17th Annual ASCV 5K & Family Fun Day
is Less than 3 Weeks Away!
Our ASCV team invites you all to come out and join us for a morning of inspiration, resources, and fun.  The event will feature children’s entertainment, a resource fair, on-stage performances, food vendors, and more!  We hope to see you there on Saturday, May 18th!

Here's How You Can Participate:
  • Register to run or walk our certified 5K course at ascv5k.org.
  • Form a team, recruit teammates, and compete to win one of our coveted Team Awards, sponsored by Fleming's Prime Steakhouse
  • Start a fundraising page, share your story, and seek donations
  • Share this event with friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and others in your community
  • Volunteer to support this event. Visit ascv5k.org to learn about and sign up for volunteer opportunities 

As our largest fundraising and awareness event, the 5K & Family Fun Day is a wonderful opportunity to come together to celebrate and support the local autism community. Funds raised at the 5K will enable the ASCV to provide many meaningful programs and services throughout the year. All funds raised here, stay here! We hope you will register, fundraise, and celebrate with us! 

Have questions? Visit our website for FAQ pages or email development@ascv.org for additional information. 
Register Today!
"Calling All Minds:" An Evening with Dr. Temple Grandin
This past Friday night, we filled over a thousand seats of the Byrd Theatre with self-advocates, family members, professionals, and community members for an evening with Dr. Temple Grandin. She easily engaged the audience with her confidence, charm and feeling of familiarity to so many in the room. Throughout the evening, Dr. Grandin shared her experience growing up with autism and identified certain successes and challenges she has faced that helped shape who she is today. She shared her insight with honesty, sincerity, and a sense of humor. Her dialogue emphasized the importance of bringing people together and capitalizing on individual strengths, citing examples of collaborations that failed when they overlooked the importance of unique perspectives or contributions. Dr. Grandin’s presentation reiterated the importance of acceptance, inclusion, and embracing unique ways of thinking—a beautiful way to wrap up National Autism Awareness Month here in Central Virginia.

We were honored for the opportunity to host Dr. Grandin here in Richmond, and we are grateful for the welcoming, enthusiastic and supportive turnout from our community. As Dr. Grandin left the theatre, she looked up and said, “Well I hope they learned something tonight!” We assured her this was not a concern for us; we are confident her words resonated with those in the room Friday night.

What was your take away from Dr. Grandin’s presentation? What did you learn? How did her words impact you and/or someone you love? Maybe she sparked your thinking, instilled hope, gave you new perspective, provided confidence, or motivated you. Please share your thoughts with us at info@ascv.org. We would love to hear from you!

We are grateful to our event sponsors, including the Richmond Forum for bringing Dr. Grandin to Richmond as their April speaker and for supporting our event; the Byrd Theatre & Todd Schall-Vess for hosting us in their beautiful space and being such a loyal and generous community partner; and to UMFS, McKesson and Capital One for their sponsorship and commitment to our local autism community.
Executive Director's Message
Ann Flippin

It has been a very busy National Autism Awareness Month for us here at the ASCV!  We have enjoyed being part of a wide range of community events and programs, fundraisers, and advocacy initiatives. As I reflect back on the month, I am inspired by how accepting and embracing our local community is of our mission, and how eager everyone has been to support our organization and individuals with autism here in Central Virginia.


Throughout the month of April, we enjoyed participating in a variety of programs, presentations, media opportunities, and fundraisers, and I’m happy to share just a few of them. At the beginning of the month, I attended a special annual motorcycle ride hosted by the Crossbearers Motorcycle Ministry in Dinnwiddie, with over 75 motorcycles and a delicious fish fry lunch at the end. The following weekend, I was honored to be included at a private benefit reception where guests made donations to the ASCV as they enjoyed a beautiful evening with live music overlooking the James River. I, along with two ASCV volunteer leaders, had the privilege of being part of the NBC12 Digital Dialogues series to spread autism awareness and share local resources.


I attended a fair in Louisa County, where their local first responders proudly demonstrated their commitment our autism community with their new “Project First Responder” program. Last Friday, I was invited to my alma mater, St. Catherine’s School, for a special Autism 101 presentation with their Lower School. This past weekend took me to Colonial Heights to Cuddle Up for a Cause, a large annual vendor fair fundraiser & awareness event for the ASCV. We wrapped up Autism Awareness Month by hosting our largest-ever program last Friday, an Evening with Temple Grandin at the Byrd Theater, with over 1,000 in attendance!

Each of April’s events and initiatives were unique, empowering and inspiring, bringing together our diverse Central Virginia community to honor and support those impacted by autism. We’re very grateful for the community’s support, and we hope these encouraging and motivating themes of awareness and acceptance will continue to be reflected year-round.

Thank you for your support!

 -Ann Flippin
Executive Director
As we close out National Autism Awareness Month, we want to thank you for your passion, your commitment and your collaboration. You have showed up and showed up big. You have shared your voices and your stories. You have educated others about autism and what autism means to you. You have extended your hands and your hearts to support each other and the local community. You have given back to others through volunteering, advocating. We feel proud to be part of this community, and we look forward to continuing the important work of increasing awareness, acceptance, and inclusion here in Central Virginia for the remainder of the year! To learn more about opportunities for participation and how to get involved, please visit our website at www.ascv.org. #NAAM2019
April's Featured ASCV Program - Teen Groups

"Autism is Great. Don’t Judge. Peace”:

Teens with High-Functioning Autism Share What They Want You to Know about Autism

Last month I had to privilege to listen to teens talk in groups about their honest thoughts on National Autism Awareness Month during the Autism Society Central Virginia (ASCV) teen social groups. The energy in the room that night was electric. I was prepared with prompts, activities, a monologue—because getting any middle or high schooler to engage can be a challenge at times. Yet all they needed was just the simple question: “what do you want people to know about autism?” Ending the groups that night was hard because they all had something to share. The teens discussed the hurt they experience from society, their optimism for their futures, self-acceptance, and the desire to just be accepted for who they are by others. 

They didn’t all agree on everything, but that was a beautiful example of how they are just like anyone else. The teens wrestled with the use of the terms like “autistic” or “person with autism”.  Some of the teens questioned the purpose of the labels. Other teens like the use of “autism” or “autistic” because it helps define their uniqueness, but more importantly, helps them break the mold and show the world how great someone who is “autistic” can be.

“I kind of like the label of being ‘autistic’ because I can prove to the world that I can do things just like any ‘normal’ person—and I think that might help break down the stereotype.”

There was a lot of discussion from both groups about the use of “autistic” as an insult, much like the R-word is used. The teens expressed deep pain and hurt at how people use their diagnosis as a way to call other people stupid or useless. Most teens nodded in support when someone stated that “autistic has become an insult—it would be fine otherwise.”

Yet despite the negativity, many teens expressed self-acceptance. A group member passionately made a comment that resonated around the group: “I’m not weird, I’m different. I know I’m not normal, I’m autistic and I’m okay with that!” Another teen explained that “being autistic can be hard, yes, but I’ve got better at it over time.” For them, autism is not an excuse for bad behavior or special privileges; in fact, they want to be treated like anyone else.

“My parents never bailed me out for having autism and that has helped me grow in a big way.”

Several of the teens discussed how they need to trust someone before sharing that they have autism. Otherwise, they fear that the person will develop a perception of them based on the diagnosis rather than who they really are.  “[I want people to] build an opinion, know me for who I am before [I] allow them to put the label [of autism] on me”. The group grew silent when this statement was made, with quite affirmative whispers of “wow… that was good.”  These teens have big aspirations for their futures and want to make a difference in the world. They want to do great things and not be held back because of other people’s beliefs about autism.

Finally, the teens described what they want people, especially their peers and teachers, to know about autism. When it comes to insults, isolation, and bullying, one teen explained: “we’re not stupid, we know what is going on around us, we just don’t know how to respond.” Instead of shunning students with autism, the teens explained that they are happy to talk with people who show that they want to know more about their autism.  Even better, when their friends accept them for who they are, autism and all, they rejoice. Another teen wanted people to know what to do when she becomes overwhelmed and shuts down. “People don’t know how to help—one of the best things to do is not give me more to do when I’m upset. Let me calm down. Music, sand, and fidgeting help.”

As the teen group facilitator for the past year, I have heard many teens with autism share a great deal about their experiences in their schools, homes, and communities. And I struggle. Constantly. Not with them, no. They are insightful, funny (we all laugh a lot), creative, and honest people—people I would want in my own circle of friends. I struggle with their stories of rejection and of bullying. And I think about how it is my “job” to help them “fit in.” But why should they have to be someone they are not? Why not help people accept them for who they are? Now I’m not saying the teens don’t have parts of themselves to work on—we all do—and they are aware of this. One teen shared that “my personality flaws have nothing to do with autism.” We all need to grow, why not grow together?

- Lindsay Kozachuk, ASCV Teen Group Facilitator
This article first appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on April 14, 2019
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 ASCV member, Glenda McEachern and her family. Special thanks to Glenda for contributing this article to the May 2019 Newsletter.

On the beaches of Honolulu, Hawaii, my desire was to take one more stroll before we set on an airplane destined for Richmond, Virginia. As I slowly walked upon the warm sandy beach and feeling the trade winds of the ocean breeze, I felt my baby boy moving about as to tell me, “hey mommy, it’s getting very uncomfortable inside.” This was an evening that we as a family would never forget—my water burst while resting in our hotel.

Our beautiful baby boy was born 3lbs by Cesarean section (C-Section) and barely the length between my wrist and elbow. He lived his first two months in an incubator. There was a tiny oxygen tube in his nose and the only human touch from us was by placing our hands reaching inside the incubator to give him gentle strokes on his body. Our oldest son would read books to his baby brother—he was so elated to have a brother. The nurses were basically taking care of him as I could not be with him all day and night due to visiting times, and the constant monitoring required by the pediatric doctors and nurses. We recall nurse Linda, she was so loving and spoke kind words to us. At times we felt insecure as this strange nurse knew more about our baby than we did. It also took a while to give him a name because his sudden birth was so unexpected. I named him D’Mareo which means “brilliant” in Italian. We hyphenated his middle name between both grandfathers’ first names. Despite how happy we were to have our miracle baby, we received so many negative comments that he would be delayed, have developmental issues, so forth and so on. I prayed that he would be strong, healthy and thrive in society.

Upon our arrival to Central VA, the pediatric nurse gave him a green light. It appeared all was well. I was a stay-at-home mom for one year. We would laugh and smile at each other. He started gaining weight and maintaining normalcy each time we went to the pediatric nurse for appointments. We took him to get his monthly shots—as we did with our oldest when he was a baby. We didn’t think anything would go wrong. Yes, we had a happy, smiling baby boy who played with toys and walked at age 13 months.

I went back to work but left our baby boy in the care of a Family Child Care provider on Fort Lee where we also resided. She was very loving and was the first person to see him walk—she had this method of teaching pre-toddlers how to walk. One day I stopped by unexpectedly and saw that our pre-tod was laying down with a bottle. He was clean but we all know that children should not lay down with any form of liquid as this will begin the “ear infection” event. Be as it may it absolutely did. We were able to nail down a slot at the daycare where we both worked. What a great plan—so we thought. One of the pre-tod teachers noticed that our baby boy was not participating in “normal” activities. He would bang his head on the floor and his speech was delayed. We encountered our loving baby boy stopped saying words and went back to wearing pullups. Yes, he was speaking and potty-trained before two years of age. As we were in denial, we took her recommendation to see a team of specialists for an evaluation. We had a speech therapist, physical therapist, and social worker who would all come to the daycare and at home to conduct their observations. Then it was recommended that we see a developmental pediatrician as our baby boy showed “other” signs associated with his delay. Our son would open kitchen cabinet doors and close them, open them and close them. He would run up and down the hallway screaming and hollering. He could not explain what was going on or if he was hurt. Again, note that we had an older son who did not have these same attributes. What was going on?

At the Fort Lee Army Community Service building they would have their annual “visit” Santa Claus event. I saw a little boy at the event opening and closing and opening and closing cabinets. His mom went over to him to asked him to please stop. That was my sedge way to engage in a discussion. I said, my son does the same thing. What makes our boys do this? She said has your son been diagnosed with Autism? I said, Autism, what in the world is that? From that day forward, I was able to connect the dots as to our son’s differences. Sure enough the developmental pediatrician confirmed a diagnosis of high functioning Autism at the age of 7.

It has been a journey—speech in school, speech out of school, suspensions, yes public school will suspend your special needs child. Training public school personnel is key to success. We read a plethora of books from the library and Barnes and Noble to dig deeper into the world of Autism Spectrum Disorder. My first emotional feeling was daily tears—my husband would have blank stares. Our thoughts were, “why us?” Then we thought why not us. God granted us favor to be able to finally conceive our second child and what a gift he gave us.
Now at the age of 13, our teenager (as he so reminds everyone he speaks to), takes piano lessons, swimming lessons, performs math concepts that amazes us, loves doing chores to earn money. His favorite past time is memorizing scripts, our “scripted” teenager is such a movie buff. Although he frequently speaks in echolalia and has a slight twist to his mouth, he relates very well with adults. He has a tough time clearly relating to his peers but in due time we know things will get better. He has two good friend who are also on the Autism Spectrum. He recently had a speaking, dancing and singing role in the school play.

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, do not seek to point fingers or separate yourselves from the Autism world, but engage with understanding and develop PATIENCE! This is a tough enough world that we all have to live through—remember this quote:
COMING together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success,” Henry Ford -American Captain of Industry.
Click Here to Volunteer
Have a big group? Contact Development@ascv.org for group volunteer opportunities!
May Workshops
Developmental Disability Waivers 101
Friday, May 10, 7 PM
Medicaid waivers provide services and supports at home and in the community to children and adults with developmental disabilities who meet diagnostic, functional and financial eligibility requirements. This workshop will address: 
the 3 types of DD Waivers; services available in each of the 3 waivers;
eligibility; how to apply for the waivers; and resources available while you wait.

I Have a DD Waiver: Now What?
Friday, May 17, 7 PM
DD Waivers can provide supports and services to enable those receiving them to live more integrated, independent lives. This workshop will address:
roles and responsibilities of case managers and service facilitators; developing the plan of care; descriptions of services available, including consumer directed services; and important steps to keep your waiver in place.

Both workshops will be presented by Bradford Hulcher, Medicaid Waiver Mentor & ASCV Information & Referral Specialist. For details and registration, visit https://ascvworkshopsmay19.eventbrite.com
Next ASCV Sibshop is May 11th
The ASCV's next Sibshop is scheduled for Saturday, May 11, 2019, 10am to 12pm at the ASCV's downtown office.  During our two-hour Sibshop program, siblings of individuals with special needs (ages 7-13) participate in interactive games, discussions, and activities, allowing them to share their experiences. Activities range from high energy relay races to reflective artwork, creating a space for siblings to grow and learn from each other.

Older siblings are invited to come out and volunteer! Check out the details and registration here: https://ascvsibshopmay2019.eventbrite.com
 ASCV May Programs Calendar
Find our entire calendar of events here.​

May 5 
Bowling outing for children/youth/adults with autism; free for ASCV members; check your email for Eventbrite invitation

May 9
RCG Autism Provider Networking Night benefiting the ASCV; Champion Brewing Co., 6-9pm; see flier below

May 10
ASCV May Workshop "Developmental Disability Waivers 101" presented by Bradford Hulcher; 7pm; details and registration: 

ASCV Teen Groups; free for ASCV members; check your email for Eventbrite invitation

May 11
ASCV Sibling Squad; 10am-12pm; details & registration: 

Support Group for Parents of Children with ASD Ages 0-8; 12:30-1:30pm;

May 17
ASCV May Workshop "I Have a DD Waiver: Now What?" presented by Bradford Hulcher; 7pm; details and registration: 
May 18
ASCV 5K & Family Fun Day; 8am, Stony Point Fashion Park; register here: 

ASCV Sensory Friendly Movie at the Byrd Theatre: Lego Movie 2; 2pm; Carytown

May 20
Minds of All Kinds: ASCV in partnership with the Science Museum of Virginia; 4-8pm; details & registration: https://www.smv.org/upcoming-events/minds-of-all-kinds-may-20
Upcoming ASCV Workshop
Autism: A Sibling's Perspective

Mark your calendar for the ASCV's June workshop, "Autism: A Sibling's Perspective" on Friday, June 7, 2019 at 7pm at River Road United Methodist Church, 8800 River Road in Richmond. 

Many individuals with disabilities have typically developing brothers and/or sisters. Siblings will often have the longest-lasting relationship with an individual who has a disability – one that could easily exceed 65 years. Throughout their lives, these brothers and sisters will share many – if not most – of the same concerns that parents of children with autism experience, as well as issues that are uniquely theirs.

Join us to hear from the experts themselves, a panel of local siblings, as they share their unique perspective on life growing up as a brother or sister to an individual with autism. Siblings will answer questions from the moderator and, if time allows, will take questions from the audience. This presentation is appropriate for parents and providers, as well as siblings in grades 3 through adulthood. Be on the lookout for more information coming soon!
Save the Date!
The ASCV's Annual Richmond Flying Squirrels Member Event is coming up on Saturday, June 15, 2019. Be on the lookout for your Eventbrite invitation in the coming weeks! Not a member, but want to join the ASCV? Click here for more info on how to join now.
The ASCV is proud to be an official partner of the Science Museum of Virginia's Minds of All Kinds events. Join us on Monday, May 20, 2019 for a sensory friendly evening of inclusion and science!
Click here to register now.
May 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. ​

PEATC 2019 Transition University Virtual Training; June 23-July 28; details & registration here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/junejuly-2019-transition-university-virtual-training-registration-60195585617

Miracles in Motion Summer Camps registration now open; details here: miraclesinmotionva.org

Family Insight Summer Enrichment Program registration now open; call 804-658-4509

Chesterfield County Parks & Recreation summer registration open; details & registration here: https://apm.activecommunities.com/chesterfieldparksrec/

May 1
Chesterfield SEAC Meeting at 5pm; CTC@Hull, 13900 Hull Street Road,
Midlothian, Room A256 ; for more information: https://tinyurl.com/y7mb4l8z

May 3
Special Nights at the Children's Museum- Downtown; 5:30-7:30pm; details: https://www.childrensmuseumofrichmond.org/full-menu/calendar/​​​​​​​

May 6                 
Sensory Story Time at Glen Allen Library; for more information visit:

Hanover SEAC Meeting at 7pm; Hanover School Board Office,
200 Berkley St.; for more nformation, call 804-365-4596

Sky Zone Special Needs Sensory Friendly Night, 5pm-6pm; for more information call 804-379-2500 or visit http://www.skyzone.com/richmond

May 7
Jumpology Special Needs Night, 5pm-7pm; http://www.jumpology.us/Pricing-Hours for more information

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

May 8
Richmond SEAC Meeting; visit https://www.rvaschools.net/Page/1277 for more information

May 9
PEATC 3 Part Webinar Series: Part One- Defining your Community of Support; 12pm; details & registration: 

May 11
Autism Speaks Town Hall: Adult Services; 8:30am-12:30pm; Faison Center; details here: https://allevents.in/virginia/adult-services-town-hall/200016899776550 

Au-Some Movie at Ashland Theatre: Shazam; 10am; for tickets, call 

May 17
Autism Competency Training; 9am-3pm; 
Disability Resource Center,
409 Progress St., Fredericksburg; details & registration: 

May 21
VCU-RRTC Webinar: Tips for Employers: Working with Employees with ASD Part 1; 2pm; details & registration: 

May 23
PEATC Webinar Series: Part 2- Getting Started: Creating and Launching Your Community of Support; 12pm; details & registration: 

May 26
AmFamFit Chester Sensory Friendly Yoga & Glow Dance Party;
12:30-2pm; details & registration: 


May 28
Longwood Autism Institute Presents Advancements in Autism Spectrum Disorder; for registration, please contact Becky Davis, 434-395-2324 or davisrl@longwood.edu

Henrico SEAC Meeting at 6:30pm; Brookland Middle School, 9200 Lydell Dr, Richmond; for more information: https://tinyurl.com/y8gsofw6

May 29
Caminos Group support group for Latino families with autism; meets at the Sacred Heart Center, 1400 Perry Street, Richmond, 23224 from 10am-12pm; RSVP at 804-646-0145

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.
Check Out the ASCV on Social Media