Registration is Now Open for ASCV Conference 
We are excited to open registration for our upcoming conference, Building a Spectrum of Opportunity! The conference will be held on Saturday, April 18th and will be an invaluable resource for caregivers, self-advocates, and professionals. This one-day event will feature tailored content tracks with high-quality, comprehensive educational opportunities on critical autism-related topics, including

Caregiver Track: 
  • Sensory foundations and implications for behavior
  • Behavior support basics
  • Co-occurring mental health conditions
  • Utilizing DD waiver services
  • Turning 18 in Virginia

Self-Advocate Track:  
  • Identifying interests and finding others who have similar interests
  • Healthy relationships, dating and sexuality
  • Taking care of your mental health

Professional Track: 
  • Strategies for supporting people with autism and building “Autism Friendly Communities"
  • Gender differences and real-life implications
  • Sensory foundations and implications on behavior
  • Behavior support basics
  • Communicating with non-verbal individuals

Additional Details:

The Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC) will be offering a limited number of one-on-one consultations throughout the conference. If you have questions or concerns regarding your child's education and Individualized Education Plan (IEP), this is a great opportunity to get answers from PEATC experts!  If you are interested in signing up for a consultation appointment, click on the registration link included in your conference registration confirmation email.  

Please continue to visit our conference website regularly for updates and details. If you would like information on how to sponsor this event or display an exhibitor booth, please email us at For questions about accessibility or to request accommodations, please email us at

We have a limited number of full and partial scholarships available for the conference.  If you’d like to apply for a scholarship, please complete this form.

Register Here for ASCV 2020 Conference
 ASCV Conference Closing Keynote Speaker 
- Walter Suskind -

Walter Suskind is a star of the 2017 Academy Award-nominated documentary, Life, Animated, which follows his family's journey with autism. The film, based the 2014 bestselling book by his father, Pulitzer Prize-winner Ron Suskind, details how Walter and his younger brother with autism, Owen, formed an extraordinary rapport and mutual support system across two decades.

Walter will speak on Walking the Sibling Path as the brother of Owen, a 28 year old Autistic man, telling the story of lessons learned as the sibling of a person with autism. He will talk about how having a brother like Owen has shaped him into the man he is, and will provide insights into what characterizes the life of a sibling of someone with autism. These siblings, with an estimated population of more than 10 million in the U.S., are central actors in a many decade life-drama: they both shape, and are shaped by, the affected individual, as the neurotypical who lives the most similar life, in the same cultural present-tense and within the same family. No one, including the parents, often knows the person on the spectrum with the intimacy and kinship to match the sibling. With a long journey yet to go, walking by Owen’s side on the path of life, Walter will speak about his work and plans to provide support for other siblings and the power and potential that bringing siblings together holds for the entire autism community.

You don't want to miss this exciting opportunity to hear Walter's inspiring and heartfelt message about how he wouldn't be who he is today if it were not for his brother with autism. Sign up today to reserve your spot at the conference!
 Autism Advocacy Updates
On Autism Advocacy Day in January, our group of over 60 advocates visited legislators asking them to support important legislation, including adding Small Group and Individual Market Coverage to Virginia’s Autism Insurance Law, increased funding for Virginia Medicaid Waivers, and other important issues impacting local individuals with autism. This month's advocacy updates are proof that our voices are being heard by Virginia legislators and progress is being made! 

Autism Insurance Expansion Bill Headed to the Governor!

Self-advocates, caregivers, service providers, and other community members have been advocating for meaningful autism insurance coverage for over a decade, and step by step, we are making the progress necessary to best support Virginians with autism and their families. In 2011, Virginia passed the original autism mandate requiring coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism for kids ages two to six under state-regulated, large group plans. As a result of passionate and persistent advocating from the Virginia autism community, legislation was passed in 2015 that raised the age cap to ten years old, and subsequently the age cap was removed entirely last year, expanding coverage across the lifespan. However, these changes only applied to Virginia's state-regulated, large group insurance plans.

February 20th marked another important step in ensuring meaningful autism insurance coverage in Virginia. House Bill 1503 unanimously passed the Senate floor and is on its way to Governor Northam to be signed into law! This important legislation extends health insurance coverage for autism spectrum disorders to small group and individual markets, meaning even more individuals with autism will have access to insurance coverage.  

Thank you to all who have supported the continued efforts to ensure meaningful autism reform here in Virginia! We also want to thank the organizations who have led the way, including the Virginia Autism Foundation, Virginia Autism Project and Autism Speaks, for tirelessly advocating for this important legislation! 

Action Alert for Final Virginia Budget Negotiations!

Budget Conferees (Senators & Delegates charged with negotiating Virginia’s Final Budget) have been appointed! We encourage you to reach out to them TODAY & TOMORROW to ask for their support with our budget priorities related to Medicaid Waiver funding:

- Increased supported living rates
- Increased nursing rates
- Increased personal care, respite & companion care rates
- Remove the overtime restriction
- Fund Priority One!  

The Arc of Virginia has prepared a sample message for calls and emails that we encourage you to utilize. They also provide contact information for the Budget Conferees.  Thank you for reaching out to your Senators and Delegates!
Executive Director's Message -
Ann Flippin

I am excited to share updates on our programs, initiatives and upcoming events with you this month!  Our 2020 programs are off to a strong start, and I’m happy to share that during the first two months of the year, we hosted 26 social, recreational, support and educational programs, with 410 attendees.  Additionally, our community partners hosted over 300 attendees through our joint programming!
February program highlights included our annual member family pool party, graciously hosted by the JCC and their talented staff, with over 85 attendees; an informative workshop on “Autism, Puberty & Sexuality” with Dr. Staci Carr; and wonderful sensory-friendly events with our community partners at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, the Science Museum of Virginia, Laser Quest, and Dave & Busters; just to name a few!

March programs will include a workshop for caregivers of school-aged individuals by PEATC, Sibshops (a free offering to siblings ages 7-13, open to the community for youth 7-13 who have a sibling with a disability) at the JCC, our first meetup for adults with autism at Science Museum’s makerspace, “The Forge,” and more!  Be sure to follow our Program Calendar to stay up-to-date on our offerings.
We are also preparing for National Autism Awareness Month (NAAM) in April, a month focusing on awareness and acceptance for our autism community.  We have exciting plans for the month that we can’t wait to share in the weeks ahead!  In the meantime, I want to make everyone aware of a couple ways you can participate with us during NAAM:

Our School Fundraising Challenge for NAAM presents a fun, service-learning opportunity for our school-aged supporters!  Schools are invited to join our challenge and fundraise throughout April, to win exciting prizes.  We welcome all ages and organizers, including student groups, clubs & classes!

We are also recruiting local Retailers & Restaurants to join us by running special NAAM campaigns throughout the month of April in your businesses.  There are so many ways to participate, including running a “round-up” campaign at the register, donating proceeds from a special menu or merchandise item, or forming a team for our 5K event!
If you have a school or business interested in participating with us during NAAM, please email
We are especially excited to host a conference during NAAM, “Building A Spectrum of Opportunity.”  Our goal is to provide an invaluable opportunity for caregivers, self-advocates, and professionals to come together to gather resources, receive support, and network with each other.  We are looking forward to offering this unique experience to our community, and we are truly grateful to Capital One and all of our generous sponsors for making it possible!
It’s officially 5K season! I cannot believe we’re gearing up for the 18th Annual 5K event!  We are grateful to have an outstanding planning committee made up of dedicated leaders, fundraisers, parents, and professionals, who are working hard behind the scenes to plan a fun and meaningful event experience for all.  If you haven’t registered yet, be sure to sign up soon!  We hope you’ll form teams with your loved ones, friends, and colleagues; fundraise together; and join us for a fun and inspiring day on May 16th!

I hope everyone has a wonderful month ahead!  Thank you for being part of our ASCV family!

Ann Flippin
Executive Director
ASCV  2020 5K & Family Fun Day
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 by maximizing the self-sufficiency, independence, and quality of life for all living with autism.  This month’s column written by Kitty Brown, features the Brown family's journey. Special thanks to Kitty and Jameson for contributing to the ASCV's March newsletter!
I often introduce myself by simply saying “Hi, my name is Kitty and I’m a proud and dedicated Autism Mom.” And after years of acceptance, and many unexpected twist and turns, I can say I fully embrace this role in my life.

My son Jameson (now 8 years old) was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2. As an Educator and Classroom Teacher I recognized the common signs early on, but did not want to accept that this would be my son’s reality.

Immediately after receiving Jameson’s diagnosis, my husband and I immersed our time and energy into finding every resource we could to help him. We quickly began Early Intervention Services, and enrolled Jameson into a fabulous center that provided ABA therapy in and outside of our home. Shortly after receiving his diagnosis, an unexpected illness claimed the life of my dear husband. Life for Jameson and I completely changed. One can only imagine how this would affect a child on the spectrum. I now carried the role of young widowed mom with a special needs child.
As time went on, I realized Jameson communicated differently, and I wanted ways to connect with him. I take the time every day to enter into his world. I simply do this by creating fun jingles that only we know, and never diminish his frequent usage of echolalia. I take plenty pictures of activities we do together. When I find a moment of down-time (and as a stress-reliever), I scrapbook these favorite activities. This has been a great way for him to build a stronger connection to the world around him.

As an Educator, I believe it is important to never stop learning. So while Jameson is attending his weekly therapy sessions, I am right beside him, asking questions and contributing to methods and best practices. Then, I reinforce the therapy skills at home and in the community, thus providing Jameson with consistency and a better chance for success. Over time I felt this was not enough. I needed an additional outlet where I could receive the latest information on topics related to autism, and gain access to area resources.

I fortunately found the Autism Society of Central Virginia (ASCV) website. I noticed they offered activities and social events for individuals and families. We became members and immediately began taking advantage of the fun social and recreational programs offered. Some of our favorite activities are the Lego and Game Club, Flying Squirrels baseball games, Minds of All Kinds Night at the Science Museum of Virginia, and (for me) monthly Support Group meetings. We never miss the Annual Summer Celebration and the Holiday Party. I have found all these events to be great opportunities to meet and socialize with other families, but most importantly a chance for me to relax and enjoy the moment with Jameson. While attending events, if Jameson becomes over stimulated,  I do not worry about public appearance, or getting strange looks from others, because other members “get-it” - we are experiencing the same journey.
As we became more comfortable and started recognizing faces, I began looking for ways to give back to this outstanding organization. By offering the little free time I have, I have found purpose and fulfillment in volunteering.  I have assisted with Registration for the annual 5K & Family Fun Day, the Golf Tournament, and most recently the Toast to the Autism Community Gala. Being in a room filled with individuals that understand and support the fight for Autism Awareness fills my heart with so much joy.

Some days are very challenging but no matter the circumstances, I strive to lead a life of compassion and understanding. I have found that every year gets better, and with that comes more reasons to celebrate Jameson’s uniqueness.

Although we are still in the younger stages of our autism journey, I take pride in knowing I am very in-tune with my son. We have a strong connection and that’s because I take time to find outstanding resources, like ASCV, to assist me in being the best Autism Mom I can be.
ASCV February Program Spotlight 
Member Pool Party
The ASCV hosted it's annual Member Pool Party at the Weinstein Jewish Community Center on Friday, February 28th. Our members enjoyed a fun evening of swimming, slides, pool games, and hanging out together.  Thank you to the JCC, and their incredible staff and lifeguards for making it a wonderful experience for all, and to our families for a great evening!
Don't Miss the ASCV March Workshop!
How to Talk so Schools will Listen and
Listen so Schools Will Talk
Join the ASCV on Wednesday, March 4th for our monthly workshop presented by Keri Peko of PEATC at River Road United Methodist Church at 6:30pm.

Why are partnerships so difficult? What can be done to improve understanding between parents and professionals as they seek to find mutual agreement on IEPs and other issues related to education for students with disabilities? This workshop will help participants discover communication techniques, learn how to recognize and prevent barriers to communication and build agreements around difficult problems.

March Adult Social Group Meetup
Join the ASCV's Adult Social Group at The Forge, the Science Museum of Virginia's new permanent makerspace on Friday, March 13 from 6:30-8pm. The Forge harnesses the power of the maker movement, celebrates innovation and encourages guests to roll up their sleeves to create. Part showroom and part workshop, The Forge both celebrates and demonstrates the process of design and fabrication. 

Adults will have the opportunity to socialize and create a piece of art that communicates something about autism to share with visitors at the Science Museum. The completed masterpieces will be displayed in The Forge to increase autism awareness and acceptance in our local community!

Reserve your space today! Registration is required:
ASCV March Sibshop
ASCV Sibshops are a great opportunity for siblings of individuals with disabilities to obtain peer support and education in a fun, recreational environment.

WHO: Sibshops are for youth, ages 7-13, who have a sibling with special needs. Siblings 14 and up are encouraged to contact us and volunteer - we would love to have you!

WHERE: Weinstein JCC, 5403 Monument Ave., Richmond, VA 23226

WHEN: Saturday, March 14, 2020; 10am-12pm.  Please RSVP by Thursday, March 12, 2020.


Special April Workshop
The ASCV has teamed up with the Autism Success Foundation, SpectrumWise College Consulting and the Cameron K. Gallagher Mental Health Resource Center at VTCC for this special workshop geared toward identifying community resources for students with ASD who plan to transition to college.  The workshop will be held at River Road United Methodist Church on Wednesday, April 1st from 6:30-8pm.

Barbara Simeroth from SpectrumWise College Consulting and Rachel Reynolds from the Cameron K. Gallagher Mental Health Resource Center at VTCC, will each present, followed by a 30 minute panel with Q&A.

 ASCV March Programs Calendar
 Find our entire calendar of events here.​ 
If you have any questions about our Fall programming, please email us at 
March 4
ASCV Workshop in Partnership with PEATC: How to Talk so Schools will Listen and Listen so Schools Will Talk; 6:30-8pm; details & registration:

March 7
ASCV Member Event: Teen Improv Class at Comedy Sportz; members received Eventbrite invitation via Email

March 10
Support Group for Caregivers of Children with ASD Ages 0-10 at Shady Grove YMCA Sponsored by AnswersNow; 10-11am; details & registration: 

March 13
Adult Social Group at The Forge at Science Museum of VA; 5-8pm; details & registration:

ASCV Member Event: Teen Social Groups at Midlothian YMCA; members received Eventbrite invitation via email

Support Group for Caregivers of Teens with ASD; middle school parents meet 6-7pm; high school parents meet 7:30-8:30pm; Midlothian YMCA; details & registration:

March 14
ASCV Sibshop; 10am-12pm; details & registration:

Support Group for Caregivers of Children with ASD Ages 0-10 at Manchester YMCA Sponsored by AnswersNow; 12:30-1:30pm; details & registration:

March 21
ASCV Sensory Friendly Movie at the Byrd Theatre: Movie TBA; 2pm; Carytown

March 28
ASCV Inclusive Lego & Game Club; 10-11:30am; details & registration:

March 30
Adult Social Group; 7pm; River Road United Methodist Church

Caregivers of Adults with ASD Support Group; 7pm; River Road United Methodist Church

 ASCV Community Partner Events
The Innerwork Center is offering their Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course at a special rate for the ASCV community! When registering, select the "Member" option to secure the discounted rate of $330. A limited number of scholarships are available; for more information, please email
March Community Calendar
click on links in blue for additional info
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. ​

Easterseals Camp Fairlee Summer Camps; details & registration:

Virginia Board for People with Disabilities Youth Leadership Academy; July 13-16; applications due March 27, 2020; details: 

Weinstein Jewish Community Center Voices Together Summer Camp Registration opens February 3rd; for more information: Contact Melissa Bunce, Director of Inclusion and Support Services at or 545-8658, or Andrea Costanzo, Voices Together Camp Director, at

Richmond Urban Dance Special Needs Hip-Hop Free Dance Class; Mondays 5-6pm; details here:

March 3
Jumpology Special Needs Night, 5pm-7pm; for more information

Sensory Story Time at Varina Area Library; for more information: 

March 5
Recheduled! RCG Behavioral Health Network in collaboration with The Faison Center present: Teen & Young Adult Transition Forum; 5:30-8pm; details & registration:

March 6
Children's Museum Special Nights- Downtown; 5:30-7:30pm; details: 

March 7
Northstar Career Academy Prospective Student Saturday; 9am-12pm; details & registration: 

Comedy Sportz Sensory Friendly Show; 3pm; details & tickets:

March 9
VDOE Free Parent Training: Critical Decision Points for Families of Children with Disabilities; 9am-2pm; details & registration: 

March 10
March 12
Sensory Friendly Story Time at Chesterfield Central Library; 10:30am; for more information:

March 14
Richmond Symphony: Appalachian Spring; 11am; details & tickets: 

March 17
Launch VIP Time; 5-7pm; details here: 

March 18 & 19
CA Human Service's Annual Conference; details & registration:

March 20
VCU’s Transforming Accessibility Initiative Presents a free workshop: “Autism and Neurodiversity on the College Campus” Featuring Jane Thierfeld Brown, Ed.D.; 8:30am-4pm; for more information, contact  Ian Kunkes (

March 25
Caminos Group support group for Latino families with autism;
10am-12pm; Sacred Heart Center, 1400 Perry Street, Richmond, 23224; RSVP at 804-646-0145

Next Steps Behavioral Centers Monthly Speaker Series: Meet MHP- Parents Serving Parents – How MHP Can Help Your Family; 6-7:30pm; for more information contact Cindy Ackermann at
or call (804) 389-3614,

March 28
VCU School of Dentistry: Autism Smiles; for more information, contact Hannah Ehreth at

Ashland Theatre Au-some Movie; Disney's Mulan; 12pm; call
804-401-7007, ext. 210 to leave a message to reserve up to 4 free tickets for the movie; must call to reserve, seating is limited

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 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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