. Hassan Ali Bin Ali – Qatar, Mrs. Emine Erdoğan – Turkey, Mme. Raymonde Goudou Coffie – Côte d’Ivoire, Mrs. Valeria Toribiong – Palau, Dr. Pentti Arajärvi – Finland, Mrs. Barbara Miklič Türk – Slovenia, Mrs. Sandra Thomas – Grenada, Dr. Liri Berisha – Albania, Mrs. Natalia Gryshchenko – Ukraine, Mrs. Eloise Gonsalves – Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Prof. Saima Wazed Hossain – Bangladesh, Dr. Cecelia McCarton – The McCarton School, Mme. Ilham Hussain – Maldives, Mrs. Elsie Christofia – Cyprus, Mrs. Rosella Nestor King – Saint Lucia, Ms. Sue Herera – CNBC (Front, L to R) Mrs. Penehuipifo Pohama – Namibia, Mrs. Sarah Wescot-Williams – Saint Martin, Mrs. Shiranthi Rajapaksa – Sri Lanka, Mrs. Ban Soo-taek – Wife of the Secretary General of the UN, Mrs. Suzanne Wright – Autism Speaks, Mrs. Lorna Golding – Jamaica, Dr. Patience Faka Jonathan – Nigeria, Mrs. Hannah Jurelang Zedkaia – Marshall Islands, Mrs. Ingrid Bouterese – Suriname

For the fourth year in a row Autism Speaks brought together first spouses and esteemed dignitaries, including ministers of health, from more than 30 countries around the globe for the Fourth Annual World Focus on Autism. The event, held on Tuesday, September 20, 2011, was part of an ongoing effort to raise global awareness and share best practices for countries, communities and families struggling with this non-discriminative disorder.

Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, wife of the U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, in her fourth year of attendance joined event hosts Suzanne and Bob Wright of Autism Speaks. Additional distinguished guests included event Co-host Dr. Cecelia McCarton, executive director and founder of The McCarton Foundation and the McCarton School, and emcee Sue Herera of CNBC’s “Power Lunch.”

Attendees convened at The McCarton School, which provides an educational program for children with autism by using an integrated one-to-one model of therapy grounded in Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) combined with speech and language therapy, motor skills training and peer interaction. “This school has given so much to our children with autism, and we wanted each of you to experience it firsthand today,” said Suzanne Wright. “It’s here under this roof that the meticulous work to connect with our children with autism takes place.”

United in a global cause, a record number of dignitaries attended, including the first spouses of Albania, the Republic of Cyprus, Finland, Grenada, Jamaica, the Republic of the Maldives, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Namibia, Nigeria, the Republic of Palau, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, and Turkey.

Guests toured the school and met with students, who made glass bead necklaces for the visiting first spouses. Later, the dignitaries assembled to learn about Autism Speaks’ global initiatives – including the annual World Autism Awareness Day celebrated on April 2 and Autism Speaks’ Light it Up Blue campaign; as well as Autism Speaks’ Global Autism Public Health (GAPH) initiative. GAPH initiatives championed by individual countries, as well as regional efforts including the South-East European Autism Network (SEAN) and the South Asian Autism Network (SAAN) were highlighted during the event.

In her opening remarks, Mrs. Ban Soon-taek welcomed the international group on behalf of her husband U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stating, “autism touches so many in the world, no matter where they live, no matter how much money they have, no matter their religion, no matter their gender. And like a pebble in a pond, the effects of autism ripple outward to parents, siblings, and caregivers. Autism is at once deeply personal and truly global.”

Speakers at the event included distinguished guests Dr. Liri Berisha, spouse of the Prime Minister of Albania; Dr. Ante Zvonimir Golem, Croatia’s State Secretary for Health and Social Welfare; Professor Saima Wazed Hossain, daughter of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh; and Professor A.F.M. Ruhal Haque, MP, F.R.C.S, Bangladesh’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare; as well as Autism Speaks Vice President of Scientific Affairs Dr. Andy Shih. Each speaker offered remarks on the significance of fostering global partnerships in combating the global public health crisis of autism.

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‘World’s First Ladies Take on Autism’ in the The Wall Street Journal.

Autism Speaks U “Back to School” LIVE Q&A Transcript

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment
On Wednesday, September 21, our Autism Speaks U team hosted a LIVE Facebook Q&A for college students across the country. We discussed topics like how/why to start a collegiate chapter, what events to host,  recruiting strategies, and how to secure event funding. If you were unable to join us last night,  please read below for the full Q&A transcript. You can also visit www.AutismSpeaks.org/U for more information.
7:56
Hello everyone, thanks for joining our LIVE Q&A tonight. We’ll be starting at 8pm EST/5pm PST.
8:01
This Q&A is intended for college students, faculty and staff. The chat is text only – you’ll interact with us via the live chat client that you are logged into right now.
8:01
Moderating this Q&A will be Sarah Caminker and Jaclyn Renner from Autism Speaks U.
8:02
Let’s do a quick roll call, so we know which schools are being represented. Enter the name of the school you attend.
8:02
Comment From Caroline (UC Berkeley)

UC Berkeley

8:02
Comment From Margo Rizzi

Boston College

8:02
Comment From Amanda

Eastern Michigan University

8:02
Comment From Kara

Ohio State University

8:02
Comment From Patty

mansfield university

8:02
Comment From James McDonald

Cisco College

8:02
Comment From Jackie Moreno

University of Southern California

8:02
Comment From Devin Fenyo

SUNY Albany

8:02
Comment From Guest

Community College Of Baltimore County Single Step Program

8:03
Comment From Hailey

Eastern Michigan University

8:03
Comment From Grace

USC

8:04
Looks like we have a great group of schools here tonight! If there are any new comers, please type in your school name.
8:04
Comment From Caroline Williams

Wright State University

8:04
What is your involvement with Autism Speaks U?
I am part of an Autism Speaks U chapter.

 ( 38% )

I have hosted an awareness and/or fundraising event for Autism Speaks U.

 ( 6% )

I have just registered on the Autism Speaks U website.

 ( 6% )

I have just attended a Walk Now for Autism Speaks.

 ( 0% )

I have not done anything yet, but would like to!

 ( 50% )
8:05
Comment From Guest

Allison Love Community College Of Baltimore County Single Step Program.

8:05
During the first part of this chat we’ll focus on 3 topics and then open it up to Q&A.
8:06
The 3 topics will be fall event ideas, event recruitment, and getting funding for events.
8:06
Before we dive into our first topic, we’d like to ask a quick question.
8:06
What is your connection to autism?
My family member has autism.

 ( 35% )

I work with or educate those with autism.

 ( 31% )

My friend’s family is touched by autism.

 ( 8% )

My child has autism.

 ( 27% )

I do not personally know anyone touched by autism.

 ( 0% )
8:07
Now on to fall event ideas!
8:08
If you’re looking to host an event this semester, we’re here to help. We encourage you to be creative, and to get started here are a 4 event ideas.
8:08
1. Dance Marathon: This is the perfect event to dance the night away and raise funds and awareness for autism. Ask your school to donate a venue and have student musicians and DJs donate their time and talent. You can sell tickets, blue glow sticks and deck the event out in blue!
8:08
2. Karaoke Night: Ask a local bar or restaurant to donate their venue. Get prizes donated from local businesses to give to those who come in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.
8:08
Download the karaoke competition event guide at:http://bit.ly/karaokenight
8:09
3. Obstacle Course Challenge: If your school has an ROTC obstacle course, see if they’ll let you use it for the day. You can set this up the same way as a walk/run, with teams, vendors and prizes!
8:09
Access our walk/run event guide at http://bit.ly/5kwalk3krun and add to it!
8:09
4. Autism Awareness Sports Game: Ask a popular sports team on campus to donate a game to Autism Speaks U. Players can wear puzzle pieces, blue uniforms, use blue sports equipment, etc. If a night game, sell blue glow sticks and noisemakers as a fun way to get donations.
8:10
See how Colgate University’s women’s hockey team donated a game to Autism Speaks U!
8:10

Expand
Players sported puzzle piece jerseys and lit up their rink blue!
8:10
What are events you are planning, or would like to host this Fall?
8:11
Comment From Caroline (UC Berkeley)

Benefit concert

8:11
Comment From James McDonald

Planning multiple Pizza Partys and Lock In’s

8:12
Comment From Kara

We’re trying to host a laser tag night as a fundraiser

8:12
Comment From Emily

Battle of the Bands event

8:12
Comment From Devin

Mechanical bull riding competition and on a smaller scale recycling drives and dine-in nights at local restaurants

8:12
Comment From Kara

Once it gets cold outside we’re going to sell hot chocolate outside our student union

8:12
Comment From Allison Love

My program might be hosting a mixer which is a dance for our program to raise awareness for Autism and all other disabilities. They told us at the end of last semester.

8:13
Comment From Caroline (UC Berkeley)

We’re also having a bake sale next week.

8:13
Comment From Michelle

A giant scavenger hunt across campus. We’re competing with another club to see who finishes the fastest.

8:13
Comment From Devin

we did a bake sale too and it was successful

8:13
Comment From James McDonald

We are also trying to have a “Auction” where we will be auctioning off faculty members to the students for 1 day. Still in beginning stages but hoping to make them wrap gifts and stuff for x-mas :)

8:14
Comment From Grace Kim

we are not sure yet but diddy riese is an option

8:14
Comment From Caroline (UC Berkeley)

I like the scavenger hunt idea

8:15
Comment From Michelle

We’re going to have Greek life and sports teams compete against each other for the scavenger hunt and finish with a relay race

8:15
Comment From Guest

St. John’s University- Staten Island Campus – Welcome!

8:15
Our next topic is on recruiting students to attend your events.
8:16
If you are part of an Autism Speaks U chapter, have or will you participate in your schools fall activities fair?
Yes

 ( 86% )

No

 ( 14% )
8:16
Activities fairs are a great way to get your name out on campus. If you were unable to attend your activities fair, then tabeling on campus to pass out flyers promoting your meetings and events is a great way to drum up membership.
8:17
Other ways to recruit students includes “dorm storming” the freshman dorms to distribute flyers advertising your event, chalking up the sidewalks and texting 10 people about your event and asking those 10 to forward the text to 10 of their friends.
8:17
You can also contact various academic departments (Psychology, Special Education, Speech & Hearing, Communication, etc.), and ask the department head to send an email out on your behalf to their listserv….this reaches so many students that might not know about your event.
8:17
Reaching out to a few professors, to if ask if you can make an announcement before class is helpful too!
8:18
Remember to create a Facebook event and invite everyone you know to attend! Have your event planning committee invite their friends to attend the event as well.
8:18
Here are a few photos of students promoting their efforts on campus.
8:18

Expand
8:18
That’s of the Autism Speaks U chapter at Ohio State University. They made Autism Speaks ping pong balls to give away at their fall activities fair!
8:19

Expand
Autism Speaks U chapter at UNC at Chapel Hill tabels on campus to raise awareness!
8:19
If you need an Autism Speaks U banner and materials to pass out (posters, handouts, quarter cards, etc.), emailautismspeaksu@autismspeaks.org.
8:19

Expand
Various Autism Speaks U materials
8:19
What are ways you recruit students to attend your meetings or events
8:20
Comment From Michelle

We flier everywhere and get the on campus television to run free ads for us!

8:20
Comment From Devin (SUNY Albany)

Tabling is a big one for us. Also, we sold those rubber bracelets on campus and they were a huge hit and got us a lot of attention. Facebook has been hugely helpful as well.

8:20
Comment From James McDonald

We just recieved aproval this morning to send a mass email to all students using our “Blackboard” system as well as posting it directly on the schools website. We will also be placing fliers in every classroom on campus

8:21
Comment From Thomas

We can set up posters around campus, right?

8:21
James, of course you can! We have posters that we can send you as well. Include tear offs on the bottom of all posters with your contact information, so students can call/email you directly.
8:22
To get Autism Speaks U posters, emailautismspeaksu@autismspeaks.org with your mailing address.
8:22
Comment From Kara

We bought ping pong balls in bulk and some blue sharpies, and drew puzzle pieces or wrote “Autism Speaks U” or “1 in 110″ on them to spread the word. We also use Facebook and flyers a lot.

8:22
Comment From Grace Kim

we are planning on having the director of campus affairs email the whole school about autism speaks u

8:22
Comment From Caroline (UC Berkeley)

Depends on your campus rules (in regards to posting fliers)

8:22
Comment From Emily

We wear our Autism Speaks U t-shirts to campus the day of our meetings and make announcements at the beginning of class.

8:23
Comment From Chris

Where can materials for tables form Autism Speaks U be requested at?

8:23
Chris, email autismspeaksu@autismspeaks.org - Include your mailing address, school and how you’d like to get involved!
8:24
Now for our last topic…. getting funding for events. And then we’ll open it up to Q&A.
8:24
Comment From Sindia

I like the ping pong ball idea!

8:24
Sindia, we do too!
8:24
Comment From Thomas Lloyd

I support Sindia’s idea.

8:24
If your school offers funding for on-campus clubs or events, contact your Student Government Association to see what paperwork needs to be filled out. Note that they generally have deadlines on when you can apply so check into this well in advance.
8:24
If your school does not offer club funding, here’s a few other options.
8:25
Contact your alumni association and send an email out to all members requesting they support your event’s efforts. Alumni love to see students from their alma mater give back!
8:25
Do you know how to contact members of your alumni association?
Yes

 ( 33% )

No

 ( 67% )
8:26
For those that answered no, visit your school’s Student Activities Office and they’ll direct you to the right person.
8:26
You can also ask local and corporate businesses to sponsor your event.
8:26
Download our event sponsorship guide athttp://bit.ly/sponsorguide. it offers a ton of tips and resources that you can send out to local businesses.
8:27
Remember to be creative with how people and businesses can partner with your events (whether the donation goes to event expenses or back to Autism Speaks).
8:27
For example, last April, a group of students received a challenge match from an alumna. He offered to donate $1,000 to Autism Speaks, if they could get 100 people to attend their event.
8:27
Other alumna offer to match donations that the event raises (i.e. event raises $2,000 and the alumna matches it with another $2,000).
8:27
Comment From Devin (SUNY Albany)

A lot of businesses are usually willing to help out with any events you may be planning. Even if they just donate gift cards or something small you can use them for raffles prizes, etc

8:28
How have you secured sponsors for your events? Or how are you planning to contact potential sponsors?
8:29
Comment From Devin (SUNY Albany)

Sponsorship packet

8:30
Comment From Thomas Lloyd

Posterboard in student lobby

8:30
Comment From Emily

We contacted a local restaurant and they offered to pay for our event t-shirts as long as we put their logo on the back of the shirt.

8:30
Comment From James McDonald

We have contacted several local businesses who have agreed to help with drinks, food for our events as well as donating raffle items. As a business owner myself it was easier to contact other business owners in my area.

8:30
Comment From Sindia

I am area that major restaurant chains are willing to do nights where they will give a certain percentage of a persons bill back to an organization or charity.

8:31
Yes, places like Pinkberry, Applebees, Qdoba, Fridays, 99 Restaurant, Chick-fil-A, Chilis are examples pf places that students have done dine-in nights in the past
8:32
A student recently did one at Starbucks too! Since Monday nights are slower, anything they raised more than average, they gave 50% back to the Autism Speaks U chapter.
8:32
Comment From Emily

Cheesecake Factory, PF Changs and Dunkin Donuts have always donated to our events also.

8:33
Comment From Hailey

I used to work in non-profit management, and we had a fundraising breakfast using the Benevon model, and we had a bunch of our members invite 10 guests to have breakfast, then there’s a speaker who talks about the cause, and then there’s an “ask” at the end. The ballroom we hosted it in donated space, and the food was extremely discounted for the cause. Do you think that’d work for a student organization as well?

8:34
Sure! Especially if you can get a speaker that students want to come out and hear. Even making it an all-you-can eat pancake breakfast or burger/fries helps appeal to college students on a budget.
8:35
Comment From Thomas Lloyd

Will any restaurant chains in Round Rock support Autism Speaks U as well?

8:36
I’m sure! Start by contacting chains and restaurants on campus or nearby and see if they’ll give a percentage back to Autism Speaks, or offer a special of the day.
8:36
Businesses want to get college students in the door, so leverage that!
8:36
Comment From James McDonald

Johny Carino’s is a statewide sponsor here in Texas for Autism Speaks. We are in the process of talking to them about Autism Speaks U as well

8:37
Comment From James McDonald

I have worked with them when we do our Walk Now for Autism Speaks in April. They are always willing to lend a helping hand when it comes to charity

8:37
In regards to funding for events, student can also participate in our “GO BLUE for Autism Speaks U” Facebook photo contest. Deck out in blue, submit a photo, and get friends and family to like the photo. Top 3 photos win marketing grants for their next Autism Speaks U event.
8:37
Get contest details at http://bit.ly/gobluedetails
8:38
See how Autism Speaks U at UC Berkeley went blue! Get creative and send us your photo!
8:38

Expand
Autism Speaks U chapter at UC Berkeley gather together to GO BLUE!
8:38
Comment From Caroline (UC Berkeley)

When you say marketing grants, what exactly do you mean? Would we have to use the money specifically for marketing?

8:38
The grants go toward event expenses for your next Autism Speaks U event.
8:39
Expenses can include marketing, logistics, supplies, etc.
8:39
Comment From Caroline (UC Berkeley)

Okay!

8:39
Will you submit a photo for our “GO BLUE” Facebook photo contest?
Yes

 ( 71% )

No

 ( 14% )

I already have

 ( 14% )
8:40
Deadline to submit photos is Friday, October 14. We encourage you to send them in as early as possible, so you can have friends and family “like” and comment on the picture(s).
8:41
Contest details at http://bit.ly/gobluedetails
8:41
Now on to Q&A… Feel free to ask questions about what we discussed or about the Autism Speaks U program in general.
8:41
Students are encouraged to answer each others questions as well!
8:41
Comment From Guest

The business I worked at last year let me do the puzzle peices for 1.00 I no longer work there. any suggestions on how to raise money for the walk in may 2012

8:43
You can still sell the puzzle pieces on campus to students and to local businesses. Other fundraising ideas include bake sales, dine-in nights, loose change campaigns.
8:43
And even asking students to contact their families and networks to donate online!
8:43
Comment From Hailey

Amanda (also in this chat) and I are thinking about starting a chapter at Eastern Michigan University. Besides filing the appropriate paperwork, what else is involved in starting a chapter?

8:44
Please review the 8 steps to creating a chapter document athttp://bit.ly/nj2yhw. This explains everything that needs to be completed on our end.
8:45
Your school might have other requirements, so contact the Student Activities Office.
8:46
Comment From James McDonald

starting a chapter is easier then renewing your drivers license!

8:46
Comment From Sindia

In response to Hailey’s question: I just started a new chapter on the staten island campus of St john’s University. Aside from the paper work needed from Autism Speaks U, you will need to get approval from your campus’ student organization

8:46
Comment From Hailey

Thank you!

8:46
Comment From Sindia

The process can take quite some time on the schools behalf.

8:46
Comment From Thomas Lloyd

Is Student Activities another name for Student Life? Because at ACC, we call it student life.

8:47
Yes at some schools!
8:47
Comment From Hailey

What is the benefit to the university to have a chapter on campus? We will be asking one of our faculty members to advise our chapter and would like to know what the university might gain from having a chapter with Autism Speaks, versus another autism organization?

8:47
Download our chapter guidebook at http://bit.ly/chapterguidebookand refer to page 6.
8:48
If you have more specific questions, send us an email atautismspeaksu@autismspeaks.org and we’ll brainstorm some ideas with you!
8:48
Comment From Amanda

How do you go about funding? Would you need a separate bank account?

8:49
Sometimes the school will ask you to create a bank account for your organization, but again, that depends on the school. There also might be a minimum amount you need to put into the account to start one (i.e. $50, $75, etc.)
8:49
Comment From Thomas Lloyd

Mr. McDonald. I am 19 years old and I have Aspergers. I’m trying to start a chapter at ACC in round rock. Can I contact you for questions. If so, how?

8:49
Comment From James McDonald

alot of schools will setup an account for your chapter with the business office. All you have to do is ask

8:50
Comment From Sindia

But once you get approval and get the ball rolling its all up to you!

8:51
Thomas, send us an email at autismspeaksu@autismspeaks.organd we’ll connect you with James at Cisco College!
8:51
Comment From Michelle

Where can we order Autism Speaks U shirts?

8:52
Students can order Autism Speaks U shirts athttp://bit.ly/asugetgear. You can also customize the front and back of them. They are really affordable ranging from $4-$10.
8:53
Comment From Michelle

To students who have started a chapter, I’m new at this, what has been your biggest challenge so far?

8:54
Comment From Devin (SUNY Albany)

for our chapter, it was just getting it off the ground in the 1st place. Our school has a lot of red tape when it comes to new clubs and promoting. We found it was best to be persistent

8:55
Comment From James McDonald

I think the biggest challenge so far for me has been “ok, What next”… Everything is a challenge for me as we are a small community college with locations 75 miles away from each other. Finding recruits, fundraising is the easy part. Getting everything organized for the first yr has been my toughest challenge because we are technically “the new group” on campus

8:55
Comment From Kara

I think our biggest challenge has been getting the word out since our chapter is fairly new too. But we’ve been attending our involvement fairs and making sure to pass out flyers and make announcements before classes

8:56
Comment From Emily

We have so many great ideas but executing them can be difficult. Which is why having a strong executive board is important, so that we can delegate responsibilities.

8:56
Comment From Patty

I want to try to start a chapter at my school. Is it hard to get people involved and join the club? I’d assume it takes a few people just to get it started..

8:58
All it takes is a few students, have them reach out to their friends and you’re off! Also, in our chapter guidebook on pages 7-8 we offer recruitment ideas. Download it athttp://bit.ly/chapterguidebook
8:58
Comment From James McDonald

Thankfully serving on the committee for West Texas Autism Speaks has helped me in tremendous ways because i am use to the funraising and sponsorship atmosphere. I’m sure it can be a little overwhelming at first but having a positive attitude and selecting a great e-board has helped so much

8:58
Comment From Molly

Patty- we are a brand new chapter, just got approval a few weeks ago. It’ll take a little work, but you’ll be surprised how many people will be interested once you get your name out there!

8:58
Comment From Devin (SUNY Albany)

It only took us a small number of people to start but once we started tabling and getting the word out a lot of students approached us.

8:58
Comment From Patty

thanks!

8:59
We would like to thank all of you for participating in our Autism Speaks U Q&A! It’s fantastic to see college students so involved in raising awareness and advocating for the autism community.
8:59
If we didn’t get to your question or you have a few more, email us at autismspeaksu@autismspeaks.org.
8:59
Please be sure to check out www.AutismSpeaks.org/U for more information!
8:59
Have a great rest of the night!
9:00
Comment From Devin (SUNY Albany)

Thanks! You too!

9:00
Comment From Kara

Thanks!

9:01
Comment From Emily

You guys are awesome! Thanks!

9:02
Comment From Patty

you too! thanks :)


Dr. Ricki Robinson to Host a Family Services Q & A

September 22, 2011 5 comments

On Monday, September  26 at 3pm EDT, Dr. Ricki Robinson, will discuss ASD and the Family on a Family Services Live Chat.

Having a child with ASD can and will have an impact on your immediate family and extended family. While it is easy to be distracted by your child’s often overwhelming needs, it is important to carve out time for your family and friends. Often they can be your best support. Additionally you may need help dealing with many concerns, including those that are emotionally charged, such as how to tell others about your child, whether to have more children, how to incorporate siblings into his program, and practical ones such as financing respite care and just organizing your life and family, as well as getting your own job at work done.

On Tuesday April 5 Dr. Ricki Robinson, author of Autism Solutions: How To Create a Healthy And Meaningful Life For Your Child, hosted a Facebook Chat. Dr. Ricki took an hour to answer questions from the community. There were 944 total participants and 345 questions!

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