Simple conversation often provides our organization with valuable insight into the lives of our families, their triumphs, struggles, issues impacting their lives and helps us understand how to better serve the autism community’s needs. That’s why we took the conversation one step forward and conducted Autism Speaks’ very first online “Community Survey.” Designed as a “conversation starter,” the survey explored why their community is, or is not, a good place to live if you have autism. We asked if they were happy with the availability of services in their community, and specifically explored access to medical and clinical care including diagnosis, therapeutic services, educational services in public and private schools, inclusive or adaptive recreation and respite for families and caregivers.
We wanted to hear from all corners of the country, from people with autism, their parents, siblings, clinicians, therapists and anyone else with perspective on this issue — and the response could not have been better. Almost 1500 people engaged in the survey which was open for a three week period and more than 800 members of the autism community in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia completed the survey. Thanks to everyone’s input, we came away with a wealth of opinions, personal experiences and information that has allowed us to identify the best communities to live in if you have autism. More importantly we heard what characteristics are valued by our families that make a community livable. We encourage everyone take a look at the rankings, which were just announced today, and see if your community made the list. We also want to know your thoughts on the issues presented in the survey to keep this vital conversation moving forward and in the public spotlight. To view the results of the Autism Speaks Community Survey, please click here.
This is a response we received from a recipient of a grant from our Autism Cares program. The Autism Cares grant went to her gas bill, electric bill, and her rent. Autism Cares provides financial support to families affected by autism during natural disasters and other catastrophic life events. These grants help to cover costs associated with critical living expenses such as; housing, utilities, car repair, daycare, funeral expenses, and other essential items on a case-by-case basis.
Dear Autism Speaks,
I just got home from work and received your e-mail about our Autism Cares grant, and it’s taken me quite a while here to stop the tears! You have NO idea how grateful we all are for your help! I am just floored…thank you, thank you, thank you!
I had no idea how I was going to get through March, let alone catch up with the bills on which I was past due. Now we will be able to be “in the black” for the first time in a LONG, long while! Not to mention the fact that now I’ll have a little extra money for food that our state food benefits doesn’t cover for us. You are such a blessing to us!
How do I possibly convey my thanks? I don’t know how…I just don’t. All I know is that I will finally rest a little easier. It isn’t just “help with the bills” that you are giving my family…it is also knowing that there are those who really do CARE, and who understand the challenges of having multiple children with autism in a single-parent home. It’s never easy, I know, but I’ve often wondered “why me”? Why my family, my boys? Now I know why: these children have given ME so much strength I would’ve never had otherwise. Sometimes, however, I just don’t feel very strong.
Once again, I just am SO grateful for this help! This will pull us out of a big hole, and my boys will finally not see me weep about money concerns!
Thank you…SO MUCH…for giving me back a bit of strength….!
Many Blessings to you!
For more information about Autism Cares, visit www.autismcares.org.