7/10 ASCV Family Art Event
7/13 ASCV Support Group for Parents of Children with ASD Ages 0-8

7/16 ASCV Meet Up at Dave & Buster's Sensory Friendly Tuesday
7/17 ASCV Member Event: Laser Quest
7/20 ASCV Sibshop Summer Celebration
7/20 Sensory Friendly Movie at the Byrd Theatre
7/27 ASCV Elementary Event at Sylvan Learning Center

7/29 ASCV Adults with Asperger’s/HFA Group

7/29 ASCV Parents of Adults with ASD Support Group


8/3 ASCV Member Event: Teen Improv Class at Comedy Sportz
8/5 Minds of All Kinds at The Science Museum of Virginia
8/9 Westchester Commons Summer Concert Series benefiting the ASCV
8/10 ASCV Support Group for Parents of Children with ASD Ages 0-8

8/17 Sensory Friendly Movie at the Byrd Theatre
8/18 ASCV Member Event: End of Summer Shindig

8/26 ASCV Adults with Asperger’s/HFA Group

8/26 ASCV Parents of Adults with ASD Support Group

Executive Director's Message
Ann Flippin

We have jumped into summer at the ASCV; keeping busy with programming, events, and planning for the fall! We’re excited to grow our community partnerships, giving us wonderful opportunities to offer more events, programs, and perks to our members, including our new Membership Benefits Program, launching today.

As I reflect back on the last month, there are a few events and happenings that I would like to share.

At the end of May, I attended the Next Move Program’s 2019 Capable Campaign celebration with our two ASCV nominees, Sam & Shawn, and their families.  Sam & Shawn are models in a special exhibit displayed at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture throughout this summer. If you haven't had a chance to see it, I encourage you to check it out!  We are grateful for fellow organizations like Next Move, and for this special opportunity to recognize two inspiring self-advocates in our ASCV family through their program.
We welcomed our new Operations Coordinator, Wendy Bondeson, to our ASCV team at the end of May.  Wendy will be helping with day-to-day operations, as well as managing our memberships, scholarships, and event planning and logistics.  Wendy served in a similar role at Sportable over the last four years, and we’re excited to have her share her many talents and skills with the ASCV.  Please join me in welcoming Wendy!

It was an honor to lead our sibling panel discussion in mid-June, where fellow siblings created an open, honest and dynamic dialogue sharing their experiences growing up alongside siblings with autism. It was an opportunity to reflect back on my own childhood, as we have many common experiences which make us who we are – independent, strong, compassionate, and brave!

These are just a few key moments out of many throughout the month of June!  In July, I look forward to attending our national Autism Society of America conference in Bethesda.  It’s a great opportunity to network with colleagues from around the country, learn about new programs and services, and for the annual Day on Capitol Hill to advocate for important autism-related legislation.

Please be sure to keep an eye out for invitations to our many upcoming programs and events this summer for ASCV member families.  We hope to see you there!

Ann Flippin
Executive Director
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, Lisa DeGroot and her family. Special thanks to Lisa for contributing this article to the July 2019 Newsletter.
“I’m not going to worry THIS time.”  That is what I told myself when our third child, Michael, was born.  Michael’s two older sisters crawled and walked at a later age and I worried constantly.  So when Michael did not talk as early as the girls, I scolded myself for being such a worrier.  After all, Michael’s doctor, and other parents, assured me that his two older sisters were probably talking for him.  In addition, Michael had sat up, crawled, and walked earlier than his sisters so there was no need to worry, right?

Finally, when Michael was about 2 ½, his preschool teacher and a friend suggested that Michael begin speech therapy.  This was the very beginning of OUR long journey: a ride that has had so many twists, turns, ups and downs, that it mimics one of Michael’s favorite activities: riding the rollercoaster!  Later, just before Michael turned three, he was diagnosed with PDD-NOS.  This was followed by a year of more therapy and a year-long stint in a county public school program before finally landing at the Faison School shortly before he turned four.  The first day I dropped Michael off at the Faison School, I remember very clearly feeling as if a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders because I knew he was in the right place.  Within a few months, Michaels's vocabulary had more than doubled, and he began to socialize with his first friend, James. 
At six years of age, Michael left Faison to begin kindergarten.  My husband, Peter, and I were fearful of the change, but the Faison staff said Michael was ready.  Both in and out of school, there were many challenges, but we stuck by three mantras: “Try everything at least once”, “Expect the best, but prepare for the worst”, and “Do not give up.”  Using those mantras, we did our best to push Michael to reach his full potential academically while constantly trying new activities and therapies to improve his speech and social skills.

From the age of three, we have always had birthday parties for Michael if, for no other reason, to increase his socialization with peers.  We’ve also invited peers, both neurotypical and on the spectrum, on playdates when he was young and “hang outs” when he got older.  These invitations were usually not reciprocated, and the get-togethers did not always go smoothly, but overall, the social experiences made them worthwhile.  Outside of school, our entire family has benefitted from the support of the Autism Society Central Virginia for many years and, in May, Team Michael participated in our 15th ASCV 5K Run/Walk!
By the time Michael had reached Deep Run High School, Michael was extremely motivated to be around peers, and he would not stop talking!  Like everything else, this has an upside and a downside as we continued to work on social skills and appropriate social interactions.  Because Michael was so socially motivated, he joined various clubs including his favorite, the Key Club; participated in three Deep Run Marathon Dances; and loved to cheer with his classmates at football games.  The social interaction with his peers during these activities, lunch, and class, was Michael’s favorite part of high school.  Less so, was the academic piece because keeping up with the work and passing his SOLs were a huge challenge for Michael.  However, with accommodations and lots of supports, Michael graduated from Deep Run HS on June 11, 2019 with a standard high school diploma! 

The next chapter of Michael’s life begins now.  It is scary to look ahead at the unknown, but Peter and I will do our best not to worry too much (!) with the support of Michael’s loving sisters, our extended family, and our friends in the autism community.
June's Featured ASCV Program -
Annual Evening at the Flying Squirrels
The ASCV hosted over 100 members at the Richmond Flying Squirrels game on Saturday, June 15th. Although the Squirrels lost in a close game to New Hampshire, members still enjoyed a fun evening of friendship, baseball and fireworks!

The baseball game is just one of the ASCV's free special events offered to our members and their families. The ASCV also hosts an indoor pool party in the winter, a pumpkin patch outing in the fall and next up on the special events calendar, the ASCV Member End of Summer Shindig at SCOR!  Members should mark your calendars for this fun family event on Sunday, August 18th. Be on the lookout for your Eventbrite invitation coming soon!

Not a member, but would like to join the ASCV and attend these fun family events? Click here for more information on membership: 
ASCV Apparel Available for a Limited Time- Order Now!
Order Your ASCV Apparel Here
   Advocacy Updates
As the ASCV's advocacy focus this month, we want to highlight information about the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act shared by the Autism Society of America: 

The Transformation to Competitive Employment Act was just introduced in the 116th Congress of the United States. This bill is designed to strengthen the disability employment delivery systems throughout the country.  The bill authorizes funding to states to strengthen its infrastructure to be able to provide real jobs with real wages in the community for individuals with autism, developmental and other disabilities. The grants would include funding for training and transition programs to move employees out of sheltered workshops and into community jobs with living wages.

​​​​​​​To learn more about this important legislation and to send a letter of support to your representatives, click here. 
June Workshop Recap:
"Autism: A Sibling's Perspective" 
During our June workshop, the audience was captivated by the panel of six siblings as they shared their perspectives on having a sibling with autism.  We were inspired by their honest reflections, insightful recommendations, and strong compassion for and devotion to their siblings.  Our team is grateful to the siblings who participated, as well as the other siblings in our local community who advocate for understanding, acceptance, and inclusion.

A few of our attendees shared what the sibling panel meant to them:
I learned a thing or two ... or ten ... from my kids as they spoke on the autism sibling panel hosted by the ASCV. I learned that my 11-year-old son has a lot to say and has thought carefully about things we have discussed with him and around him. I learned my 15-year-old daughter values mental health support and awareness immensely. I learned that all of these kids want to be involved in their autistic sibling's life when everyone's grown up, but no one knows what that that will look like. I learned they cry and worry about some of the same stuff that their parents do.

I learned so much from each of them. I was so proud of all of them for sharing such raw, heartfelt stories. The packed audience asked so many questions and there was such great interaction. We may have a long way to go, but, last night, it was apparent that we are on the right track.

In awe of the incredible strength and character of these young adults!

Each of them inspired me. The character exhibited by each of them, plus their sincere deep love for their sibling with autism, was AWESOME.

It was a beautiful evening that gave me hope for the future.

At the ASCV, we are dedicated to supporting and providing resources for family members as well as individuals with autism, and we have programming specifically for siblings! Every other month, we offer our Sibshops program for siblings ages 7-13. To learn more about this wonderful opportunity for kids to meet other siblings and receive peer support, visit our website or email info@ascv.org. Additionally, we will be expanding our sibling programming this Fall to include a social and support group for teens who have siblings with autism. More information to come!
 ASCV July Programs Calendar
Find our entire calendar of events here.​

July 10
ASCV Member Event: Family Art Night; members received Eventbrite invitation via email

July 13
Support Group for Parents of Children with ASD Ages 0-8; 12:30-1:30pm;

July 16
ASCV Meet Up at Dave & Buster's Sensory Friendly Tuesday; 10am-2pm;  

July 17
ASCV Member Event: Laser Quest; members received Eventbrite invitation via email

July 20
ASCV Sibshop Summer Celebration; 11am-1pm; details & registration: https://ascvsibshopjuly19.eventbrite.com

June ASCV Sensory Friendly Movie at the Byrd Theatre: The Ugly Doll Movie; 2pm; Carytown

July 27
ASCV Member Event: Robotics Workshop at Sylvan (ages 7-12); members to receive Eventbrite invitation via email

July 29
Adults with Asperger’s/HFA Group; 7pm; River Road United Methodist Church

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

ASCV Summer Meetup @ Dave & Buster's
Sensory Friendly Tuesday!

July 16 from 10am to 2pm 
Click here for details & registration: 

July 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. ​

The Arc Virginia Annual State Conference; July 29-31; details & registration: https://www.thearcofva.org/2019-state-convention

PEATC Family Engagement Summit; August 3; Longwood University; details & registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/family-engagement-summit-august-registration-60826205819

PEATC Workshop: Strengthening Trust Among Special Education Teams; August 7; Chesterfield Library; details & registration: 

July 1                
Sensory Story Time at Glen Allen Library; for more information visit:

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

July 2

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:

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

July 11
Sensory Friendly Story Time at Chesterfield Central Library; 10:30am; for more information: http://chesterfield.evanced.info/signup/Calendar

July 16
Launch VIP Time; 5-7pm; details here: 

July 24
This Ability Movie Outing in Colonial Heights; 10am; details & registration: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07egfex9lu7a07944f&oseq=&c=c7ac0540-3f94-11e9-b1b9-d4ae527b77f8&ch=c7b35840-3f94-11e9-b1b9-d4ae527b77f8

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

July 24 & 25
PEATC Workshop for Military Families: It's Time to Get Squared Away; Virginia Crossings in Glen Allen; details & registration: 

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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.

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