Thursday, December 23, 2010

Families Come First Program Provides Respite Grants for New Hampshire Families

Families Come First, a program of the New Hampshire Catholic Charities Ministry for Persons with Disabilities, provides short term respite grants of up to $250 to help New Hampshire families coping with disabilities pay the cost of camps, personal care assistance, educational services or enrichment programs.

For additional information, contact:

Families Come First
Ministry for Persons with Disabilities
C/O NH Catholic Charities
PO Box 686
215 Myrtle Street
Manchester, NH 03105
(800) 562-5249 ext. 246 or ext. 233

Friday, December 17, 2010

Help the Autism Society of Illinois While Helping Yourself to Some Awesome Gift Cards

Homeowners can help the Autism Society of Illinois raise funds while helping themselves to some awesome gift cards by signing up for the free Homeowner Advantage USA program using the link provided. Qualified homeowners agree to use a realtor affiliated with the program if they sell their homes during a specified period time. Homeowners earn gift cards whether they sell or not, and there is no obligation for them to sell. It's an easy way to help out a great organization while earning gift cards valued between $300 and $2,000. The Autism Society of Illinois provides resources, referrals, support and services to improve the lives of individuals and families in Illinois who are affected by autism spectrum disorders.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

HollyRod Foundation Helps People with Autism Get Ipads to Help them Communicate

The HollyRod Foundation is helping families of people with nonverbal and minimally verbal people with autism that meet income guidelines ($35,000 for single income families; $50,000 for two-income families) to obtain Ipads and gift cards to purchase apps to help them communicate more effectively. Unfortunately, the foundation has received far more applications for the devices than it can currently fund. Please make a donation to the HollyRod Foundation and help them give the gift of voice to a person with autism. For families who'd like to apply for a free Ipad, continue to check the foundation's Web site through December 31, 2010, as they will accept additional applications if sufficient funding comes through.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Harry Gregg Foundation Provides Grants to Assist New Hampshire Residents with Disabilities

Harry Gregg Foundation provides grants ranging from $100-$1,000 to New Hampshire residents with physical, intellectual or emotional disabilities and their families. Funds can be used to pay for non-reimbursed medical, therapy, special equipment, environmental modifications, respite services, recreational activities, vocational educational assistance or driver training.

For more information, contact:

Peg Lewis, Grant Administrator
1 Verney Drive
Greenfield, NH 03047
(603) 547-3311 ext. 401

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A.N.G.E.L. Inc. Offers Grants for Children with Autism

A.N.G.E.L. Inc. awards grants of up to $500 per year to children with autism between the ages of 2 and 18 who reside in Wisconsin. For more information, click on the link. To send a gift or make a donation to A.N.G.E.L. Inc., click here.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

EPSDT Offers a Full Range of Services for Virginia Residents with Autism

The Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) program is a comprehensive and preventive healthcare program for Virginia residents under the age of 21 who receive Medicaid. In addition to routine health screenings, the program provides coverage for ABA therapy, assistive technology, therapies (including speech, occupational, behavioral and physical), personal care, private duty nursing, hearing aids, medical formula and medical nutritional supplements, and one-to-one aides.

For more information, visit the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) or call (804) 786-6134. Click on the link to view the EPSDT Fact Sheet.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Autism Grant Provides Scholarships to Dominion School for Autism

The Autism Grant provides tuition grants for financially disadvantaged students to attend the Dominion School for Autism in Richmond, Virginia. Children benefiting from the grant must be 5 years old or younger as of the date of the application.

The mission of the Dominion School for Autism is to provide children with autism an individualized, ABA-based educational program in a loving and supportive atmosphere.

Click on the link to make a donation to The Autism Grant.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Autism Relief Foundation Offers Autism Therapy Grants

The Autism Relief Foundation provides autism therapy grants ranging from $300-$1,800 to children and adults who have autism. The grants can be used to pay for medical treatment by a physician or naturopath; therapies—including speech therapy, occupational therapy, art therapy, music therapy and hyperbaric therapy; summer camp or social skills groups; and respite care services.

You can make a donation to the Autism Relief Foundation via their Web site or by sending a check or money order to:

Autism Relief Foundation
1300 Ritchie Hwy
Suite B
Arnold, MD 21012

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sensory Friendly Films for People with Autism and Other Disabilities

AMC Entertainment and the Autism Society have teamed up to offer Sensory Friendly Films for individuals and families affected by autism and other disabilities.

Selected AMC theaters will offer special screenings on a monthly basis in an environment that is friendly, welcoming and inclusive for individuals with special sensory concerns. Lights will be turned up and the sound will be turned down during sensory friendly film screenings in order to create a safe and comfortable viewing experience for the special audience. No previews or advertisements will be shown prior to the movies. Participants will be allowed to bring in their own gluten-free, casein-free snacks. In addition, audience members will be free to get up, move around, dance, sing or shout during the movie!

Tickets are $4-$6, depending on location. Upcoming sensory friendly films screens include:

December 11-The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
January 8-Gulliver’s Travels
February 12-Gnomeo and Juliette

Click on the link for a list of participating AMC theaters. To request that sensory friendly films be shown in your local AMC theater, send an email to

AMC Entertainment’s Sensory Friendly Films initiative is a perfect example of a company engaging in smart business practices while simultaneously demonstrating its commitment to socially responsibility by creating a welcoming, inclusive environment for customers with autism and other special needs. Please contact AMC Entertainment to express your support for this program:

AMC Entertainment Inc.

P.O. Box 725489

Atlanta, GA 31139-9923

I am hopeful that the success of this program will lead to its expansion into all AMC theaters, and that other companies, organizations and institutions will follow suit by offering products, services and facilities that are responsive to the needs of individuals affected by autism and other disabilities.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chicago Children’s Theatre Play Created for Children with Autism

The Chicago Children’s Theatre will present “Red Kite Round Up,” from February 1-20, 2011, in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion Choral Rehearsal Room at Millennium Park. “Red Kite Round Up” is a 40 minute multi-sensory adventure developed especially for children and early teens on the autism spectrum. As part of the immersive theatre experience, guides will take 10 children with Autism Spectrum Disorders on a digitally simulated outdoor trip where they can chase butterflies, hike trails, star gaze and more. The kids are actually encouraged to move, laugh, talk, sing and interact with specially trained teaching artists.

The space at Red Kite is designed to be friendly to children on the autism spectrum, with plenty to touch, see and hear. For example, participants can experience the sound and wind of the forest, feel the gentle spray of a river, pet fuzzy newborn chicks, and sing songs around a camp fire, among other things.

Social Stories are provided in advance in one of four formats, so participating children will know exactly what to expect. Once they arrive for the show, they will work with guides that are specifically trained to be responsive to each child who will work to accommodate the sensitivities of the child they are working with. Each child will interact with guides on their own terms, and any choice made by a child at “Red Kite Round Up” is celebrated and accepted. How cool is that!

“Red Kite Round Up” is the brainchild of Jacqueline Russell, founder and artistic director of the Chicago Children’s Theatre. She developed the project after over 1o years of working with children with autism as a teaching artist. Russell continues to work in classrooms with students with ASD, in addition to leading professional development workshops for educators and artists, and giving lectures and demonstrations for medical specialists, parents and educators.

“Read Kite Round Up” provides a wonderful opportunity to share a theatrical experience with a child on the autism spectrum where s/he can enjoy being a kid.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit, send an email message to or call Julia Beck at (773) 227-0180 ext. 15.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Children’s Charity Fund Provides Grants for Handicapped and Disabled Children

The Children’s Charity Fund, Inc. provides grants to assist handicapped and disabled children with medical equipment and educational expenses. To apply for a grant, families of children with autism and other disabilities should complete an application, submit the requisite supporting documentation and return the completed, notarized application to the Children’s Charity Fund.

If you would like to support the work of the Children’s Charity Fund, you may send them a donation.

Contact information for the Children’s Charity Fund is:

Children’s Charity Fund, Inc.
6623 Superior Ave.
Sarasota, FL 34231
(800) 643-5787
(941) 925-9689
(941) 923-5947 fax

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Whole Foods Market Store Implements Hands-On Shopping Program for People with Autism

The Whole Foods Market Store in Naperville, Illinois, located at 2607 W. 75th Street, Naperville, IL 60540, has implemented a helpful program called Hands-On Shopping for people with autism and other newly forming and special abilities.

The complimentary program provides a visual tactile tool for shopping and learning that is available to individuals with autism as well as anyone else who would like to utilize it. Resources available through the program include large, colorful laminated lists and attachable prompts that help individuals with special needs navigate their way through the store facility and organize their shopping.

Shoppers who use the Hands-On Shopping program can sign out one of three systems—miniature products, picture and word cards or word cards—from the store’s customer service desk. Once the item is located in the store, it is placed into a “shopping cart.”
The program was developed as a result of the advocacy of a store employee named Tarryl who is the mom of two children who have autism.

You can call (630) 579-7700 or send an email to to reserve materials for your shopping trip in advance.

Currently, the program is only available at the Naperville store, but I am hopeful that the program will be wildly popular and successful and will soon be implemented in all of the company’s stores. I encourage you to contact your local Whole Foods store and ask the manager to implement the program there. I also would encourage you to contact the company‘s headquarters to let them know that this is exactly the kind of socially responsible program that both promotes customer loyalty and makes community outings positive experiences for citizens of all abilities.

The contact information for Whole Foods World Headquarters is:

Whole Foods Market, Inc.
550 Bowie Street
Austin, TX 78703-4644
512-477-5566 voicemail
512-482-7000 fax

More companies, organizations and institutions need to follow in Whole Foods footsteps by finding creative ways to make their facilities more accessible and responsive to the needs of consumers with autism and other disabilities.