June 2020 Highlights
ASCV AuSome 54-Day Challenge
ASCV Speaker Series
Executive Director's Message
ASCV Member Spotlight
ASCV Membership - Virtual Benefits
ASCV Membership Benefits Program Update
June is Pride Month
Public Policy Updates
ASCV Virtual Programs Calendar
Virtual Community Calendar
Join Us for the ASCV 54-Day Challenge
The ASCV 5K & Family Fun Day has an exciting new look this summer! Our AuSome 54-Day Challenge is an interactive virtual challenge that spreads the fun over several weeks to honor the 1 in 54 individuals diagnosed with autism.  

The Challenge will run from June 8th to July 31st, and participants can choose from the following mileage options:

5K:  Walk or run 3.1 miles to complete the ASCV 5K!

18 miles:  Celebrate our 18th year by logging 18 miles, or about a third of a mile a day

54 miles: Recognize the 1 in 54 by logging an average of a mile a day

108 miles: Support the 1 in 54 by logging an average of 2 miles a day

162 miles: Support the 1 in 54 by logging an average of 3 miles a day

Pick the “Choose Your Own Distance” for $30 to set a goal of any length and receive a t-shirt. Register for the 54, 108, or 162 mile distances for $45, and 
receive a t-shirt and commemorative
With the option to head outside or hit the treadmill to accumulate miles, the Challenge offers an escape from virtual meetings and an incentive to get exercising.

The Challenge kicks off next Monday, and participants can join from all over to run, walk, fundraise for the ASCV, and compete for prizes!  Join us by visiting www.ascv5K.org and registering today!
ASCV Speaker Series
A Message From Our Executive Director, 
Ann Flippin

Staying connected and supporting each other has never been more important, and the ASCV team is dedicated to providing as many meaningful and engaging opportunities for our community as we can. The success we have had to date with our virtual programming would not be possible without the support, participation, and encouragement of our incredible local autism community. We are especially grateful to our generous and talented community partners who have facilitated engaging and interactive virtual programs for our families – the Science Museum of Virginia, Virginia Museum of History & Culture, River City Inclusive Gymnastics, Gentle East Martial Arts, Comedy Sports, and Healing Sounds. As of today, we have supported 684 individuals since mid-March through 77 virtual programs, and we have provided 58 families with over $5,000 through our COVID-19 Relief Fund.

We remain dedicated to brainstorming ways we can best support our families during this time, and we currently anticipate continuing with a virtual format for our programming through August. We look forward to sharing details for our summer programming very soon - stay tuned for more information!

Just as COVID-19 required us to quickly adapt our programs and services to a virtual platform, we have also been forced to pivot from our traditional financial support, as many of our fundraising events and initiatives were cancelled this spring. As a result, we are having to be especially creative and innovative with our fundraising efforts during this challenging time. Our current strategy includes grant writing, corporate and individual donor outreach, revenue generating programming, growing our membership with enhanced offerings, and hosting innovative virtual fundraising initiatives such as our AuSome 54-Day Challenge. We are truly grateful to all who have provided monetary and moral support to the ASCV and our team throughout this tough time!

I want to send a heartfelt thank you to all of our dedicated annual 5K & Family Fun Day participants and supporters for your patience and encouragement as we have navigated the uncertainty and worked hard to create a fun, engaging, and safe experience for all. We are very excited about our new format, the AuSome 54-Day Challenge, and all of the interactive features it presents to our participants, including an opportunity for exercise and self-care, breaks outside and away from virtual meetings, and the chance to connect with friends and family from near and far. I challenged my friends and family to sign up, and a couple of them challenged me back to sign up for the 108-mile (2 mile-a-day average) distance! I cannot wait to start logging my miles next week! We know this is a BIG change, but we are “stepping it up” and hoping all of you will join along with us!

Thank you all for your support and participation during this time, and always. I wish you and your families a happy, healthy month ahead, and I hope to “see” you at our upcoming virtual programming!


Ann Flippin
Executive Director

Sponsorship Opportunities
ASCV Member Spotlight
The ASCV Spotlight features individuals, families, events and organizations that are supporting the Autism Society Central Virginia’s mission of improving the lives of all affected by autism.  This month’s column written by Roxana Ospina, features the Ospina family's journey. Special thanks to Roxana for contributing to the ASCV's June newsletter!
It was an appointment that changed our lives forever. As my husband, Jorge, and I sat in the car in silence, my brain was in overdrive. The results from our developmental pediatric visit at Kluge Child Development Center confirmed what we had suspected, our four-year-old son Gabriel is on the autism spectrum. On my lap was a huge stack of papers and research articles given to me by the office. What do we do? Who do we call? What does this mean? Where do we start? We felt very much alone and unsure on how to proceed. We had unknowingly already started our journey a year earlier with speech therapy due to developmental delays. So, we continued with occupational therapy and evaluations for early intervention with our elementary school. We were very lucky to have so many people available to help us navigate our way through the maze. We learned how to listen, adapt and adjust to a new way of parenting. All the ways we taught our older son, Andrew, were not applicable to Gabe. For example, potty training for Gabe required some interesting motivators. We would celebrate every positive experience by lighting a candle, singing a song and letting him blow it out. We have learned that there are many paths you can take to reach a goal.
Thankfully, early on along the way we found ASCV. The programs and services provided by ASCV have been essential for our family. IEP boot camp helped me understand the process and how to prepare for school meetings that are often extremely difficult to navigate in the early years. We have participated in the annual 5K since 2014 and established Team GO in 2015. Our older son Andrew benefited greatly from participation in Sibshops, where he was able to share his experiences and feelings about having a brother with autism in a safe zone. Now that he is 16, he volunteers with the group. We have attended countless outings: bowling, picnics, holiday parties, robotics workshops, and family events. Support groups have been so helpful and every time I attend a meeting, I leave with useful new information that I did not have before and a little less weight on my shoulders, because I know I am not alone.

Gabriel is now 11 years old and started Middle School this year. He has come such a long way and continues to grow, learn and adapt to new challenges. He started taking piano lessons in 2018 and has participated in 2 recitals. We are so proud and impressed that he can read sheet music. Gabe enjoys video games like Terraria and watching endless YouTube videos. His favorite food is pepperoni pizza. He is not very eager to socialize; he is more of an introvert. But once he gets to know you, he is very willing to talk about many things. He works best in a one on one environment. Gabe has a big heart and is VERY honest. Sometimes his honesty comes across as insulting so we continuously work with him on social skills and explain how some things may be hurtful to others.
When we first learned about the diagnosis of autism, we mourned for all the lost dreams we had for Gabe. But we had no idea what the future had in store for him. He is a fantastic kid and he has so many opportunities ahead of him. He just needs help and guidance along the way as most kids do. All these experiences have shaped us as a family, and we would not have it any other way. Our hopes for the future are with our community to learn tolerance and acceptance and most of all be kind to one another.
Virtual Benefits for ASCV Members

It is important to us that our annual ASCV membership offers benefits that are valuable and rewarding for our members, and we are working diligently to ensure this the case despite social distancing and sheltering in place. While we cannot hold our regular ASCV in-person programming at this time, we are continuing to offer a wide-range of virtual programs and opportunities for ASCV members.

In the last 10 weeks of virtual programming, we have held the following for ASCV members:

If you are already an ASCV member, thank you! We hope you and your family are participating and enjoying our virtual programming.

If you are not yet a member, and you think you and your family would enjoy programs and activities like the ones mentioned above, we would love for you to join us today. In addition to the exciting programs and events we offer, joining the ASCV provides an immediate sense of community and allows family members to connect with those on similar journeys. For more information about the year-round benefits of ASCV membership, please visit our website.

ASCV Membership Benefits Program
As a result of COVID-19, several of our ASCV Membership Benefits Program partners have had to temporarily close their doors and/or stop their services or programming. These wonderful local business and organizations are in our thoughts, and we look forward to collaborating once we can get back out into the community!

In the meantime, we want to keep you updated on which ASCV Membership Benefits Program perks are currently available to you. If you are able, we encourage you to patron these supportive local businesses and organizations during this difficult time.

Answers Now pairs parents of children on the autism spectrum with board-certified ABA therapists to offer text and video support - anywhere, anytime. ASCV members are eligible for one free month of Club+ subscription (a $76 value).

Fred Astaire Dance Studio Richmond is a premier local dance studio, offering ballroom dance lessons and classes for dancers of all ages and skill levels. They are currently offering ASCV members 2 free dance lessons.

Gentle East Martial Arts offers a wide range of martial arts classes for all ages and fitness levels. Their “Spectrum Skillz” program provides specialized skill-based training for children ages 7 and up who have unique physical, intellectual, social, and/or emotional needs. ASCV members are eligible for 4 complimentary private lessons, a 15% discount on Spectrum Skillz, and a 10% discount on other programs.

Healing Sounds, LLC is a music therapy and counseling private practice that empowers people of all ages and abilities through individual and group music therapy, counseling services, early childhood music classes, services for professionals, music lessons and a variety of virtual opportunities. They are offering ASCV members a $10 discount on a music therapy package or music therapy group registration.

Innerwork Center is a local nonprofit organization that offers a wide range of programs and events focused on Mindfulness, Creative Expression and Movement, Psychology and Consciousness, and Wisdom Traditions and Spirituality. They are currently offering a wide range of programming online, and ASCV members are eligible for their "Member" pricing on all regular programming (up to half off!).

Natalie’s Taste of Lebanon is a local restaurant known for their delicious food and their mission to share the cuisine and culture of Lebanon, while employing and advocating for those with disabilities. ASCV members can receive a free Baklava with any order.

SaladWorks has a menu filled with delicious salads, wraps, soups, sandwiches, and more! ASCV members receive a 10% discount off any purchase.

Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe has a menu packed with delicious options influenced by the bold, health-focused flavors of the Mediterranean. They offer ASCV members a 10% discount off any purchase.

ASCV Members – You should have received an email over the weekend with more details about how to redeem these membership perks. If you have questions about how to access the portal, please contact us at info@ascv.org. Not a member yet and interested in joining us? Visit our website to join today!

June is Pride Month

At the ASCV, our mission is to improve the lives of all affected by autism. We are committed to meaningful participation and self-determination in all aspects of life for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families, and this includes gender identification, sexual orientation, and interpersonal relationships.
June is designated as Pride Month to celebrate diversity through the promotion of self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. This month, we want to highlight some resources about autism and sexual orientation and gender diversity:
We also want to share some wonderful local organizations who are dedicated to creating and fostering supportive communities for LGBTQ+ youth and their families:
Public Policy Updates
Things are shifting and evolving daily, and we will do our best to continue to share relevant and up-to-date information about advocacy issues related to COVID-19. Please remember to check our COVID-19 Resource List frequently and stay on top of our Facebook page for announcements, reminders, and helpful information. We also encourage you to read The Arc of Virginia’s Q&A on Disability Services during COVID-19, including updated information on Medicaid & DD Waiver Services.
disAbility Law Center Survey

This month we want to share a way for you to take action through a public input survey from the disAbility Law Center of Virginia. If you are not familiar with this local organization, they provide information and referral, legal representation, technical assistance, short-term assistance, systemic advocacy, monitoring and training.

As they begin to plan for a new fiscal year, the diAbility Law Center is collecting information from our local community so they can better protect and advocate for the rights of people with disabilities. Your input can help to shape their goals. You can learn more and take the survey by clicking here.
An update from ASA about National Legislation surrounding COVID-19: HEROES Act

On Friday, May 18, 2020, the House of Representatives passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES Act). The Bill (HR 6800) provides additional assistance for health care, housing, education, employment, food assistance, elections, paid leave, and much more. The Autism Society of America (ASA) prepared a summary of provisions that specifically impact people with autism and other disabilities. Additionally, a one-page fact sheet and a section-by-section summary prepared by Hill staff are also available on the Appropriations Committee website. The next step is for the Senate to consider this bill or write its own. Take action now to urge Senators to consider the HEROES Act.

Additionally, Representatives from ASA are meeting regularly with congressional staff responsible for developing the fourth COVID Federal Relief Package, as part of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD).  They are providing joint recommendations, including a focus on rights, health, long term services, education, housing, employment, and technology to ensure these are recognized as priorities.  On April 24, the group submitted their recommendations for the fourth package focusing on increasing funding for programs that target people with autism and other developmental disabilities.

For additional detail around National Legislation surrounding COVID-19, resources, priorities, and how you can take action, be sure to subscribe to ASA’s Ignite Public Policy Newsletter.
  Let's Celebrate Our Local Graduates

The ASCV would like to recognize and honor all those graduating this spring - individuals on the spectrum as well as their siblings! We will feature graduates with a picture and a short blurb on our Facebook page throughout the month of June. Please send photos and information to info@ascv.org. 
 ASCV June 10th Virtual Workshop
Join the ASCV on Wednesday, June 10 at 4pm for a discussion on telehealth best practices and tips for individuals receiving telehealth services, their families and telehealth facilitators.  This virtual workshop will be presented by Amanda Wells, Director of Training and Professional Development at Recognizing Children's Gifts and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Licensed Behavior Analyst in the state of Virginia. For more information and to register, click here. We hope you will join us for this informative virtual workshop!
 ASCV Virtual Program Calendar
 If you have any questions about our virtual programming, 
please visit our Program Calendar or email us at info@ascv.org. 

June 2
ASCV Member Program - Virtual Teen Social GroupsEventbrite invitation sent to members

June 3
ASCV Member Event with Science Museum of Virginia - Sound Science Jam: 10:30-11am; Eventbrite invitation sent to members

ASCV Support Group - Caregivers of Children with ASD Ages
: 12:30-1:30pm

June 4
ASCV Member Event - Gentle Yoga for Caregivers with True North Yoga & Wellness: 7amEventbrite invitation sent to members

ASCV Member Program - "Let's Get Moving": ages 3-6 from 10:10:30am and ages 7-10 from 10:45-11:15am; Eventbrite invitation sent to members

June 5
ASCV Member Event - Zoom Workout with Gentle East Martial Arts: 10:30-11am; Eventbrite invitation sent to members

June 9
ASCV Member Program - Virtual Teen Social Groups; Eventbrite invitation sent to members

June 10
ASCV Member Event with Science Museum of Virginia - Heart Dissection: 10:30-11am; Eventbrite invitation sent to members

ASCV Support Group - Caregivers of Children with ASD Ages
; 12:30-1:30pm

June 12
ASCV Member Event - Zoom Workout with River City Gymnastics: 3:30-4pm; Eventbrite invitation sent to members

June 13
ASCV Sibshop: 10am-11:30am

June 16
ASCV Member Program - Virtual Teen Social Groups; Eventbrite invitation sent to members

June 18
ASCV Member Program - "Let's Get Moving": ages 3-6 from 10:10:30am and ages 7-10 from 10:45-11:15am; Eventbrite invitation sent to members

June 19
ASCV Member Event - Zoom Workout with Gentle East Martial Arts: 10:30-11am; Eventbrite invitation sent to members

June 23
ASCV Member Program - Virtual Teen Social Groups; Eventbrite invitation sent to members

June 24
ASCV Virtual Support Group for Caregivers of Children with ASD Ages
0-10: 12:30-1:30pm

June 26
ASCV Member Event - Zoom Workout with River City Gymnastics: 
3:30-4pm; Eventbrite invitation sent to members

June 27
ASCV Sibling Game Club: 10-11am

June 30
ASCV Member Program - Virtual Teen Social Groups; Eventbrite invitation sent to members
 Virtual Community Calendar 
The following are not sponsored by the Autism Society Central Virginia. They are provided for informational purposes and should not necessarily be considered an endorsement by the ASCV. ​


Henrico County Public Library Storytime on Facebook Live: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 10:30am & Tuesdays at 6:30pm

ComedySportz Richmond "Pay-What-You-Can Virtual Improv Shows" for the whole family: Saturday nights at 7pm

VA Repertory Theatre Bedtime Stories: updated every weekend

June 1
Shoebox Tasks - Working One on One with Your Child at Home: 3pm; 
Zoom meeting info: Meeting ID: 864 4069 6332 and password: 239775

June 4
VCU-ACE Lunch & Learn - Communication Strategies for Families: 12pm

River City Inclusive Gymnastics Zoom Workout: 12pm; Zoom meeting info: Meeting ID: 734 9962 3405 and password: RCIG

June 7
PEATC Capacity Building for IEPs for parents & educators: Training begins on June 7 and is available through June 21. 

PEATC Transition University Summer 2020: Course beings June 7 and ends July 20.

June 8

June 11
VCU-ACE Lunch & Learn - Why on earth does my child do that?: 12pm

River City Inclusive Gymnastics Zoom Workout: 12pm; details in ASCV weekly email 

River City Inclusive Gymnastics Zoom Workout: 12pm; details in ASCV weekly email 

​​​​​​​River City Inclusive Gymnastics Zoom Workout: 12pm; details in ASCV weekly email 

 Upcoming Registrations
The following announcements, events, and opportunities are not sponsored by the Autism Society Central Virginia. They are provided for informational purposes and should not necessarily be considered an endorsement by the ASCV. ​

PEERS RVA Social Skills Groups Now Online: call 804-554-6617 or email holly@peersrva.com for more information.
Advertise in the ASCV Newsletter
Our newsletter reaches over 3,000 families, professionals and educators on a monthly basis. If you would like to place an advertisement, please contact us at info@ascv.org. Ad Rates: 1/2 page ad = $75 ($68 non-profit) or Full page ad = $100 ($90 non-profit). Long term Ad discounts: Ads of 6-11 months =10% discount, Ads of 12 months or longer = 15% discount.

The Board reserves the right to refuse to place an advertisement.
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