Sign up now for our ASCV November Workshop:
A Panel Discussion with Local Law Enforcement

Join the ASCV this Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at 6:30pm at River Road United Methodist Church, as representatives from Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, Richmond and Louisa participate in a panel discussion about supporting individuals with autism in the community. This workshop will give families and members of law enforcement the opportunity to discuss how they can best support each other to promote positive interactions, relationships and outcomes in our local communities. Our goal for the evening is to be positive and solution-focused, and we hope you can join us to be part of the conversation! 

Registrants will have an opportunity to submit questions for the panel. Reserve your seat today:
Executive Director's Message
Ann Flippin
October has been a busy and fun filled month for the ASCV.  We kicked it off with our annual pumpkin patch outing and ended with an evening of indoor “Trunk or Treating,” a brand-new member event for 2019!  Many generous community partners hosted tables and offered goodies, entertainment, and fun to all!

Throughout the month of October, we had 607 total participants join us for a variety of programming, including these two exciting member events, a music group at Healing Sounds for our youngest ASCV members and a workshop on sensory foundations and integrations by Occupational Therapist Wendy Atkinson. We also introduced a new teen sibling club, and hosted a teen event at the Science Museum’s Forge, along our regular recreational, social, support groups.

I’m excited to introduce our Fall 2019 class of new ASCV Board members.  They each come with a diverse background of skills and experience, but they are all joined by a common passion for supporting individuals with autism.
Bridget Mills, a Legal Project Manager at Capital One, recently celebrated 20 years with the company.  Bridget lives in Richmond with her husband, Mark, and two sons. Her oldest son Jordyn was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3, and she’s been involved with the autism community for the last 16 years.  Through her personal experiences with autism, she was inspired to focus her attention on promoting business environments that foster diversity and inclusion. Bridget shares “I’m excited to join the ASCV family. I’m committed to doing my part to help spread autism awareness, build relationships with other families in the autism community, and create an atmosphere where everyone feels included.”

Kristopher “Kris” Newman, Director of Finance at Dominion Energy, recently celebrated 15 years with the company. Kris grew up in Virginia Beach, and relocated to the area with his wife Alicia and two daughters in 2005. Kris hopes that representing Dominion Energy on the ASCV Board will be a great way to become more engaged in this community to help bring awareness to those not familiar with caring for someone on the autism spectrum.
Don Richards retired after 45 years in local market radio and television broadcasting. Don was President, GM of WWBT NBC 12 from 1998-2010 and then served as a corporate officer for Raycom Media until 2019. Don and wife Marsha have resided in Richmond since 1988 and their two daughters and five grandchildren all reside in the area. One of the grandchildren, Case, is attending public elementary school and afternoon programs at the Faison Center. Don shares, “Case has shown us the spectrum of joy and the challenges autism brings to families. My involvement with ASCV is an opportunity to learn and serve.”
Vinnie Schoenfelder, Chief Technology Officer at CapTech Consulting, lives in Midlothian with his wife Cindy and two sons, Eric, 19, and Connor, 16.  Vinnie shares, “Connor’s struggle with autism affects every aspect of our daily life. I remember the feeling of helplessness early on when Cindy and I were looking for support and direction. We are often reminded of that feeling as Connor grows and faces new challenges. I look forward to helping an organization grow and thrive that supports the many families dealing with these same issues.”

Blair Smith, Director of Sales Operations at CarMax, recently celebrated 5 years with the company.  He shares, “I am excited to help ASCV grow its ability to support not only individuals directly affected by autism, but especially their families who are often looking for resources and advocacy.”
Please join me in welcoming our 2019 Board Class! I am inspired by their commitment and enthusiasm to join the ASCV Board.  As we continue to expand our strong volunteer leadership, we look forward to further growth opportunities for the ASCV and the impact we can make for local families and individuals with autism.

We hope everyone enjoys this last month of fall, and we hope to see you at a program soon!
ASCV October Programs Spotlight -
Pumpkin Patch & Trunk or Treat
The ASCV was excited to host two fall events for our members this October!  We hosted our annual Pumpkin Patch outing at Chesterfield Berry Farm. Over 180 members joined us for a beautiful fall day of tractor rides, pumpkin picking and mingling with friends. The month ended with our first ASCV Trunk or Treat, where over 150 members and community partners came together for a fun evening of trick or treating, games, and activities! Thanks to all who attended these fun family events and special thanks to River Road United Methodist Church for allowing us to move inside and keep the event going in the rainy weather. 
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 features the Katharos Family. Special thanks to Korinna for contributing this article to the November 2019 Newsletter.

Our lives changed over two and a half years ago when our daughter Penelope received her autism diagnosis in May 2017.  Penelope began to get early intervention speech services through our county earlier that February after struggling with peer interactions in preschool. 

Prior to her diagnosis, I felt like our lives were a dizzying cycle of doctor’s appointments for various co-morbid ailments which I now know were interrelated to her autism.  Yet every doctor was certain she wasn’t on the spectrum.  She was a girl, they said. She smiled too much, they said.  She didn’t hand flap, they said.  She didn’t toe walk, they said. She didn’t self-injure enough, they said.  But my gut told me to keep pushing for answers.
When I look back, there is a distinctive line in our life before and after her diagnosis.  Everything before is hazy.  I don’t remember much other than life seemed harder than it should have been. We were exhausted.  My beautiful girl struggled more than she should have had to, and for us the biggest reason why was I didn’t know how to best parent her.  I was trying to force her to be someone she wasn’t.  After her diagnosis, it was as though a new path opened and things got easier in many ways.  I felt like I finally understood my daughter. 
In the months after she got her diagnosis, I felt lost and overwhelmed.  I scrambled for contact with anyone who knew anyone who had a kiddo on the spectrum.  I was still new to Richmond.  Since my social group was small, it was that much harder to get advice via word of mouth.  Getting a first hand recommendation from a person is so much different than a list of doctors or therapists you find online. 

It took me four months to find the RVA Family Autism Support Group via Facebook.  When I showed up to my first get together, I was nervous.  I didn’t know anyone.  By the end of the meeting I looked around the group of six women and saw us all nodding in understanding with one another.  Those sweet moms are very dear friends today.  They are my support system, and my go-to when I need advice, support or to vent.  That is where I turned when I said “what does an IEP mean, and how do I do it?”.  They gave me recommendations on activities, therapists and doctors.  They became a lifeline.  I needed them desperately and am so thankful for their friendship. 
Thankfully, my friends pointed me in the direction of the ASCV.  I was able to attend fantastic seminars via the ASCV which helped a tremendous amount.   I attended the ASCV IEP Bootcamp which left me feeling armed with information and support to ensure Penelope had what she needed from the school system.  My only wish is I had found them far sooner. 
We’ve also been able to participate in Sensory Friendly family days at the Science Museum and the Sensory Friendly Santa, which are fabulous events. This May we participated in the Annual ASCV 5k for the first time.  Our family bonded over the experience, and Penelope felt so proud to participate, and see some of her friends at the event.

This fall, Penelope entered Kindergarten in a gen-ed classroom with her IEP in place to support her.  Thankfully, with the assistance of amazing Speech, Occupational and ABA therapists, as well as fabulous teachers, Penelope excels in her world.  I’ve never been more proud or impressed by a person’s work ethic or achievements. 
November is National Caregivers Month
November is National Caregivers Month. This is an important time to recognize and honor the parents, grandparents, spouses, siblings, children, relatives, and neighbors who selflessly and lovingly care for their loved one(s) in need. Throughout November, we will be highlighting tips, resources, and other information that we hope will be helpful for our local caregivers. To kick off National Caregivers Month, our team would like to share the following letter to all our of our local caregivers: 

            Dear Caregivers,

We know your hearts are full. We know you are grateful. We know you wouldn't change a thing. We also know how proud you are and how excited you are to share the successes you your loved ones and family experience. 

We also know you are tired. We know you are stressed. We know you need a break, and you likely won't get one today. We know your heart hurts, your brain is tired, and your body is exhausted. And despite all of this, you keep showing up. You keep advocating. You keep pushing for what is best for your child(ren), your family, and your community.

We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all you do each and every day. We recognize the lengths you go to ensure the ones you love have what they need to feel loved, be successful, and enjoy their lives. You are deeply appreciated by our team at the ASCV and by so many others around you, especially your loved one(s) with autism.

The ASCV would not be what we are without our caregivers, and we know our local community is stronger because of each of you. We celebrate you and your  selflessness, persistence, courage, and compassion this month, and every month.

            With Gratitude,

            The ASCV Team

At the ASCV, we are dedicated to providing the support caregivers need and deserve through our programs, services, and resources. In addition to our wide range of caregiver support groups, we also offer information and referral services, childcare during our monthly workshops, programs and events in the community like Mom’s Night Out, and more. To learn more about the specific supports we offer, visit our website at and/or email us at
 Regsiter Now for the November 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 Jewish Community Center- 5403 Monument Ave, Richmond- please check in at the front desk.

WHEN: Saturday, November 16, 2019; 10am-12pm. Please RSVP by Thursday, November 14, 2019

PAYMENT: There is a non-refundable fee of $4 per session for ASCV members, and $10 per session for non-ASCV members. Register here:
Not an ASCV member yet? Click here to join before you register for Sibshops.
 ASCV November Programs Calendar
 Find our entire calendar of events here.​ 
If you have any questions about our Fall programming, please email us at 
November 2
Comedy Sportz Teen Improv Class; members received Eventbrite invitation via email

November 4
Minds of All Kinds at Science Museum of Virginia; details & registration:

November 6
ASCV Workshop: A Panel Discussion with Local Law Enforcement;
6:30-8pm; details & registration:

 November 8
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:

November 9
Support Group for Caregivers of Children with ASD Ages 0-10 at Manchester YMCA; 12:30-1:30pm; details & registration: 

ASCV 1st Annual Gala; 6-10pm; Bolling Haxall House; purchase tickets here:

November 10
ASCV Member Bowling Event at Shrader Lanes; members received Eventbrite invitation via Email 

November 12
Support Group for Caregivers of Children with ASD Ages 0-10 at Shady Grove YMCA; 10-11am; details & registration:

November 16
ASCV Sibshop; 10am-12pm; Weinstein JCC; details & registration: 

ASCV Sensory Friendly Movie at the Byrd Theatre: Dora and the Lost City of Gold;  2pm; Carytown

November 19
"Autism Goes to College" movie screening; 7pm; Byrd Theatre; details & registration:

November 23
ASCV Inclusive Lego & Game Club; 10:30-11am; details & registration: 

November 25
Adult Social Group; 7pm; River Road United Methodist Church

Caregivers of Adults with ASD Support Group; 7pm; River Road United Methodist Church
Reserve your seat today:
October 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. ​
Patrick Henry YMCA Diverseability Swim Lesson Pilot; Mon/Wed Class or Tues/Thurs Class

November 1
Special Nights at the Children's Museum- Short Pump; 5:30-7:30pm; details:

Richmond Symphony Lollipops: Wild Wild West; 11am; details & registration:

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

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

Sensory Friendly Show at VA Repertory Theatre: Tuck Everlasting; 10:30am; details & registration:

November 9
RAIN and Own Touch Soccer Trainings; 9-10am; Turf Fields U-Turn Sports Academy; details & registration:
November 12
VCU Webcast: Systems to Support Inclusion; 3:30pm; details & registration:

November 14
Sensory Friendly Story Time at Chesterfield Central Library; 10:30am; for more information:

November 16

Musical Activity Group for Children with Autism; Twin Hickory Library; Ages 3 to 5 years - 10:00 am -10:45 am; Ages 6 to 8 years - 11:45 am -12:30 pm; please email Lauren Sachs,, for more information

November 19
Launch VIP Time; 5-7pm; details here: 

November 20
Next Steps Behavioral Centers Monthly Speaker Series: Self-care for Caregivers; 6-7:30pm; email for more information

November 27
Caminos Group support group for Latino families with autism; 10am-12pm; Sacred Heart Center, 1400 Perry Street, Richmond, 23224; RSVP at 804-646-0145

November 30
Richmond Symphony Lollipops: The Snowman; 11am; details & registration:

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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